2002 Folklife Festival

Aleksan Harutyunyan and Hasmik Harutyunyan A welcome antidote to the oppressive heat and humidity of Washington, D.C., Shoghaken Folk Ensemble’s energetic performances of traditional Armenian music inspired those in attendance at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival held June 26-July 7, 2002, in the Capitol Mall.

Performing twice each day, Shoghaken vocalists Hasmik Harutyunyan and Aleksan Harutyunyan sang Armenian folk and troubadour songs, and concluded each concert with Armenian folk dances from Taron (Moush and Sassoon) and Vasbouragan (Van and Shadakh). The ensemble’s musicians, led by dudukist Gevorg Dabaghyan and kanonist Karine Hovhannisyan, played an array of Armenian music, ranging from the haunting sound of the duduk to fast-paced dance melodies such as “Shalakho.” Rounding out the performances were Tigran Ambaryan (kamancha), Kamo Khachaturyan (dhol), Grigor Takushyan (dham), and Levon Tevanyan (shvi).

A presentation of Shoghaken’s new CD, Armenia Anthology, also took place during the festival. The new release, recorded in Yerevan and distributed by Harold Hagopian’s Traditional Crossroads label of New York, was a popular item for those who attended the concerts.

On June 25, a reception for the ensemble was held on Capitol Hill. Hosted by Congressman Frank Pallone and Caucus Co-chair Joe Knollenberg, the reception was attended by several prominent members of the Armenian community, as well as Armenian ambassador Arman Kirakossian, who later arranged a special reception for Shoghaken at the Armenian Embassy in Washington, D.C.

The Shoghaken Folk Ensemble appeared in a series of concerts in the United States in 2004. The concerts were arranged by Harold Hagopian of Traditional Crossroads. For more information, contact Hagopian at tradcross@aol.com.

For more information about Shoghaken and a video link to their performance at the Kennedy Center, click here.
(Video link requires high speed Internet access.)

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