YEREVAN/NEW YORK — After five years of touring throughout Europe, the Naghash Ensemble of Armenia is returning to the recording studio to finish their “Songs of Exile” trilogy, a project that has been described as “a deeply moving mix of Armenian spiritual folk and new classical music” by Germany’s most prominent classical music radio station, BR Klassik.
Based in Yerevan, the Naghash Ensemble features three female vocalists and some of Armenia’s finest instrumentalists on duduk, oud, dhol and piano, playing new music by American-Armenian composer John Hodian. The music is based on texts by the medieval Armenian mystic poet and priest, Mkrtich Naghash, and is a profound meditation on man’s relationship to God from the perspective of a monk forced to live in exile for many years.
“The concept of living in exile is something that many Armenians can relate to and through our performances, we are able to share part of Armenia’s cultural heritage with European audiences many of whom have little idea of Armenia’s history,” says Hodian.
Composer Tigran Mansurian has called them “the sound of Ancient Armenia reinvented for the 21st Century.”
Now the Naghash Ensemble has launched a fundraising campaign to complete their “Songs of Exile” trilogy. “All of our work is funded by our audience and it’s been gratifying to see people from all over the world coming together to support the new recording by donating to our Kickstarter.”
The new CD, “Lamentations & Benedictions,” will be the final volume of The Naghash Ensemble’s cycle “Songs of Exile” and features some of Mkrtich Naghash’s most haunting poems set to music with a broader emotional and musical range than ever before. The CD will be accompanied by a 65-page book in English, German, French and Armenian with extensive information on the group’s history, Naghash the poet and translations of the poems.