Sunday, June 04, 2006

Music, Music, Music and Some Monasteries








And so it intensifies.....I have had the pleasure of entertaining and being entertained. From the smoky corners of Malkhas Jazz Club where greats like Armen Hyusnuts on saxophone (see photo) and Malkhas himself (see photo) to evenings at the Avante Garde Folk Club where the Armenian Navy Band put on one of their best shows that I have ever seen, to the outside wonderful mayhem of the Cascade where I could liken the concert atmosphere to Central Park concerts in New York City. As unbearably hot June makes its way into Yerevan, so do the tourists and the buzz and night life.
I have also had the pleasure of being shown once again on a tv program and playing some of my songs and have had my first live rehearsal since I have been here. I am excited to start the recrording process tomorrow and also excited to make my first appearance on a stage in Armenia this Thursday evening as part of the "Golden Guitar Festival" which will be televised, broadcast and then also sold as a DVD. Not too bad... :) I was invited to play a concert at the Avante Garde Folk Club as well. So little time so much to do - I wish the days were longer.
As for the social scene, I have met a group of very interesting young people through my photographer/designer friend Arsineh Khachikian who has permanently moved to Armenia from the USA. There are young people here from all parts of the world trying to make a difference in Armenia or at the very least acquainting themselves to that which they have heard about for so long but never actually felt or seen. Its a great gang of people - great minds, great souls - all very interesting for a creative extrovert like myself! Its nice to connect to fellow diasporan Armenians too - after all I have more in common with them than the locals. Its familiar - a small piece of what I have always known.
This Sunday Arsineh and I hired my driver Serop to take us to a place called Pujavank. In my 2 inch sandals I tackled muddy roads, brooks and inclines under a blistering sun to get photographed for the CD. Arsineh (see photo) is a dear friend I have known since she was 12 and I am thrilled she is here at the moment. Doors seem to be opening for her left and right as she is a blossoming talent having been commissioned to take photos of people such as System of Down and the last Nune concert in Armenia. I have the fortune of her services to prepare the CD booklet. Before we tackled the road our driver decided it was undriveable. He thought it a perfect moment to give up and lay some bread in the shade and cut us hunks of cheese and sausage and drink a jar of yogurt which he managed to get on his chin and nose too. On our way up, poor Arsineh slipped in the brook, stubbed a toe and tackled the road barefoot and even managed to get a few scrapes all in the name of art.Beautiful. Us artists bleed, cry, hurt, and go hungry in the name of art. When we got to the top of a very long hike we encountered the ruins of 12th century Pujavank (see photos). There we took some great shots and headed back down and passed out in the car on the way home.
All is well here in Yerevan apart from the sweltering heat. Oh what I would do for air conditioned, tiled apartments and lazy summer days sipping Pimms or lemonade...anyway - into the hot and intense studio for me. Here we go....

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