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The Doudouk - Beyond Borders

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The Doudouk - Beyond Borders album cover
Hol Ara Yéze (Call of the Earth)
Der Vorghormia (Merciful Lord)
Yeraz (Rêverie)
Horovel (Work Song)
Lousniag Kicher (Moonlight)
Odjaroum (Come Home)
Delé Yaman (Love Song)
Im Yariss (For My Love)
Siretzi Yares Daran (They Have Taken the One I Love)
Album Information

Total Tracks: 9   Total Length: 55:33

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They Say All Music Guide

Much like that of countryman Djivan Gasparyan, Levon Minassian’s Armenian doudouk playing first gained an international ear through work with Peter Gabriel. Inspired by the collaboration in Gabriel’s tours (Minassian’s first exposure to “world music”), he moved forward with the intent of mixing musical cultures on The Doudouk/Beyond Borders. The doudouk becomes the central focus of the album, performing old songs on a variety of topics, while the recordings were then added to by a number of musicians from other cultures. The basic accompaniment is often provided by French musicians in a Western format on piano and keyboards, but there are more notable collaborations to be heard as well. On a pair of tracks, Minassian is joined by the carnatic violin of Embar S. Kannan, who does a surprisingly good job of mimicking the tonal qualities and glissando of the doudouk. Armenia’s nearby neighbor Turkey is ably represented on a number of tracks by Gilles Andrieux on the tambur, which follows the same basic course as Kannan’s violin in a bowed sound doubling the doudouk lines. Finishing the round of outsiders is Algerian Hervé Teboul on oud and ney, which respectively provide a nice plucked sound that compliments the doudouk for a nearly Turkish sound (with the oud) and doubles the doudouk lines a bit (with the ney). The collaborations all come out quite well, providing a much needed accompaniment for the otherwise mystic but somewhat lonely sound of the oboe. The only downfall that could plausibly be pointed out is the lack of collaborations between more than one outsider alongside Minassian at a time. With the effects produced by the pairing of doudouk and a single instrument as they are, one can only wonder what would have come of a collaboration between, say, doudouk, carnatic violin, and tambur. Still, for fans of the mythic sounds of Eastern Europe, any good performance on doudouk is something to prize, and this is no exception. – Adam Greenberg

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