Armenian Songs for Children / Bayrakdarian
Lebanese-born, Canadian-Armenian-American soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian is as celebrated for her beauty, dynamic presence, and style as for her strikingly multidimensional voice. With this deeply personal project, she gathers a selection of haunting and poignant lullabies that draw on the memories and experiences of the Armenian people. 29 tracks trace an arc from the Ottoman Empire through the Genocide and beyond, with songs and transcriptions by the country’s beloved folk composer Gomidas Vartabed, Parsegh Ganatchian who joined the diaspora in Lebanon, and Ganatchian’s contemporary Mihran Toumajan. For Isabel, these evocative songs span two centuries and five generations. Sung by her great-grandmother, grandmother and mother, and now to her own children, Isabel’s Armenian Songs have an appeal to children of all ages.
The arrangements are enlivened by their variety, featuring not only flute and harp but the less familiar and quite haunting duduk. All this said, there are a lot of lullabies on the program, in similar tempos, and one wonders whether an "Armenian Songs for Children and Others" program, with other examples of the abundant folk-influenced material in the Armenian tradition, might have been a bit livelier. Certainly, though, listeners with children are invited to try the album out.
– AllMusicGuide.com (James Manheim)
Catalog Number: AV2449
Composer: Komitas Vardapet, Mihran Toumajan, Parsegh Ganatchian, Traditional
Performer: Ellie Choate, Isabel Bayrakdarian, Ray Furuta, Rouben Harutyunyan