Are you stuck for Christmas gift ideas for special people on your list? Here are three brief summaries of gift suggestions coming out of Europe, each with unique and refreshing Armenian themes.
In his entertaining book, Tour De Armenia, London-based traveler and photographer, Rafi Youredjian, humorously chronicles his varied adventures and the delicate situations he encounters as he cycles throughout a challenging country of high mountains and lots of horrible roads, but very hospitable people. He’s a good travel writer who takes you right along with him pedaling up and down and into the villages and lives of everyday people high in the Caucausus, where cyclists are uncommon and even considered a little wierd. A thoroughly enjoyable read for any age. The book is available through Amazon and Kindle. Book website: www.tourdearmenia.com — Have a look too at the cycling video clip Raffi produced called, “Come Along For The Ride”.
Her famous composer/conductor grandfather wrote a lot of music throughout his career, however, a large cache of works he started but never finished languished for decades in a drawer of his home in Armenia until discovered accidentally by her father, also a musician. The son convinced his father to complete them, which he did just two years before his death. Back in Germany, father and daughter, a pianist, then spent years working through a careful editing process before the complete piano works and CD of Manvel Beglaryan (1922-2002) were published by Randall Meyers under the Solaris label. Finally, the composer’s 22-year old granddaughter, Astghik Beglaryan, premiers her grandfather’s piano works with sublime playing in her debut CD fittingly named Heritage – the culmination of the work of three generations of a musical family. CD available through Amazon or www.randallmeyers.com
For superb and authentic crossover music the talented Armenian pianist/composer Sona Talian (now living in Germany) fuses classical, jazz and Armenian folksongs into an exciting genre and presents them in her debut CD Raindrops. Sona oozes talent and when you learn her family background it becomes clear where it all comes from. She descends from a long dynasty of Armenian troubadours and musicians – at least six generations. Listeners will be fascinated by her mastery in creating compelling dynamics through surprising twists and turns in theme, tempo and colorations. It’s fabulous listening to and a wonderful gift for all musical tastes. More information and CD available at: www.sonatalian.com – View a performance of her signature piece Raindrops here. You can also view one of her latest collaborations with Armenia’s famous Forsh singing a duet called ‘Who Knows?’ – a charming modern-day version of the Ashough (troubadour) genre, with music and lyrics by Sona Talian, here.