Iakovos Kolanian

Shoror: Armenian Folk Music for Guitar

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The front cover of this album, which bears a stylized picture of a young Armenian woman carrying water and the slightly misleading subtitle "Armenian Folk Music for Guitar," does not give you an accurate idea of what kind of music to expect. Look inside the booklet at the photo of a tuxedoed Iakovos Kolanian with his classical guitar, and you'll get a better picture: this isn't folk guitar music, but rather a collection of Armenian folk tunes arranged for classical guitar and performed in an elegant, almost decorous style that owes as much to the lute music of Bach and Weiss as it does to the Armenian folk tradition. Of course, that's just a longwinded way of saying that what Kolanian has created here is an admirably lyrical, complex, and insightful fusion of folk and classical music, the kind of thing that rarely works well at all. In this case it works beautifully, mainly because of the combination of Kolanian's deep feeling for this music and his equally deep mastery of both his instrument and the principles of classical guitar style. Note in particular the delicately woven counterpoint he creates in his arrangement of "Yaman Yar," and the gently dancing grace he brings to "Zankezouri." Very highly recommended.

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