Oudi Hrant

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Many Middle Eastern troubadours of the early 20th century were named after the instruments they played, and one of the best-known and celebrated, Oudi Hrant, got his name from the stringed instrument…
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Many Middle Eastern troubadours of the early 20th century were named after the instruments they played, and one of the best-known and celebrated, Oudi Hrant, got his name from the stringed instrument called the oud. Hailing from Istanbul, Turkey, Hrant assembled a massive following worldwide with Armenians, and even performed in the United States from the 1920s through the 1950s (playing both formal concerts and private performances at people's homes). Hrant was renowned for ghazels, which are essentially a Middle Eastern form of blues featuring scat singing over stark music, which contained emotional subject matter in the lyrics. This was never more evident in his song "Hasta Yim" (translated meaning "I Am Sick"), which featured Hrant complaining that he would "never see the great wonders of [his] homeland" (due to the fact that he was blind) as well as Armenian genocide. Few recordings of Hrant exist today (the hard-to-find '60s release, Turkish Delights, being one of the exceptions), as only a smattering of unrehearsed performances were captured on tape. Years later, Hrant-disciple/fellow oud player Richard Hagopian recorded several Hrant compositions on his own, including such titles as "Sirdus Vura Kar Ma Ga," "Anush Yares Heratza," "Ghurgeet Chant," and "Parov Yegar Siroon Yar."