Tribal and classical, folky and refined all at once – the Chookasian Armenian Concert Ensemble. This gang of performers comes through with superb musicianship, full-on choreographed dances, and massive audience interaction. A huge portion of the sound is the steady, driving hand claps of the ensemble and audience members. The Youtube video for “Armenian Folk Music” by the ensemble is lively and alluring, showing that the group is an authentic “art experience” as opposed to just a music group. In a performance like this, audience becomes part of the experience, actively participating and dancing, not unlike a church congregation, or an excellent wedding/Bar Mitzvah
“Pampuri Barr” starts with a heavy demonstration of rhythmic chops, on the Dhol Solo, which is the Armenian hand drum. After the drum intro, the ensemble explodes into an unbelievably thick arrangement of folk instruments, which all work together perfectly to showcase this 1,500 year-old dance piece.
This is truly a diverse and immensely talented ensemble, with masterful playing on generally unheard-of Armenian folk instruments. “Trablzon Barr” showcases the Kanun, which is a lap harp, accompanied by the hand drum and a harpsichord-sounding piano patch which occasionally harmonizes the tricky licks, perfectly.
An ensemble this strong is world-class, without competition, and is serving a grand purpose of exposing traditional folk music to a wider audience. World-music fans and true musicians will rejoice at the power and authenticity of this group. Check them out at www.chookasian.com