WASHINGTON, D.C.—Boston-based musician Samvel Galstian’s album ANDORR was released globally this month, premiering at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival which takes place annually at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. This year the world- renowned institution celebrated the cultures of Armenia and Catalonia during the first two weeks of July. Visitors braved the sweltering summer heat in the nation’s capital to absorb the arts and traditions of cultures they perhaps were not yet well acquainted with.
On the ‘Aygi’ stage on the north and “Discovering Armenia” side of the festival, Samvel performed daily with his group: Vardan Ovsepian on keys, Joshua Davis on bass, and Karen Kocharyan on drums.
ANDORR (serenity in Armenian) is comprised of songs that Armenian listeners will easily recognize and certainly reminisce over, the ballads taking them back to an earlier time. Presented on a jazz quartet setting arranged by Ovsepian and Galstian, the album includes favorites of Ruben Hakhverdyan as well as throwbacks from Arno Babajanian and Artemi Ayvazyan.
The project was created when Galstian “dreamed to revive the music of his misplaced generation in an homage to the beloved songs of his youth. Joining forces with jazz
visionary and friend Vardan Ovsepian, Andorr was born. Charged with sentiment, the music of Andorr offer[s] a unique presentation of contemporary jazz and folk for audiences everywhere.”
Listeners at the festival admired the Armenian flavor they were able to ascertain albeit on a jazz backdrop, to what sounded like “Armenian bossa nova.” The Armenian ones in the crowd sang along to the traditional favorites, swaying with nostalgia.
Says Galstian, “We hope that this project fuels the listener with the same feelings that were present during its creation.”
ANDORR is now available on iTunes. Featuring Vardan Ovsepian on piano and synth, Daniele Camarda on bass, Karen Kocharyan on drums, Artyom Manukyan on cello, and Samvel Galstian on vocals.
For more information and for upcoming shows please visit www.samvelgalstian.com