PASADENA–A three thousand member audience filled the Pasadena Civic Auditorium to capacity–on Sunday–for the Los Angeles debut of Armenian folk singer Nune Yesayan. The artist’s fame stems not only from her classic rendition of traditional Armenian folk songs–especially those of the renowned Sayat Nova–but from her ability to also successfully perform them in a contemporary style. Her attempt at non-Armenian songs and genres have also gained her due praise.
As the two and a half hour concert began at 8 p.m.–Nune ascended from beneath the stage through a white cloud to offer her music to an oftentimes enthusiastic audience. "I am hear to provide you with Armenian songs–the songs of my soul," she explained as she performed a series of folk songs from Gusan Bagrat–Gusan Alik–Gusan Havasi–Gusan Sheram and Sayat Nova.
Throughout the concert–Nune maintained a dialogue with her audience–always explaining the origins and nature of the chosen songs and encouraging audience participation. She captivated the audience with not only her voice–her orchestra but also her ever-changing attire and traditional Armenian background dancers.
"Listen to Armenian songs–and live with Armenian songs," she said–as she performed contemporary songs "Hayastan" and "Yerevan" by Stepan Lusikian and G. Nazarian’s "Getashen." Nune also offered three selections of folk song potpourris.
Acknowledging that "when you live in a second homeland–the songs of that homeland also become dear to you," near the conclusion of the second part of the sold-out concert–Nune performed a medley of international songs including popular Greek–French–and Arabic hits. Her dance ensemble also participated in the international potpourri with modern dance.
Upon the request of the electrified audience–Nune added three popular songs including "Artyok Ovker En?" which earned high audience participation. In the end–she had performed 23 numbers.
"Nune in Concert" was presented by Horizon TV and Prime Entertainment–and sponsored by Levon Travel–Virgin Megastore–KLM and Armenian Airlines. The concert was produced by Stepan Partamian–and executive produced by Garbis Titizian. Public Relations were handled by Vigen Khachatourian. Nune’s eight member orchestra was directed by Artistic Director Arthur Grigoryan. The choreography was done by Anahid Ter Gabrielyan.
Nune’s band member’s which performed three instrumental pieces included Karen Tsaturyan on keyboard and arrangement; Vardan Arakelyan on bass guitar; Areg Arustamyan on keyboard; Grigor Dabaghyan on duduk-zurna; Norayr Kartashyan on saxophone and blul-zurna; Karen Setrakyan on guitar–and Artur Galstyan on dhol.
Upon the encouragement of her parents–twenty-eight year old Nune studied Armenian folk song and attended the Armenian Jazz and Pop Music College–home to Armenian music greats Datevig Hovhannisian–Artur Grigorian and Robert Amirkhanian. She has held major performances in Syria–Lebanon–Cyprus–Greece–Brazil–Egypt–Italy and Germany. In 1997 she held charity concerts throughout Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh.
Nune will participate in the Armenian Youth Federation of the Western US May 25 Festival in celebration of the 80th anniversary of Armenian Independence–at Verdugo Park–in Glendale. For more information regarding the May 25 Festival please call the AYF Central Executive Office at (818) 507-1933.