Hye Gauchos: Folk club welcomes Argentinean music for Armenian audiences

Yerevan audiences have a rare opportunity this week to enjoy live performances of distinct South American music, as presented by the Carlos Diaz Trio (of Belgium and Germany).

During a six-night engagement (Sept. 14-19) at Avantgarde Folk Music Club Diaz (guitar), Henk Delaat (contrabass) and Osvaldo Henandez (percussion) are performing “Malambo Jazz”, based on the traditional music of Argentine gauchos (cowboys), marked by raucous rhythms.

For Diaz, this sort of original folk music is the source of his creativity.

“The world today is full of Argentinean rhythms and music,” Diaz said during an interview at the club, adding that “the whistling winds of the far unknown Patagonia and the national traditions give new inspirations for creation.”

Diaz himself is from the very “end of the world”, in Patagonia’s town of Rio Galegos. He began playing guitar at age 8, then made his way to Brazil, Spain and on to Belgium and Germany.

The Trio (www.cadiaz.com) came to the attention of Birgit Ellinghaus, manager of the Armenian Navy Band who also books talent into the club.

The passionate sounds of guitar, contrabass and Latino percussion transformed the cozy club into a beach, with compositions by Diaz such as “Flight to the Moon” and “Everything Begins in September” embracing the melancholy of autumn.

“When you hear the music, you want to close your eyes, spread your hands and lie on the surface of the water at sunset,” said Cecile Kvarzdez, a tourist from Switzerland visiting Armenia. “I have traveled many countries, have heard thousands of groups, but there is some honesty and warmth here I have never felt,”

During the week, bassist Henk Delaat who, like his mates, performs in Armenia for the first time, has developed admiration for Armenian musicians, especially the unique style of the “Armenian Navy Band” http://www.albakultur.de/alba/index.html and the performance of saxophone player Armen Hyusnunts, leader of Time Report jazz -fusion band.

“You are really rich to have such a club and musicians of this quality, and the audience is so warm that you wish to play all the time and not to stop,” said Henk.

Since the founding the Avantgarde Folk Club in spring 2004 many groups and musicians have performed on its stage including, last month, various musicians and dancers from Africa. Generally, the club is known as home to the Armenian Navy Band whose performances become parties.

“All those groups that are in folk music can play here,” says co-owner of the club Artak Gevorgyan. “We do not put any limitations, there are plans to invite even Turkish, Mongolian and Iranian groups. Art knows no borders, just like a month ago when everyone danced and sang to the group from Africa.”

In October the club will open up the doors of its new hall, adjacent to the current club, in what was once the Hamazgain Theatre. While the current club seats 120, the new one will accommodate 300.