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Shoghaken Folk Ensemble will perform Feb. 5

The Shoghaken Folk Ensemble of Armenia will give audience members a taste of Armenia’s ancient musical traditions during a performance at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 5 in the Williams Center for the Arts.

Tickets are free for students, $4 for faculty and staff, and $18 for the public. They can be obtained by calling the Williams Center box office at x5009. Future performers in this year’s Sound Alternatives series are the New York Voices on March 29 for $20.

The concert will feature dances, festive songs, troubadour melodies, medieval epic verse, lullabies, and love ballads. The group will also give a free presentation at 11 a.m. Feb. 5 in room 123 of the Williams Center.

The Shoghaken Folk Ensemble was founded in 1991 by dudukist Gevorg Dabaghyan in Yerevan, the capital city of Armenia. Comprised of eight members, the group is Armenia’s premier folk music ensemble. Shoghaken uses only traditional Armenian instruments, maintaining an authentic sound with the duduk (a cylindrical oboe), zurna (a wooden tube with a double reed), dhol (barrel drum), kanon (plucked zither), kamancha (spike-fiddle), shvi (a fipple flute), and other instruments.

Singers Hasmik Harutyunyan and Aleksan Harutyunyan are known throughout Armenia, the former Soviet Union, and Europe for their unique interpretation of Armenian folk and ashoughagan (troubadour) music.

In 1997, Shoghaken recorded its first album of folk music Music of Armenia. The group has also produced several other albums including Armenia Anthology. Released in 2002, the album was recognized as the Best CD of the Year in the World Music category at the Association for Independent Music/National Association of Recording Merchandisers (AFIM/NARM) convention held in March 2003. The award is an independent label version of the Grammy Awards.

In 2002, Shoghaken was invited to the United States by world-renowned cellist, Yo-Yo Ma, to perform at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C. The music of Shoghaken is also featured on the soundtrack of the film Ararat.

The 2007-2008 Performance Series at Lafayette College is supported in part by gifts from Friends of the Williams Center for the Arts; by provisions of the Josephine Chidsey Williams Endowment, J. Mahlon and Grace Buck Fund, the Croasdale Fund, the Class of ’73 Fund, the Alan and Wendy Pesky Artist-in-Residence Program, the James Bradley Fund, and the Ed Brunswick Jazz Fund; and by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, Pennsylvania Performing Arts on Tour; the F.M. Kirby Foundation, the Dexter and Dorothy Baker Foundation, and the New England Foundation for the Arts.

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