Mandana Beigi Gor
Armenian world music
artist Gor Mkhitarians US debut is a solid step into the American alternative
music scene. A seamless blend of Armenian traditional music and jazzy/folky Western
pop, this is the kind of album that you would play over and over again!
A native of the Armenian city of Vanazor, Gor grew up listening to what his older
brothers were listening to: The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, etc., which
had a tremendous affect in driving his musical tendencies away from the mainstream
traditional sound of the region. Playing the guitar became a hobby, but Gor never
pursued music seriously until the early 90s when he began singing in a church
choir. He collaborated with a few other musicians and was soon the lead guitarist
of Luv-Eli, one of Armenias most well known rock bands.
What sets Gor
apart from the rest of the world music artists is his open-mindedness in creating
music. He does not stick to one genre because he is not derivative of any particular
formulated sound. In a bold move for a world music artist, he decided to do the
entire album in English; a gesture in embracing the Western pop music and producing
a harmonic hybrid of different sounds and cultures. Its all about taking
musical risks. On this album, Gor has proven to be more of an experimental multi-faceted
artist than a conventional singer/songwriter.
Opening with the catchy Breakdown, the album travels through different
moods and lyrical depth. Among my personal favorites are the beautifully arranged
Stigma and the bittersweet Cold Wagon 1993.
Gor also features John Berberian on oud and vocalist Sebu Simonian (Aviatic),
as well as co-producer Erwin Khachikian (Slow Motion Reign). This may not be your
typical Putumayo world music record, but it is perhaps one of the best independent
releases of the year.