Listen to track 13 – As I am Alive:
When I was 20 years old, a relative gave me a duduk CD of Givan Gasparian. I had never heard this instrument before and being of Armenian ancestry first generation born in New York City, I could not believe that I was part of a people who created such a moving sound of the soul.
Within a few years, I had ridden my motorcycle to California and sought out this instrument among the flourishing Armenian community in Los Angeles that I knew little about. I called the owner of a world music record store in Glendale, Stepan Partamian to see if he knew where I could buy a Duduk, as authentic ones were hard to come by. He said to come in the evening as he had master Duduk musicians from Armenia practicing for a performance, maybe one of them might have a Duduk to sell me.
Little did I know that on this evening I would meet my Duduk teacher, who said thru translation via Stepan, “Would he like a teacher to go with the Duduk”.
Norik was not returning to Armenia, he was choosing to start a new life here in L.A. and I was ready to begin my journey into the spirit of Duduk and awakening the ancestral Armenian spirit within me.
For the next many years, I would visit Norik every week to learn and practice. He taught me the ancient spiritual musical language of the Armenian people and I taught him English. I did not speak Armenian so we bonded first thru the universal language of music.
After many years of dedication to practice, I was bestowed the honor to record on 2 records with Norik and Yeghish Manukian, who are among the few great living Duduk master musicians in the world today. This is the second album I recorded with them at the ARP recording studios. We also traveled to do many concerts in the U.S. and Canada. I was their dam player who is responsible for the continual tone, utilizing a circular breathing technique that allows the musician to play a note (or notes) for the duration of an entire song without pausing even once.