Best Albums of 2014
as selected by Karine Vann

Armen Donelian <BR>“Sayat​-​Nova: Songs of My Ancestors”

Armen Donelian
“Sayat​-​Nova: Songs of My Ancestors”

This album by Armenian-American, New York-based jazz pianist Armen Donelian’s proves it is possible to celebrate Armenia’s rich cultural history from a contemporary perspective. The album pays tribute to the 18th-century Armenian poet and troubadour, Sayat Nova’s, revered original melodies, but does not shy away from more modern influences, most notably, mainstream jazz and classical music.

Some of the tracks on the album take on a highly classical character, as in “Tamam Ashkhar Bdood Eka,” which incorporates a wide range of 20th-century stylistic textures. Other songs, like “Tekouz Koo Kashn Markrit Tan,” draw heavily from Afro-Cuban elements, reminiscent of his time playing in Mongo Santamaria’s New York City jazz band in the 70’s.

♪♫ Listen: “Oosdi Goukas Gharib Bibool” + album stream

Bei Ru <BR>“Saturday Night at the Magic Lamp”

Bei Ru
“Saturday Night at the Magic Lamp”

Bei Ru is a Los Angeles-based multi-genre music producer/composer/DJ known for his unconventional use of Middle Eastern melodies and rhythms combined with heavy drums, electronics, and a plethora of live instrumentation.

His latest album, “Saturday Night at the Magic Lamp”, is an all-encompassing mixture of everything you can find between the Middle East and Western Europe, between oud and laptop, folk singers and rappers.

♪♫ Listen: “You Won’t See Me Again” + album stream

Bei Ru on www, Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter.

Reincarnation <BR>“Spitak”


Reincarnation is a 9-piece band with influences from reggae, ska, and funk based out of Yerevan, Armenia. Their latest album, “Spitak”, adopts influences also from rock and roll and its lyrics are highly critical of certain social issues the country faces today.

Led by Roland Gasparyan on guitars and vocals, Reincarnation owes their rich sound to a wide pallete of instruments from obligatory brass kit (trumpet, trombone, sax, and clarinet) to such local equipment as bloul flute, pkou and duduk.

♪♫ Listen: “Spitak” + album download

Reincarnation on www, Soundcloud, YouTube, Facebook, VK.