‘Soundscapes: The Secret Trio—A new concept in chamber music’

CD Review

By Lola Koundakjian

‘SOUNDSCAPES: The Secret Trio—A new concept in chamber music’

Ara Dinkjian, oud

Tamer Pinarbaşi, kanun

Ismail Lumanovski, clarinet


Copyright 2012 Traditional Crossroads

Produced by Ara Dinkjian.

Series producer Harold Hagopian.


“Soundscapes,” the newly released album by “The Secret Trio,” is the first studio collaboration by Dinkjian, Pinarbaşi and Lumanovski. The music has 11 tracks, and is a hybrid of many cultures, yet distinct styles. From the haunting first track, “Without You,” to the last—the improvisational piece “Soundscapes,” which lends its name to the album—we get a melodious mix of contemporary interpretations of favorites by the three artists. There are no vocals, no drum, and no bass in the trio, but the tunes are so multifaceted that they adapt beautifully to the three instruments. Outstanding is the old favorite “Slide Dance” by Dinkjian, beautifully arranged here.

‘Soundscapes: The Secret Trio—A new concept in chamber music’

The musicians are neighbors, which gives East Coast dwellers an added plus. On a recent spring evening in the Manhattan neighborhood known as Hell’s Kitchen, the trio was heard performing live at a cafe called Balkanalia. The audience, some of whom had never witnessed the scene of Armenians crowding 8th Avenue nightclubs after World War II, enjoyed the ad hoc scene. The cafe didn’t have special lighting nor a stage, but they improvised. The musicians also did a few call and response type pieces, while patrons clinked their glasses filled with Macedonian wine in syncopation. Some stood up to dance.

The musicianship of “The Secret Trio” is of the highest caliber, and the compositions impressive, but this reviewer (who has been following Dinkjian’s work for the past 25 years and who is very grateful for this album) is at a loss at the selection of track # 7, an Indian tune. Somehow it doesn’t fit into the program.  She also wishes there were better liner notes. Still, music appreciators worldwide will have an enjoyable experience, and the ancestors would approve of this beautiful project.

The trio’s future projects include arrangements of classical western masters and a concert at Symphony Space in fall 2012. Stay tuned to more by The Secret Trio.

The CD is available on Amazon.com (worldwide), on Simfy in Germany, from Krikor Music (N.J.), iTunes for Europe and the U.S., and at http://www.traditionalcrossroads.com.

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