My First Guitar Teacher Armik
My First Guitar Teacher Armik & Diva of Persian Pop Music Googoosh
By Reza Ganjavi
Born a performer, Googoosh started singing as a kid. She has been THE Diva of Persian pop music who set the tone, the standard, that many other singers looked up to. I met her at a small private event when I was a kid. This was a very high society scene because Googoosh those days didn't show up just anywhere. And this was not a big wedding -- it was a (relatively) small party and she was friends with the host I suppose. Her band was there -- the best musicians I'd seen in my life and I'd seen a lot of live music since I was a baby... live music at parties were the norm and by the Caspian Sea every summer for several weeks we had the great bands perform every night and of course I was friends with them and usually hung around the back stage...
There was a drummer Davood in Pelajhe Jhandarmery in Farah-Aabad. Shadi and I and other kids loved that guy -- a very sweet person and a great drummer and a great performer (he'd throw the sticks up in the air and catch them while playing...). We used to hang out. And I was hanging out with the guitarist -- all much older than me. Another drummer there, Morteza Aahani taught me drums privately in Tehran. His brother, Hassan Aahani was a showman. Turk, of course, as many of them were (Azari) with a great sense of humor and stellar showmanship. I'd love to find these folks – a very talented family.
There were many musicians and many great nights by the coast of the great Caspian Sea under the magical fragrance of Linden Trees and an impeccable array of flowers. That was a face of Iran today's youngsters can't imagine. Anyway, also in Tehran we were regularly exposed to live music. One of my dad's friends, a judge, used to have live music at his home for the birthday of each kid.
As a baby, I was in my mom's lap sleeping while Vigen was singing at a summer outdoor party, and mom was thinking I was asleep but every time a song finished I'd open my eyes and clap smile emoticon -- on that note, when they brought me to the room to see mom after I was born I turned my head to the sound of music on the radio and the nurse said this kid is musical...
Anyway, the band that was playing with Googoosh absolutely blew me away. I recognized the bass player who is on this video of a great song of Googoosh called Gharibe Aashena (Familiar Stranger). Probably others too. The guitarist in this video is my first guitar teacher, the one and only Armik (wearing glasses) who is a world renounced guitarist and has many albums and hits. He had studied at Boston's Berklee college of music. Armik was the best guitarist in Iran and his masterful playing gives those classic hit records a unique, wonderful spice -- so you see what I mean about Googoosh's standard. Also the best composers and lyricists wrote for her. Also Varoojhan the greatest arranger in Persian pop music did a lot of her arrangements. [Several other great videos showing much more of Armik are listed below.]
After the revolution she remained in Iran but left the country eventually, and made a big splash in the US. She works with my friend Babak Amini, and is still the gold standard of Persian Female vocalists, here's one of her many great songs... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_RHS0jnp70E
Comments/corrections, etc. are most welcome...
MORE GREAT VIDEOS INCLUDING ARMIK
Here are some more videos showing Armik's mastery and the great band Googoosh had: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=COu908Tyz28
Check out Armik's melody minute 8:45 onwards and the great keyboard player 10:19 onwards...
Outdoor concert https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3zT3Ofc6Gn4
Royal performance -- some of the same band members... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3zT3Ofc6Gn4
Singing in Azeri (Turkish) which is her ethnic background... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZ9c1gMnWSw
And the same song many years later but this time with a bunch of musicians who have no clue about the spirit of this music -- it sounds like a factory:
PS -- I had the pleasure and honor to chat with Armik tonight. He agrees with me that that was the golden era in Persian music and standards were very different (and much higher) thanks to people like Armik. I must acknowledge the role of Armenian Iranians who are incredibly talented musicians and had a tremendous contribution to the music of that region. Armik is one example. Varujhan, Vigen, and many others had invaluable contributions.