“Night Ark is perhaps the only ensemble to accord pop music and ethnic flavor without sounding superficial or silly, and without relinquishing either authenticity or success at the box office!” - International Herald Tribune
The music of Ara Dinkjian and Night Ark has served as somewhat of a revelation on the international music scene. Before record companies coined the terms “world music” and “new age,” Dinkjian was combining musical idioms from his own Armenian heritage with Western musical forms. Formed in 1985, Night Ark was introduced to a broad audience through its recordings on the RCA Novus series, from which this compilation was made. Reviewers were ecstatic and the group performed at sold out shows throughout Europe and the Middle East, opening the door for Dinkjian to appear at the Montreux Jazz Festival, and for Night Ark performances at the Istanbul Jazz Festival, Yerevan International Jazz Festival and Israel Festival in Jerusalem.
Dinkjian, Night Ark’s founder and primary composer, combines ancient Armenian modes with textures of jazz, classical music and rock to create the quartet’s distinctive sound. He includes traditional Middle-Eastern instruments such as the ud (fretless lute), kanun (zither), saz (lute with movable frets) and cümbüs (fretless banjo), and realizes his compositions by pulling together some of the best Middle-Eastern and jazz musicians, including Arto Tunçboyaciyan, one of Istanbul’s premiere percussionists, whose innovative percussive and vocal styles have been featured in concerts and recordings with Al Di Meola, Joe Zawinul and numerous fusion artists. Jazz bassist Ed Schuller explores traditional and world music in these Night Ark sessions. Keyboardists Shamira Shahinian and Armen Donelian fuse simple modal harmonies with virtuosic jazz technique, creating a tapestry of spellbinding improvisations and impressionistic melodies.