The fans of jazz in general and those who like experimenting with folk music in particular know the name of the top performer on every kind of percussion instruments, composer and singer Arto Tunçboyaciyan. His name became widely known to world music fans after he started his collaboration with the legendary Joe Zawinul. Besides, Tunçboyaciyan performed and recorded together with Al Di Meola, Bob Berg, Dennis Chambers, Bill Evans, Mike Manieri, Paul Winter, Simon Nabatov, Mike Stern, as well as bands like Oregon, System of a Down and others superstars of the international jazz and rock scene. He has more than 20 solo albums and soundtracks to movies and plays under his belt.
Arto Tunçboyaciyan was born in Turkey in 1957. His brother Onno was one of those, who contributed to the advancement of modern Turkish music by composing, performing and producing it. From the age of 11 Arto began creating and performing music in his brother’s band and touring around Turkey and Europe. Trying all possible musical styles and playing almost every musical instrument, Arto chose percussion and world music as the most natural means of expression of his love and respect to Mother Nature and Mankind.
In 1981 Arto moved to United States to find new creative grounds for his talent. He was immediately noticed by the masters of the US jazz scene, and offered collaboration. Tunçboyaciyan became a highly demanded sideman, and encouraged with the enthusiastic reception by the American society made up his mind for solo projects. His first solo albums, “Virginland” and “Main Root” were released in 1985.
It was during this time that Arto got acquainted with one of the best oud players, Ara Dinkjian. In the end of the 80’s they founded the “Night Ark” quartet, which performed on the verge of genres: ethno-jazz and new age. The quartet’s albums are in great demand and have sold millions of copies worldwide.
In 1998 the popular US quartet, which then consisted of keyboard player Armen Donelian and bass player Mark Johnson alongside Arto Tunçboyaciyan and Ara Dinkjian, came to Yerevan for the First International Jazz Festival. Astounded by the warm reception that he and his band got in their motherland, the famous musician decided to collect his own band in Armenia and play the music that sounded in his heart at the moment. Thus, his next project was born: the Armenian Navy Band.
Armenian Navy Band is essentially a super group, a unique Armenian All Stars band. Since 1998 the band has managed to win the respect of music fans and find its own important niche in the world of music. During 7-8 years of creative activity the band performed in practically all countries of Europe and the East; participated in a dozen of international festivals; played on the same stage with the world’s leading figures of jazz; and in the summer of 2005 gave two joint concerts with “The Zawinul Syndicate” in Portugal (with 19 musicians simultaneously playing on the stage!).
ANB’s 4 albums quickly sold out and were re-issued several times. The most popular is the next to last album called “Sound of Our Life – Part I: Natural Seeds” (2004). By the year-end results it was number 14 on the World Music Charts Europe among 900 others, while the Armenian band itself, according to journalists reviewing traditional folk music and its modern branches, was named the best among worldbeat, world music, ethno-jazz and other related artists, leave behind such musicians as Ry Cooder, Paco de Lucia and others. By the way, Arto himself defines his music as “avant-garde folk”.
In 2006 ANB achieved new heights: the most prestigious British Radio Corporation, BBC presented the band with the Audience World Music Award.
The band recorded soundtracks for “Platon”, a movie of Russian production and for “Le Voyage En Armenie” of French production.
ANB’s music is multipart, compound suites based on Armenian rhythms and melodies with elements of jazz-rock, new age, fusion and avant-garde. Brilliant technique, rich sound, energy and at the same time lyricism and romanticism, plus the band leader’s unusual singing manner without words. Mix all this with the music of the Armenian mountains and the blue sky, the crazy rhythms of a modern city and the roughness of today’s world and you will get an approximate picture of this Armenian band’s music.
Two years ago Arto Tunçboyaciyan and some band-members of Armenian Navy Band recorded a joint album “Nefrete Kine Karsi” with Turkish singer and guitar player Yaşar Kurt.
Arto Tunçboyaciyan also cooperates with “System of A Down”. They recorded a duet album “TOXICITY” together with the bandleader Serj Tankian (2001).
Currently Arto Tunçboyaciyan is one of the band-members of a brilliant American fusion band HUMAN ELEMENT (Arto Tunçboyaciyan (vocals, percussion, duduk), Scott Kinsey (keyboars), Matthew Garrison (bass guitar), Gary Novak (drums)). Several months ago, the quartet released its first album, which was recognized one of the best albums in its category by the prestigious website www.allaboutjazz.com.
In February 2011, Arto Tunçboyaciyan, being the band-member of The Paul Winter Consort won the Grammy for “Miho: Journey to the Mountain”. This album was recognized the “Best New Age Album” and was granted the golden Grammy. The golden Grammies were handed to all the performers, who worked on the album.
Armenian Navy Band:
Arto Tunçboyaciyan – percussions, vocals
Armen Ayvazyan – kamancha
Vahagn Hayrapetyan – keyboards
Anahit Artushyan – kanun
David Minasyan – trombone
Vardan Grigoryan – duduk, zurna
Arman Jalalyan – drums
Norayr Kartashyan – blul, duduk, zurna
Artyom Manukyan – bass
Arthur Grigorian – sax
David Nalchajyan – alto saxophone
Armen Hyusnunts – tenor and soprano saxophone
Tigran Suchyan – trumpet
Gagik Hudaverdi – guitar
“Bzdik Zinvor” (1999)
“New Apricot” (2001)
“Sound of Our Life” (2003)
“How Much Is Yours?” (2005)
“Under Your Thoughts” (2009)