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Usbassoom 04:00
Lerigagan 04:00
Im Yerevan 05:33
Greensleeves 01:55
Hingala 02:48


Three friends from the Armenian enclave of Watertown, Massachusetts, all recent college graduates in their very early 20s, convened for a recording project in a farmhouse in Deerfield, Massachusetts one day in 1970. The group’s leader Joe Zeytoonian recalls that they they brought a jug of cheap Portuguese rose and recorded no more than three takes of any of the songs. All three had known each other their whole lives through church activites. Having sung in the Erevan Chorale founded in 1966 in Watertown by a scholarly, paraplegic priest named Oshagan Minassian (b. 1929; d. 2008), Zeytoonian and the guitarist and singer John Manoush made personal and deeply earnest arrangements of the repertoire of the choral group. Their efforts were recorded by a budding engineer, Leon Janikian, who took exceptional care in all aspects of the production and played soprano recorder on two tunes. The resulting group of songs on the subjects of nostalgia, yearning, and flowering love were pressed in an edition of perhaps 500 LPs.

Soon after the session, Manoush departed for Peace Corp work in Brazil and has since settled in Maine where he has worked in food safety. Janikian earned a Masters degree in Music Theory and Composition from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, opened a recording studio, worked as a clarinetist, and is an Associate Professor Emeritus at Northeastern University in Boston. Zeytoonian continues a successful career as an oudist, having earned several awards, toured widely across the U.S., Turkey, Japan, Latin America, and Tajikistan, and has recorded and played with musicians including Gloria Estefan, Shakira, Jon Secada, Fred Elias, and Dave Liebman. He has led many bands and lives and works in south Florida with his partner, dancer and percussionist Myriam Eli.


released October 15, 2023

Joseph Zeytoonian - oud (tracks 1-11)
John Manoush - guitar (tracks 1-9)
Leon Janikian - engineer (tracks 1-11), soprano recorder (tracks 1 & 9)

Additional musicians on track 10: Michael Gregian (dirbeki), Ken Kalajian (guitar), Sebastian Steinberg (bass), Ron Tutujian (dumbek)

J. Gozalian (track 1)
V. Balian (track 2)
V. Godoian (tracks 3 & 4)
Armenian Tigranian (track 5)
Koosan Ashod (track 9)
Joseph Zeytoonian (tracks 10 & 11)

Tracks 1-9 from the LP Friendship, 1970
Tracks 10 & 11 from the LP Gypsy Fever, 1976

Transfers, restorations and notes by Ian Nagoski
All recording copyright Joe Zeytoonian


all rights reserved



Canary Records Baltimore, Maryland

early 20th century masterpieces (mostly) in languages other than English.

An hour in clamor and a quarter in rheum.

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