Listen to the daring roster of local talent playing in Yerevan this weekend

Yerevan will host a new three-day music festival this Friday. Urvakan is a boundary-pushing, multidisciplinary celebration of underground sound and culture. Keep reading to discover which Armenian artists we’re most excited to see.

29 April 2019

Jrimurmur. Image: courtesy of Urvakan Festival

Cast Coverts

Cast Coverts is the solo project of multi-instrumentalist Raf Gyoletsyan, one of the key players in Armenian underground music and its main export. He’s already appeared on the lineup of the local Boiler Room, as well as Krakow’s Unsound festival. Expect dusty industrial techno, pretty heavy on the syncopated beats, and analogue textures.

Jrimurmur

Holly Armenakyan and Glaz (Anna Sakhlyan) began their collaborative project, Jrimurmur, in 2015 to explore the darker territories of coldwave and post-punk. Since then, they have continued their voyage towards haunting, experimental synth-pop. They write and sing exclusively in Armenian, producing beautiful tracks including covers of local pop. Yerevan’s murky cityscape plays a central role in their videos, which channel the same moody quality as their music.

KP Transmission

Born in Georgia to Armenian parents, Karina Kazaryan spent her childhood in the dark suburbs of Siberia’s Omsk, a landscape that inspires her to this day. She started out playing along with her sister Lusia in the iconic Russian darkwave rock band Fanny Kaplan. After they split, she pursued her solo electronic project KP Transmission. The sound she is recognised for is both primitive and otherworldly, and tinged with a vague feeling of unease.

Margenrot

Lusia Kazaryan-Topchyan is KP Transmission’s older sister, who also lives and works in Moscow. Her dark and mesmerising sound is inspired by her Armenian roots and industrial music from the 80s and 90s. Her album Zangezur shares its name with a region in southeast Armenia characterised by conflict and border tensions. Margenrot’s inspirations, however, go beyond geopolitics, being more deeply rooted in local mythology.

Lucia

Lucia comes from a family of jazz musicians, meaning she was surrounded by music while growing up in Moscow. She later moved to Vienna for her studies, where she continues to reside and DJ. Her musical tastes are far-reaching, with DJ sets that celebrate acid, dub, disco, and classical tunes from different periods and various corners of the world.

Miqayel Voskanyan

Miqayel Voskanyan is a well-known name in Yerevan, not only for his music but for being a skilled tar player — a long-necked Armenian musical instrument. A brilliant improviser, Voskanyan has many cross-genre collaborations behind him, experimenting with folk and jazz fusions, as well as acousmatic and electroacoustic sounds. His project, the Miqayel Voskanyan & Friends band, is influenced by Armenia’s jazz heritage.

Nystagmus

“There are no political and social layers in my works,” says Kay Khachatryan, who takes his inspiration from psychology instead. The multi-disciplinary artist is a veteran of Yerevan’s underground music scene, known for putting on explosive live sets that include audiovisual elements and experimental performances using handmade instruments.

Vardan Harutyunyan

One of Yerevan best-kept secrets, Vardan Harutyunyan is a music teacher, multi-instrumentalist, and performer who draws on a wide spectrum of influences and tools to create hypnotic, carefully-crafted soundscapes. Shifting from electronic to acoustic during his sets, Harutyunyan goes beyond traditional musical genres to create an immersive experience that leaves you totally mesmerised.

The Urvakan music festival runs from 3-5 May across Yerevan. You can find more information here.

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