Like a graceful river that both complements and continually redefines its landscape, the music of the Vishup Ensemble meanders through vast, storied swaths of Armenian history, at turns surging and gliding into domains that range from myth, lyric poetry, and metaphysics to gleeful ditties and the ploughman’s song.
Vishup was founded in Armenia by flutist, vocalist, and guitarist Arik Grigorian from famous Armenian band "The Bambir" in 2015 when Arik Grigoryan started to work with drummer Eduard Harutyunyan, Hayk Karapetyan and was called "Arik Bambir Project" at first. Then the project moved to Los Angeles in 2016 and new members joined the band, including vocalist and pianist Areni Agbabian, cellist Artyom Manukyan and drummer Vardan Duvendjian. Then it came back to Armenia and other musicians, including Levon Arakelyan, Christin Yeghiazaryan and Amalia Hakobyan joined the group.
The ensemble’s repertoire comprises both original material and odes to the art-historical. An intricately calibrated straddling of earthy and ethereal, Vishup’s music is driven by the soothing, folk-inflected voice of Arik Grigorian. The singing is deftly woven with understated yet muscular textures of flute, guitar, and drums, making for a lush, wondrous sound. Vishup’s original compositions and reinterpretations of classics alike thrive not merely on experimentation per se, but, ultimately, a sense of soaring liberty, of wide-open vistas, where passion — whether fiery or sublime — is given free rein. Vishup, after all, means “dragon” in Armenian.
Arik Bambir Grigoryan A classically trained musician as well as teacher and choir conductor, Arik Grigorian is a longtime member of Armenia’s acclaimed Bambir Music Collective, in which he plied his crafts as a composer, flutist, and vocalist. Grigorian has also collaborated with a diverse range of musicians including Dietmar Bonnen, Tigran Hamasyan, and Hasmik Harutyunyan. In 2013, Grigorian joined the Tumo Center for Creative Technologies, in Yerevan, Armenia, to launch the Tmbata Youth Orchestra, Tumo’s flagship.