Sensual and melodic, hypnotic and rhythmic, the power of the fire element blazes throughout the exotic and passionate compositions of "CARAVANS," Armen Chakmakian's new release for TruArt Records.
The GRAMMY®-nominated keyboardist, who scored legions of fans worldwide when two tracks from his debut production, "Ceremonies," were featured in the "Buddha-Bar" series, orchestrates a musical journey spanning new territory with this intoxicating fusion of world textures and contemporary jazz influences.
With its percussive and inventive instrumentation, "CARAVANS" invites you to travel along as the language of sound propels you into the lush landscape of a world where adventure awaits.
FEATURE STORY: ARTIST SELLS HIS SOUL:
Fans of Armen Chakmakian's music now know just how far he will go to give them more of the music they want to hear. After the release of "Ceremonies," an introspective album that celebrates rituals, Armen turned up the tempo a notch to record more of a band album focused on spontaneous performance. Because he wanted the freedom to record whenever inspiration struck, Armen knew he needed to build a home studio to record his new project, "Caravans."
He began by calling in favors from friends who had recorded with him before, and networking to outfit his studio. Along the way to fund the project, Armen sold first his beloved grand piano that he had taken his first music lessons on when he was a child, and then, his car. For anyone who has ever visited or lived in the Los Angeles area, being without a vehicle is akin to selling one's life blood. But, with production delays and mounting costs, even these measures were not enough. Finally, Armen did the unthinkable, he sold his home. With bills still left to pay, he soon came to the conclusion that he had only one option left.
Like Robert Johnson before him, Armen stood at a crossroads and decided to sell his soul! However, he wasn't willing to make a deal with the devil. Instead, he created an auction on eBay announcing to the world: "Los Angeles-Based Musician Selling His Soul." The auction went on to explain in a very humorous fashion just how few people in the music biz actually have a soul to begin with, so here's an opportunity to buy one that has been called everything from old to remarkable.
In actuality, the auction was an opportunity to advertise tiered levels of sponsorships for investor participation. Although he received no bids on eBay, Armen felt he was onto something. He sent a similar e-mail out to his fans and received exactly the amount of sponsorship that he needed to do his mastering. This also led to an offer from noted recording engineer Steve Durkee, whose impressive resume includes a six-year stint with Prince as well as recording and mixing music for feature films, to mix the album.
"I had hoped my eBay auction might spark interest from some of the news media," reflects Armen. "That didn't happen, but it was really amazing how exactly what I needed to finish "Caravans" showed up at exactly the right time."
Armen Chakmakian has created and produced his own "Field of Dreams," and it is called "CARAVANS."
ABOUT THE ARTIST (Biography):
"For as long as I can remember there was always music in our house while I was growing up. One of my brothers introduced me to the Big Band sound at an early age and the other introduced me to rock & roll. My sister plays classical piano and my parents always had Armenian and Arabic music playing on the stereo," remembers composer/keyboardist/producer, Armen Chakmakian.
A prodigy with a gift for playing by ear, Armen's musical education was extensive. A native of Glendale, California, he attended Berklee College of Music, UCLA and USC where he studied the "History of Armenian Music". Also, he studied jazz with John Novello, a world acclaimed music educator, and learned improvisation from keyboardist, Chuck Wild of Missing Persons fame and composer of the Liquid Mind stress-relief music series. Soon he found himself embarking on a successful career in Hollywood performing, composing and arranging for singer/songwriters with former Rick James' Stone City Band members, Richard and Lorenzo Shaw.
Next up, Chakmakian formed his own jazz-fusion ensemble whose members graduated to stellar careers playing for hit makers, Shadowfax, Strunz & Farah, Kitaro, Jon Anderson (from Yes), The Rippingtons and some of the biggest pop artists of our time including Sting, Bonnie Raitt, The Backstreet Boys, Christina Aguilera, Marc Anthony and Patti Labelle.
In 1991, the break of a lifetime occurred when Armen joined the GRAMMY® Award-winning band, Shadowfax as the keyboardist. The following year, the album, "Esperanto" co-written by Chakmakian was nominated for a GRAMMY® as Best New Age Album of 1992. Following Esperanto was "Magic Theater," Shadowfax "Live," and a 90-minute concert video of the Live album. The next five years were spent co-writing, recording and touring with Shadowfax and were instrumental in shaping Armen's signature keyboard stylings.
A new era began in 1998 when he founded TruArt Records. Armen's debut solo album, "Ceremonies" was released that year to rave reviews and debuted #1 on the New Age/World radio charts (NAV Top 50). Airplay was received on over 600 stations worldwide. Two tracks from "Ceremonies" were featured on the European compilation CD series, "Buddha-Bar" I & IV, and have to date sold over 700,000 units.
In 2004, Armen's second solo album, "Caravans" was released and showcases the artist's growth as a composer/producer with its spontaneous performances. While he continues to man his independent label, he also enjoys playing with other groups and contributing songs to film and audio projects.
As an artist, Armen Chakmakian continues to break new ground and explore new territory with his inventive and dramatic compositions.
REVIEWS COMING SOON!