Probably one of the most famous bands in Armenia, The Bambir is a music collective spanning 4 decades. With more than fifty musicians having passed through its ranks, the band has now moved into its second generation, with sons of the original members making up a new four-piece ensemble.
The Bambir describe themselves as “flavored by progressive rock, vibrations in stones, Daoism, James Joyce, Rumi, Japanese poetry, acrobatic tongue twisters and fingerpickings and harmonies at 3am when the beer, the tea, and the cigarettes have all run out.”
They have played in Moscow, Paris, Los Angeles, New York, Istanbul, Beirut, Georgia, Greece and all over Armenia. In January 2012 they made the decision to make a go of breaking into the European market, and moved to Dublin for 6 months. Their incredible musicianship and intense energy on-stage made them stand out immediately, and it wasn’t long before they were booked for festivals like KnockanStockan, No Place Like Dome, Body&Soul and Electric Picnic. They became known for their relentless gigging, sometimes playing 3 shows/night. They appeared on local radios and State (magazine) called them "Ireland's hairiest and hardest working band," featuring them as part of their 2012 Electric Picnic coverage.
The Bambir's notoriety is growing now as they are attracting more international attention. The band is set to release a new album in April 2015.
Founded by Jag Barseghyan in the 1970s in Gyumri, Armenia, Bambir was lauded as one of the best rock groups in the Soviet Union, performing original material, traditional Armenian songs, and modern arrangements of Komitas and medieval Armenian music. Today, Jag Barseghyan records solo albums, ensemble albums, and performs with original members of The Bambir and other international musicians. In 1982 Bambir won the Folk Music Award at the International Festival in Lida, Belarus. They celebrated their 20th anniversary in Moscow in 1998 and in Gyumri at their first Biennial. On their 30th anniversary, they released Armenian Scotch, an album dedicated to the 140th anniversary of Hovhannes Tumanyan and the 250th anniversary of Robert Burns.
Jag’s son, Narek, Arman Kocharyan, Arik Grigoryan, and Vardan Paremuzyan have formed a separate but connected four-piece rock band, The Bambir. While they started playing together in Armenia, they've earned a reputation in Russia, France, the United States, Turkey, and beyond. They have been based in Ireland as of January 2012. They write and perform their own music written by Narek and Arik, and are known for their vibrant stage presence in their live shows and unique sound.
Narek (vocals, guitar) and Arman (bass, backing vocals), friends since birth, grew up in Gyumri in the creative environment built by their fathers and community. They picked up the guitar and bass at a very young age. They met Arik (flute, percussions, vocals) when they were nine years old, and their trio began jamming and performing on their own. In 1999-2000 they travelled to Los Angeles and New York, and even recorded an album (never released) in California but had to return to Armenia, and school. Ashot Korganyan joined them on drums in 2001. As the boys grew up in Gyumri they became better musicians and started playing more and more. The four-piece returned to Los Angeles in 2007, and Ashot left the band upon their return. That same year, the now trio travelled to Shoushi in Nagorno Kharabagh for a music festival and Narek, Arman, and Arik met Vardan- he had come from Vanadzor in the Lori region to play with a friend’s band, and the boys from Gyumri knew he was just the drummer they were looking for.
The band’s notoriety grew as they finished university and continued to gig, and they started to attract international attention. They played in Moscow, Paris, Istanbul, Beirut, Georgia, and all over Armenia, placing third in 2010's Eurovoice Competition. They made the decision to make a go of breaking into the European market, and moved to Dublin in January 2012. Their incredible musicianship and intense energy on-stage made them stand out immediately, and it wasn’t long before they were booked for festivals like KnockanStockan, No Place Like Dome, Body&Soul, and Electric Picnic, as well as special events like launches and Tower Records' 19th birthday. They became known for their relentless gigging, sometimes playing 3 shows/night- their final performances in Dublin, 2012 were on Arthur's Day when they played 3 times in The Mercantile, The Stag's Head, and The Sweeney Mongrel. State (magazine) called them "Ireland's hairiest and hardest working band," featuring them as part of their 2012 Electric Picnic coverage. They appeared on Near FM, Radio Nova 100FM (Ireland),Dublin City FM, and WDAR. While much of their live sets in Ireland are in English, they continue to perform and write songs in the Armenian language as well.
The Bambir’s search pushes the boundaries of musical norms, combining progressive rock with traditional Armenian folk, and steeping the result in the spiritual, the poetic, and the love of a good time.
- Jerath Head, Le Cool
Hailing from Armenia but soon to become official honorary Irishmen, The Bambir have been making a) a wonderfully wild folk-prog racket, and b) tonnes of new friends, since they crash landed on our shores at the start of the year…Genuinely unforgettable live.
- HeinekenMusic.ie Staff Pick of the Week