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The Bambir

The Bambir is a relatively obscure Armenian folk-rock band from the hardscrabble city of Gyumri, Armenia. Undeniably talented, Bambir has had little commercial exposure in their native homeland, let alone the general international world music stage. Robbed of time by the aftereffects of the devastating 1988 Armenian Earthquake, a raging war for Armenian self-determination in Karabagh, and the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, Bambir has had two distinct periods of existence. Their pre-earthquake career brought them modest fame as one of the best folk-rock bands in the former Soviet Union. While touring many former Soviet republics, Bambir's rollicking updated renditions of traditional Armenian folk songs, compositions by Komitas, and medieval sacred music made them modern ambassadors of Armenian music. By the mid 1980's, they were close to becoming musical legends in their country. As the 1990's were coming to a close, Bambir was languishing in Gyumri, Armenia playing for small crowds with an occasional trip to Yerevan for a few concerts. Hardcore fans of Bambir who had left Armenia during the 1990's for cities such as Los Angeles, CA brought the band to the United States for a few concerts which were sparsely attended. In 1999, "Quake" was released on their own label (Bambir) and was put into very limited distribution. Available at a few Armenian record stores in Los Angeles and at some of their rare live performances in Armenia, "Quake" suffered the same obscurity as that of the band. The album went on to be nominated for the "Best Armenian Folk" category at the newly formed Armenian Music Awards in 1999 and then shortly after faded away. In 2003, Pomegranate Music re-released “Quake” to critical acclaim. Today, members of Bambir still live in Gyumri, Armenia.

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