|Genres||rock, folk rock|
|Associated acts||Bambir, Angin Qarer|
The Bambir is an Armenian rock band from Gyumri. Spanning 4 decades and with more than 50 musicians passing through its ranks, the band has moved into its second generation- as in, sons of the original members are operating as a separate four-piece that is still part of the original ensemble.
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.
In the sixties Jag began traveling to the city of Gyumri, traditionally Armenia’s city of arts and one of the cultural centers of the Soviet Union. While there weren’t many people listening to rock music in Yerevan at the time, an underground scene seemed to be thriving in Gyumri. It was there that he began to find like-minded individuals and appreciators of the music he loved. He started jamming with Robert Kocharyan (not the former Armenian president) on bass, Suren Martirosyan on guitar, and Levon "Watts" Nouroyan on drums, calling themselves Angin Qarer ("precious stones", in the Armenian language), playing hard rock. They soon morphed into their folk "bard rock" style, arranging pieces by Komitas and moving on to their own original material, changing their name to Bambir. Performances and many albums followed and they toured Armenia, Russia, Europe and the United States. Members of the original band reunite for special concerts, and Jag continues to actively record and collaborate with local and international artists. He has been awarded by the Armenian Ministry of Culture for his achievements in Contemporary Armenian Music.
The 90s and Beyond
Narek and Arman (son of Robert Kocharyan, an original member of "Angin Qarer"), 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 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 band has recorded with international musicians like Dietmar Bonnen.
The band is set to release an EP in 2013, and have 3 tracks currently available on bandcamp ("Urbane/Urban", "Beezzy," "That's Fine With Us"). Their music videos and footage from their live shows in Ireland and Armenia can be found on YouTube.
- Narek "Bars" Barseghyan – guitar, vocals
- Arik Grigoryan – flute, percussions, vocals
- Arman Kocharyan – bass, backing vocals
- Vardan Paremuzyan– drums (2007–present), vocals
- Ashot Korganyan-drums (2001–2007)
- Gaguik "Jag" Barseghyan 1978–present
- Ani Arakyan 2009–present
- Grigor Mirzoyan 2012–present
- Sergo Tonoyan 1982-85/2012–present
- Gourgen Hakobjanyan 1978 -2009
- Gaguik Hakobjanyan 1978 - 1983
- Artash Harutyunyan 1978 - 1983
- Mkrtich Hovhannisyan 1979 -1984
- Vrezh Aramyan 1979-1982
- Grigor Virabyan 1982 - 2001
- Armen Karapetyan 1983 - 1988
- Vardan Varosyan 1985 -1988
- Armen Sargsyan 1980 - 1998
- Edvard Yuzbashyan 1980 - 1984
- Tatul Yeghiazaryan† 1993 - 1999
- Hrant Melqonyan 1987 - 1993
- Hakob Yesayan 1989 - 1993
- Vladimir Voskanyan 1997 - 1999
- Artour Hovhanisyan 1986 -1993
- Varouzh Vardanyan 1989-1990
- Ashot Hovhanisyan 1987 - 1993
- Seiran Vardanyan 1998 - 2002
- Levon Davtyan 2002 - 2004
- Mourad Kasabyan 1983 - 1993
Angin Qarer - Precious Stones
- Gagik "Jag" Barseghyan - Guitar 1969-1978
- Souren Martirosyan - Guitar 1969-1978
- Levon Nouroyan - Drums 1969-1978
- Robert Kocharyan - Bass 1969-1978
Discography and Releases
- 1999 – Quake
- 2003 – J&G
- 2005 – Bambir
- 2005 – Blind Alley
- 2007 – The Bambir'07
- 2008 - Alexandropol- recorded with Dietmar Bonnen (Live)
- 2010 – That's Fine with Us (Single)
- 2010 - Imitate
- 2011 – Armenian Scotch
- 2012 – Beezzy, Urbane/Urban (Single)
- 2013 - Do You Love Me (Single)
- 2014 - Index Sessions (EP)
- 2003 - «Alabalanitsa» 
- 2005 — «Dark City train» 
- 2006 — «Children's games» 
- 2007 — «Broken TV» 
- 2009 — «Imitate» 
- 2010 — «That’s fine with us» 
- 2012 — «Urbane/Urban» 
- 2013 — «Do You Love Me» 
- ARAJINLRATVAKAN. “Album Launch of Bambir’s Armenian Scotch” 1in.am. Retrieved on December 5, 2012.
- Kavanagh, Paul. “Some Words With The Bambir chewyourownfat.wordpress.com. Retrieved on December 5, 2012.
- Hot Press News Desk. "Knockanstockan: first acts revealed!" hotpress.com. Retrieved on December 5, 2012.
- Hot Press News Desk. "UPDATE: Body and Soul Festival" hotpress.com. Retrieved on December 5, 2012.
- Hot Press News Desk. "Happy Birthday Tower" hotpress.com. Retrieved on December 5, 2012.
- Hot Press News Desk. "Stag's Head Gears Up For Arthur's Day" hotpress.com. Retrieved on December 5, 2012.
- White, Hilary A. "Electric Picnic '12: The Bambir" State.ie. Retrieved on December 5, 2012.
- near tv productions “Near FM Sessions- The Bambir- July 26th 2012” neartv.ie. Retrieved on December 5, 2012.
- CIVILNET TV. “The Bambir have Returned” civilnet.am. Retrieved on December 5, 2012.