If I mentioned the name Kristine Engoyan most of you would not know who she is. She is a remarkable Armenian young girl that has mesmerized many of us that enjoy and perform Armenian music. She plays the kanun, the ancient harped instrument with over seventy strings.
I first heard Kristin via YouTube videos posted by the Naregatsi Art Institute, a 501c3 non-profit organization located in Yerevan, Armenia that helps preserve and present Armenian culture to the world. Of course there isnt much written about her and her background as she is only ten years old, but clearly she has learned the instrument through Armenian schools and her perfection is demonstrated each and every time she performs in front of an audience.
For the last few years Kristine has taken the world by storm. Her playing is outstanding, her speed and command of the kanun is near perfection. However, its the smile and passion on this young girls face that captivates you. Listening to her play is easy, she make its easy and warm by welcoming you into her heart as she performs on this instrument.
This past June at the Smithsonian Folk Festival, American attendees got their first glimpse of Kristine’s playing in person. She was performing with the Nur Qanun Ensemble. What a joy it is to watch a number of these videos from the festival. “They are very talented and well rehearsed even down to the coy glances to each other” said my friend and fellow musician Mark Gavoor who had the chance to watch Kristine and the ensemble at the festival. “Everyone loved them to pieces. They are a most special, talented, engaging, entertaining trio” continued Gavoor.
Whether it is classical, chamber, of Armenian music it seems that Kristine can play it all.
She recently appeared on The Little Big Shots, an Australian television show. Here is her performance. I cant tell you how many people sent me this video or asked if I saw it. A testament to her popularity
Ok, one more video to show you. I am a big fan of this clip as it shows her ability at both performing a taksim (solo) at the beginning of the song along with different key and time signatures.