All articles are written by Aszmara.

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is a part of your soul

that is visible to the audience.”

So many dancers from the 60's onwards have been lucky to dance with one of the great master musicians of our time, Souren Baronian.  His clarinet has welcomed many dancers into magical taxims that bring them into smiling connections.  Souren is a dancer's musician; watching the dancer intently, he follows the moves made and encourages them to places they didn't think possible.

As a brand new student to Oriental Dance in 1976, my first ‘Live Music’ experience happened while on vacation in Cape Cod.  In an old barn, Souren Baronian’s five piece group 'Taksim' was playing.  I recognized the clarinet, electric bass and the trap drum set but what is that lute looking instrument that sounds like a weird guitar?  Wait, that's not a recorder - what kind of flute is that?  And look at that little drum!  Oo! She's singing scat!  That was Shamira playing dumbek and singing and after a break in the set, took my breath away when she came back dancing in a vibrant green beaded costume. 

The music was dizzying, with all the rhythm changes, the scat singing and the wild improvisations. Souren's combining Middle Eastern music with Jazz was something I had never heard before.  Mind you, my musical knowledge up to that point was Eddie the Sheik, George Adbo, Gus Vali, and a few awful albums titled 'Navel Academy'  & 'Belly Belly' so this was my introduction to real music from Armenia, Turkey and Egypt.

This impression was deep and lasting, this mixing of traditional along with modern.  A few years later, Souren, Haig and I worked in New York City clubs together and the way we connected together, music and dance, led to tours in Europe with Cornelia Kraft as the group Transition. Souren and I continue to play together whenever we can and there is always such joy when we play together.  He is my musical mentor; tambourine lessons with him changed my zill playing along with my musicality in dancing and listening to him play each time is a lesson in how many places you can go deeply and truthfully.

It has always  been very special  that the coincidence of the first meeting brought us so far, so close, and so many places.  He is my brother spirit, my musical mentor, my dearest friend and one of the Best Clarinet Players you will ever experience.


“I dance because words are not enough.  Music vibrates through my being and it must escape, therefor, I dance. Philosophical and historical questions about where our dance form originates, the anthropological reasons for dance in society,  the regional differences;  I let the scholars answer those questions and intently listen to their views.  I work their studies into what I create and add their knowledge to my references.  All adds to the vibration of each dance.  To my dance.”  Aszmara

The Demi-Bloggess

My Souren Baronian Connection

April 6, 2016

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Souren Baronian and Aszmara in Performance

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