Arto TunçboyacıyanMonday, February 4, 2019
Arto Tunçboyacıyan is a Grammy winning American musician of Armenian descent. An avant-garde folk artist (singer, multi-instrumentalist), he appeared on more than 200 records in Europe before arriving in the United States, where he went to work with numerous jazz legends including Chet Baker, Marc Johnson, Al Di Meola, and Joe Zawinul as well as a semi-regular stint with Paul Winter and the Earth Band. Arto fronts his own group called the Armenian Navy Band. He also worked with Turkish singer Sezen Aksu and the Greek singer Eleftheria Arvanitaki. His brother Onno Tunç was also a musician. He is also a member of the band Night Ark.
Arto started an association with Armenian American oud player Ara Dinkjian. In 1985, the quartet Night Ark was founded and led by Ara Dinkjian.Arto recorded the duo project with Ara Dinkjian "Tears of Dignity" (1994) and "Onno" (1996) homage to his brother Onno who died in a plane crash in 1996.
In 1988, his solo albums Virginland and Main Root were released. In 1997 Aile Muhabbeti was released in Turkey and used as a movie soundtrack. He composed the songs with Armenian and Turkish musicians. In 2000 he released Every Day is a New Life.
After 35 years of exploring music, Tunçboyacıyan realized that he was looking for open minded and enthusiastic musicians with a sense of his cultural tradition, something he had found in neither the Western jazz scene nor in his Anatolian homeland. He visited Armenia, the country of his ancestors. Two years later, in 1998, he returned to the capital, Yerevan, and met pianist and keyboardist Vahagn Hayrapetyan, son of an Armenian violinist. He asked Vahagn to introduce him to other musicians in town to start a band. Ten musicians got together for a rehearsal and became the Armenian Navy Band.
Some months later, in 1999, the band recorded their first album, Bzdik Zinvor, in Yerevan.The recording was followed by their first European tour in 2000, in Italy, Germany, Austria and Spain The band then performed concerts in France, Belgium and the Netherlands. During a 2001 stop in Istanbul, the Armenian Navy Band recorded their second album, New Apricot, in 2001.
Arto's next album was Türkçe Sözlü Hafif Anadolu Müziği (Light Anatolian music with Turkish words) with the Armenian Navy Band recorded in the winter of 2001.
Tunçboyacıyan's 2001 album Aile Muhabbeti was used as soundtrack in two films: Hemşo (2001) and Mon père est ingénieur (2004)
Serart is a collaboration with Serj Tankian of System of a Down. They found common ground in shared Armenian backgrounds and a passion for sonic explorations in creating music that is claimed to be "completely new."
In the fall of 2003, a new project was born in a Yerevan studio. It was the beginning of a large sound project called "Sound of Our Life – Part One: Natural Seeds". The project was put together by Arto and the Armenian Navy Band, who joined their talents one more time in the fall of 2006 for Part Two. They are hourlong compositions for the ANB and choir and string orchestras.
In 2004 Arto Tunçboyacıyan opened the ANB Avant-garde Folk Music Club in Yerevan. In 2006, the Armenian Navy Band was nominated for Best Band of Europe and the Audience Award at the 2006 BBC World Music Awards.
There is a hidden track on the album Toxicity by System of a Down where Arto contributed with the band to a traditional Armenian Church hymn, "Der Voghormya (Lord Have Mercy)". He played the instrumental part of "Science" on the same album, and his voice can be heard in the interlude of "Bubbles" from Steal This Album!
In 2007 he formed Yash-ar with fellow Turkish-Armenian rock artist Yaşar Kurt. Yash-ar is made up of first part of his and Yaşar Kurt's first names.
In February 2011, Arto Tunçboyacıyan, as a band-member of The Paul Winter Consort, won the Grammy for Best New Age Album for Miho: Journey to the Mountain.