The Cologne World Jazz Ensemble has dedicated itself to presenting World Music with a Jazz attitude and classic folk rhythms sprinkled with improvisational elements. Their debut album “Armenische Tänze” (“Armenian Dances”) fully embraces the sounds of Armenian music while disclosing entirely new aspects to both Western and Armenian music lovers. The former might discover music from a yet unknown but fascinating culture, the latter will be inspired by a trulyunconventional interpretation of traditional songs. Armenian music has seen its popularity rise over the last years, but due to its unique character it has not yet reached the peak of its success.

In contrast to the old masters’ traditional performances, the Cologne World Jazz Ensemble seeks a fresh and bold experimental approach to traditional themes. The young and passionate musicians succeed in breathing new life into this old music to reach and to inspire a new audience.

With Armenian violinist Lilit Tonoyan, the Cologne World Jazz Ensemble has a direct link to her home country’s music. Lilit grew up with the songs the Ensemble performs today and has delved into her ancestors’ world of music.Jazz pianist and composer Adrian Wachowiak is a German with Eastern European roots. Jonas Dunkel from the German city of Cologne plays the fretless bass, the double bass, and the acoustic bass. Versatile and creative drummer Timafey Birukov was born in Belarus. The Armenian Koryun Asatryan joined the Ensemble as a special guest who has earned a reputation as a talented up-and-coming saxophonist in the world of classical music. On the latest album, however, he plays the duduk, a traditional Armenian double reed instrument.

There were several reasons for releasing a CD with only Armenian folk music songs on it: an interest in and taste for an old and lesser-known culture, experimenting with traditional songs, and merging different styles of music. Yet, a deeper and more profound feeling might have been the true motivation behind the album: a feeling of deep longing. It is a longing for roots, a longing that we all have in our hearts and that grows stronger the further we are from home. As a consequence, it should be our moral mission to protect and praise the arts of our home country, within and beyond its borders. Individual identity does not separate people, but it creates diversity. With “Armenische Tänze”, the Cologne World Jazz Ensemble provides a successful  example of how to embrace this diversity.