BIG EARS

Areni Agababian

Areni Agababian

Born of an Armenian folklorist in Los Angeles, Areni Agbabian studied classical piano from a young age before earning her first laurels as a singer with a cool, pure, exacting contralto, primarily in groups with the Armenian jazz pianist Tigran Hamasyan. Then, in 2014, she began to reveal her mysterious, softly unfurling compositions in her self-released debut, Kissy(bag). Ben Ratliff at The New York Times called it “intensely focused, moving toward some kind of hidden truth,” and compared it to a previously unimagined mixture of Annette Peacock and Judith Berkson. “You can imagine her next album on ECM,” Ratliff said.

Sure enough, that offhand prediction came true in 2019, when ECM released Agbabian’s breakout album, Bloom. It was produced by none other than ECM founder Manfred Eicher, who doesn’t waste his time on anything less than the sublime.

With pensive, searching piano, elegantly splintered lyrics, and sparse percussion, Agbabian weaves the hymns, stories, folk songs, and microtonal scales of her Armenian heritage into a spell on just this side of silence. All About Jazz celebrated the record’s “hazy and ethereal beauty” and the heft of its “desolate and wind-blown compositions,” while The Guardian praised it as a “creepy and beguiling” showcase for a voice that “floats a few inches above the earth on a higher, more rarefied plane, unsullied by the elements.”

BIG EARS
Knoxville, TN · USA

TICKETS DONATE

2022 Festival

Explore the lineup of upcoming Big Ears performances.

Overview

Artifacts Trio

Lineup

Tickets

Archive

Plan

Discover travel, lodging, & dining options to enhance your Festival experience.

Knoxville

Travel

Tennessee Theatre

Things To Do

Knoxville

Hotel Accommodations

Venues

FAQ

Support

Big Ears is made possible by the passion & generosity of our community.

Donate

Donate to Big Ears

Partners

Merchandise

Big Ears Merchandise

Volunteer

About

Learn more about what The New York Times calls “one of the world’s greatest music bashes.”

Who We Are

Big Ears patrons at the KMA

News

Press

Contact