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News > UAE Armenians > Two Armenians in Dubai Jazz Festival 2008

Dubai Jazz Festival logo 
Dubai International Jazz Festival 2008 is already under way. It  started on 21 February 2008 and will last for 10 days. See program here (PDF format). A crowd of fame world-class artists will thrill music fans over the course of ten extraordinary consecutive nights!
First seven nights, between 21st and 27th of February 2008, featured internationally acclaimed new talents. As for the last 3 nights, February 28th, 29th and March 1st, 2008 performances will take place as usual at the Dubai Media City Amphitheatre, featuring internationally renowned artists such as Jesse Cook, David Gray, and The Bee Gees’ own Robin Gibb!
Nina Boutchakjian
Nina BoutchakjianNina is passionate about the acoustic oud, although in recent years she has bonded equally with her electric oud. She came to music relatively late in life, only to discover that the music had always been there somewhere hidden, waiting to be heard.
Although she is Lebanese, at 11 years old she moved to Sweden with her mother, escaping the war like so many others. She doesn't come from a musical family and did not play an instrument at all growing up.
At the age of 24, Nina visited Egypt to see the Pyramids. She also saw the Arabic Music Institute in Cairo, which is housed in the most beautiful building. Inspired by the architecture and feeling of the place, she enquired as to the possibility of studying there. She ended up enrolling almost immediately and did not go back to Sweden for 3 years, returning with an oud on her back and a diploma in her hand!
From this moment on, music has been her life and has led her from Egypt, to Spain, Greece and eventually Dubai. Music has never been a major decision in her life, but something that has always just 'happened'.
While she loves listening to jazz and Fairouz, Nina's favourite style of playing are the simple, traditional songs, like Sayed Darwish. Beautiful music and gorgeous words.
At present she can be heard playing regularly on Friday nights at Dubai Festival City and also teaches at an Arabic music school.
Not content to stick to the norm, Nina brings a funky edge to both traditional and popular Arabic music with her electric Oud. Her gentle, soothing voice greatly compliments her out-of-the-box style and its this unique combination of classic and eclectic that has an uncanny ability to mesmerise audiences.
Eileen Khatchadourian
Eileen KhatchadourianBorn in 1978 in Beirut from an Armenian-Lebanese family. Grew up among the sounds of a piano, as her grandmother, father and aunt were all players, licensed from the conservatory of Rome. Which clearly justifies her love of music and classical operas as well as traditional Armenian music and songs.
In 1984 she was learning to play the piano and to sing along, and in 1986, she started performing in schools and plays. Her curiosity and interest in other cultures’ music led her to learn African singing in the Ivory Coast where she spent months.
Eileen Khatchadourian is the first Armenian-Lebanese rock singer who performed in Armenian. She started her professional public career by performing LIVE in 1996 in duet, with the Canadian singer Mario Pelchat, at the age of 18, she won the “Celine Dion” singing part out of more then 200 candidates. A year after, in 1997, she recorded her first single “Lamma”, oriental jazz, an EMC production.
In 1997, Eileen met with Guy Manoukian, the famous pianist, who asked her to join him as his solist singer. One of her biggest performances with Guy Manoukian in 1999 was at the UNESCO Palace, Lebanon, a Christmas concert attended by 5000 people. They also performed many times at the Assembly Hall, American University of Beirut, and appeared in many other events, in Beirut, and many other Arab countries.
She was invited to sing in Armenian at the Martyr’s square during the reforms and sad events that took place in Lebanon, in April 2005, where she performed among many Lebanese well-known artists, and also at the Dubai Jazz Festival 2006. For almost 7 years she performed with Guy, on stage and recorded many titles in his first CD’s.
In 2000-2001 she performed in a Swiss-Lebanese production play, ”Sindbad de pere en fils” a play by Paul Matar, directed by Patrick Mohr, she sang in Arabic, and they toured in Lebanon, Geneva and Paris. The play was a success and her voice touched even the ones who are not familiar with the Arabic language.
Between 2000 and 2005 she specialized in Armenian traditional singing, and attended the Roy Hart theater program, in Paris, which shows how to explore your real voice. She recorded her first album Abaka, in French, with a touch of Armenian influence, with ENZO production in Paris. The CD ‘s launching got interrupted because of the war in Lebanon. Abaka is under construction.
May 2005, Eileen performed in a live concert with Ziad Al Ahmadiye, the famous Lebanese ‘Oud’ player and singer, which led her to experience for the first time the Arabic traditional singing.
During Lebanon’s war in 2006, Eileen had to move to Dubai, where she got noticed, and in March 2007, she performed LIVE at the Charity Ball for Lebanon’s children of war the French part of the song, and it was a huge success. The CD was recorded and available for the audience.
It ‘s been years that Eileen is considering an Armenian album project, since she left Paris actually, 2 years ago, and she came out with the idea, on recording an Armenian rock CD with a gothic touch, old Armenian traditional songs. And in August-September 2007 she started the recording sessions with her musicians. The album is called “Midan”, it will be launched in April-May 2008.
Her flexible, expressive and intense voice goes from mezzo-soprano to alto allowing her to sing different styles, from Jazz to Blues to traditional Armenian, to Oriental, to French and of course Rock!
Her voice is known to move people’s feelings as she sings and this one of the major reasons why Eileen became known, requested and loved by her audience.
She confessed in one of her interviews in Al Nahar “when I am on stage, I feel home ….”

For further information contact:
Chillout Productions FZ-LLC
Founders & Organizers of the Annual Dubai International Jazz Festival
Dubai Media City, Loft Building # 3, Office # G07
P.O. Box: 502185, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Tel: +971 4 3911196
Fax: +971 4 3918930

How was the Dubai Jazz Festival launched?
In a region that is made up of an ever-changing, multi-cultural population, cultural events are varied, few and far between. Music is the common link between all cultures and this is evident from the growing number of concerts held in the Middle East, and the UAE in particular.
The management and team at Chillout productions, passionate about Jazz and music, felt that there was a gap in the market for Jazz and similar genre of music in the region. Based on extensive research conducted over two years, they developed the theme, “Much more than Jazz” for the first ever Dubai International Jazz Festival which has now grown to an annual icon featuring world-class artists and performers covering all genres of Jazz music as diverse as blues, funk, swing, acid, rock, contemporary, modern, and fusion.
The first Jazz Festival held in Dubai with the support of the main sponsors “Philips as title sponsor and Cadillac as presenting sponsor, Hilton Jumeirah as official hotel and catering, and Yamaha as the official Instrument provider” in 2003 drew a record crowd of 8000 Jazz fans to Dubai Media City. For a first time event, the festival proved a resounding success and received the support of some of the big international Jazz musicians and many sponsors.
Website of Dubai International Jazz Festival: http://www.dubaijazzfest.com/

Announcement by the Council of the Armenian Community in the Northern Emirates
We have the pleasure to announce the participation of two Armenian musicians at this year's Dubai Jazz Festival.
Nina Boutchakjian, a Lebanese/Swedish Armenian will play solo and performances over two nights on 29 February and 1 March 2008 between 8:05 – 8:25 pm at Dubai Media City Amphitheater.
Eileen Khatchadourian, a Lebanese Armenian residing in the UAE will be performing live on 29 February 2008 at 4:30 pm at Dubai Media City Amphitheater Cadillac Stage.

Posted on Wednesday, February 27, 2008 (11009 reads), comments: 1
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Posted by Sera on Monday, September 13, 2010

When will the next Dubai Jazz Festival take place? :-)

Reply from Azad-Hye: The next edition of the Dubai Jazz Festival is announced to take place from 1-18 February 2011. You can follow the developments at this website: http://www.dubaijazzfest.com/ 

Hope we have Armenian participants this year too.

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