Black Rock

Djivan Gasparyan & Michael Brook, 1998

With this collaboration, Armenian music icon Djivan Gasparyan and subtle Canadian guitarist/producer Michael Brook fashioned a unique musical hybrid.

The duduk is prominently featured, as one might expect, but a surprise is in store for those not yet appraised of Gasparyan's vocal capabilities; his singing is vibrant and assured, its timbral colours neatly dovetailing with the warm, slightly nasal tone of the duduk.

Both instruments are displayed to best advantage against the varied arrangements drafted and performed by Brook, with help from the English engineer and multi-instrumentalist Richard Evans.

In the year of its release, the album won Best Album at the Armenian Music Awards (USA).


  • Djivan Gasparyan And Michael Brook : Black Rock Real World : CDRW73 - Djivan Gasparyan is Armenia's greatest musician, his emotion-laden playing of the ancient duduk (an oboe-like instrument)is legendary and on "Black Rock", Michael Brook has added his beautiful shimmering guitar lines to this unique musical hybrid, making it one of the Real World label's most successful artist collaborations. Piccadilly Records (UK)
  • The Gasparyan’s singing which he hasn’t done on any of the solo albums I’ve heard. Folk Roots (1998) (UK)
  • ...a near perfect meld of the ethnic and the technological... Q Magazine (1998) (UK)
  • World Album of the Month...spacious, desolate and evocative. Mojo (1998) (UK)
  • ...earthy textures...spiritual music taken to another dimension. Brook surrounds the soul-wrenching melodies Gasparyan coaxes from his double-reed wind instrument with earthy textures...spiritual music taken to another dimension. Billboard (1998) (USA)
  • ...profound chemistry is at work...stately and haunting, it’s a perfect blend of the antique and the futurist. The Observer (1998) (UK)
  • World music release of the intriguing hybrid of tranquil moods and dark passions. The Times (1998) (UK)
  • The beginning, one hopes, of a beautiful friendship.’s that instrument’s [the duduk’s] mesmeric coo which forms the emotional core of ‘Black Rock’. As for Michael Brook...his job [is] locating a groove, teasing it out and surrounding it with a pre-natal sense of warmth. Sometimes his presence is barely discernible, but on the elegiac dub of ‘Immigrant’s Song’ and ‘Together Forever’, there’s a wide-eyed synergy at work which belies the 110 combined years of its practitioners. The beginning, one hopes, of a beautiful friendship. Time Out (1998) (UK)
  • ..Gasparyan and Brook are both passionate sentimentalists who find a lot of common ground in their desire to sculpt sensuous textures in their music...the effect is contagious, and there are many spine-tingling moments. Sentimentalist it may be, but it works like magic. September 1998 The Wire (UK)
  • Gasparyan’s expert hands, it [the duduk] possesses a deceptively malleable tone, eliding smoothly between notes to lend a heady, seductive sway to the eight pieces which comprise ‘Black Rock’. Brook, for his part, unerringly locates the inner rhythms of pieces like ‘To The River’ and ‘Take My Heart’ with hand percussion and repetitive guitar figures - no mean feat...The results are quite magical. 14 August 1998 The Independant (UK)