On Friday night I went to see the rock band Bambir perform at the Stop Club on the corner of Saryan and Tumanyan Streets. They comprise four young men in their early 20s, one of whom exclusively plays the flute on stage. This band, however, could also be referred to as Bambir junior (or Bambir 2 as they were briefly called) since they are the sons of the members of the original Bambir that came to existence in the 1970s. Since both bands are active and are still recording, they decided to unite finally under the same banner. Although the senior members were not present, they were definitely there in spirit, as they evidently taught their sons very well about what is rock and roll.
Bambir is a band originally from Gyumri, the second largest city of Armenia located in the northern Shirak region, but the members all live and study or work in Yerevan. Their music is influenced heavily by British rock music from the early 1970s. Most of the original songs performed during the two hours I was at the club were in Armenian, although they also write songs in English. What I heard was truly amazing. There were at least two, slightly rock-type interpretations of Gomidas folk songs wedged in between their own material or covers by the Doors or the Rolling Stones. Speaking of which, Bambir’s cover of “I Can’t Get No Sastisfaction” was really great. The flute playing was quite good—although I know the band is influenced by Jethro Tull (Bambir’s guitarist Nareg told me that he found and met Ian Anderson in Moscow), some of the flute harmonies were to me very reminiscent of early, Peter Gabriel-era Genesis, with which Gabriel himself played flute.
In any case, these guys are a great rock band with much potential, and if given the chance they will go far. Nareg told me that they were actually sponsored by System of a Down in 1998 to go to the US where they actually recorded an album. Most of those same songs were rerecorded last year and their new CD can be found in music stores throughout Yerevan. I understand that Bambir will be playing regularly at the Stop Club (which is a great venue, by the way) so if anyone happens to be in Yerevan and enjoys rock music, I suggest that you go down there and check the schedule to see when they will next play. You will not be disappointed.