The emergence of Gor Mkhitarian reflects the very best of the burgeoning music scene now taking foot in the independent former Soviet Republic of Armenia. Widely known throughout Armenia as the lead guitarist for one of country’s best rock bands, Lav Eli, Mkhitarian launched his solo career in 2001 and has released seven albums since. Being nominated for a total of eleven industry music awards, he makes fresh and compelling music that successfully fuses traditional Armenian music with both rock and folk idioms. In his music, Mkhitarian makes a case for writing the next chapter in Armenia’s rich musical history by updating the sound and feel of the classic Armenian folk song. But what has made Mkhitarian a favorite in Armenia is his uncanny ability to combine unique songwriting ability with stunning modern arrangements of Armenian folk music. Gor Mkhitarian gets down to basics by giving the listener meaningful lyrics, colorful arrangements, and melodic hooks that create warm and inspiring songs. In 2003 he moved to Los Angeles where drummer Andranik Harutyunyan, basist Varujan Hovakimyan and pianist Art Grigorian joined the band. Stepping away from his previous acoustic-driven “signature”, with the new band he features remarkable musicianship and showcases a different approach to his songwriting. It’s Armenian music, as it has never been heard before. Gor Mkhitarian cites Simon & Garfunkel, Sting, and The Dave Matthews Band, to name a few, as strongly influencing his music.
Traces of Armenian folk troubadours Rouben Hakhverdian and Harout Bezjian as well as Bob Dylan can at times be heard in Mkhitarian’s solo material. But what has made Mkhitarian a favorite in Armenia is his uncanny ability to combine unique songwriting ability with stunning modern arrangements of Armenian folk music.
Singer/songwriter Sako is blessed with an immense talent for music. His uniquely devoted approach has contributed to the transformation and evolution of Armenian pop music. Rather than imitating music from other cultures, Sako has proven that Armenian music is adaptable to new styles. He has exposed a new generation to his modern take on the genre, which is now loved and appreciated by so many. Although he has had numerous hit songs and received prominent awards, the artist’s achievements are mostly illustrated by his collection of albums over time. Like all true artists, Sako has evolved significantly over the years and will continue to do so with his penchant for perfectionism, originality and passion for his craft.
In a career spanning 30 years, Sako has already released 20 remarkable albums and has performed in front of thousands of people throughout the world. With his unique style and distinct sound he continues to enamor and amaze his fans while always being a step ahead of other musicians in his genre. Sako owns a fully equipped studio and has his own record label, ME Productions where his musical visions come to life.
Sako was born Sarkis Antranik Ghazarossian on September 14, 1969, in Beirut, Lebanon. At the early age of 7, he filled the church with his harmonious voice as a member of the choir. Due to the breakout of war in Lebanon, Sako was forced to leave the country at age 13 and move to The United States where he worked hard during the days to support his family and at nights attended school to learn English and pursue his education. While in school, Sako followed his musical interests and sang with the school band. His extensive abilities resulted in many lead and solo performances.
Early in 1989, Sako took the first step towards what would be a prominent future. He formed his first band, Shant, and began performing at various clubs, restaurants, and events in Los Angeles. In 1991, Sako met Vatche Mgrditchian, a well renowned Armenian and international singer. Vatche realized the extent of Sako’s abilities and offered to mentor the young artist. With Vatche’s guidance and encouragement, Sako began working on his first solo album, ‘Garodelem’. The album was released in July of 1993.
Later that same year, Sako was introduced to Andy G., whose forte was arranging music. Seeing the lack of originality in the Armenian market, they decided to work together to create music and songs with a new style. Their hard work and creativity led to the making of Sako’s second album, ‘Siroumem’ which was released in September of 1995 and contains one of Sako’s greatest hit songs, ‘Gaghatchem’. With styles never heard before, ‘Siroumem’ was groundbreaking in it’s genre.
In 1998, Sako pioneered Armenian trance music with the release of his third solo album, ‘Why’. Now Sako was a complete artist in every sense of the word and was writing many of his own lyrics. ‘Why’ is a smooth collection of modern love ballads and compulsive dance beats. The album won ‘Best Dance Album’ at The First Annual Armenian Music Awards (AMAs).
He began working with his long time friend and former keyboard player, Robert Keyllian. The two collaborated on Sako’s fourth album, ‘Solitude’, which was released in 1999. Music from the album was produced by Sako with arrangements by Robert Keyllian. ‘Solitude’ is a collection of brilliant melancholy ballads combined with hypnotic dance sounds. The album received 3 nominations at The Second Annual AMAs, including: ‘Best Dance Album’, ‘Best Original Song’ and ‘People’s Choice’.
By October of 2000, Sako had gathered together a new body of work, ‘Gravity’. Sako formally released the CD to a crowd of over 800 eager fans at Tower Records on November 19, 2000, in Glendale, California. Following the release, the album was on listening stands for over 2 months in both Tower Records and Virgin Records. It was also one of Tower Records best selling albums for 2 consecutive weeks.
The outstanding success of the ‘Gravity’ album was marked by the hit song, ‘Ganidzem’ (lyrics written by Naz Kalandjian). Through music promoter Stepan Partamian, Sako was introduced to duduk player Roubik Haroutounian. Upon hearing ‘Ganidzem’, Haroutounian improvised a duduk riff to go with the song. Sako was captivated by the accomplished playing of Haroutounian and instantly requested the dudukist have the piece recorded.
There was an overwhelming response from dedicated fans everywhere through e-mails, phone calls and letters praising the album, and at the Third Annual AMAs, the album received 3 nominations including: ‘Best Dance Album’, ‘People’s Choice’, and ‘Best Album Cover’. The ‘Gravity’ album became Sako’s boldest album yet.
The following month, on October 21, 2001, Sako officially released his sixth album, ‘Silence’ to a crowd of nearly 1,500 fans at Tower Records in Glendale, California. The album featured the hit song, ‘Ashoun’, which remained number one everywhere for several months. Sako received 4 nominations at The Fourth Annual AMAs including: ‘Best Dance Album’, ‘Best Music Video’, ‘Best Concert Commercial’, and ‘People’s Choice’. With another inventive video, again created by director, Koji Zadori, Sako took home a second award at The Fourth AMAs for ‘Best Music Video’.
Sako’s endless creative drive led to the release of his seventh album in September, 2002, ‘Sako Club Mix’. He worked with a different group of professionals, this time in Armenia, and created an album containing remixes of some of his most popular songs. As an added bonus, Sako included a free CD of his live concert. The album was nominated for ‘Best Dance Album’ at The Fifth Annual AMAs.
In 2002 Sako’s path crossed with two very talented musicians. Singer/songwriter Elvina Makarian, and producer Roma Kanyan. Putting their talents and passion for music together, Sako released his eighth album ‘Echo’, introducing to his fans a new sophisticated style with a touch of jazz.
Once again Sako had two nominations at the Sixth Annual AMAs for ‘Best Music Dvd’ and for ‘Best Dance Album’. Sako took home The Best Dance Album Award.
In a single breath, without taking any break, Sako and Roma Kanyan continued their hard work and dedication to give birth to his Ninth Album ‘Flawless’ in August 2004. The title well describes the album. It is truly Flawless in every aspect, quality, professionalism and originality.
In 2004, Sako released his first Live double album titled ‘Live Dance Party’. The album was recorded live with Sako’s band and musical director Albert Bulbulyan. DJ’s all across the globe still use this live CD as a backdrop to parties and weddings. It was one of Sako’s best selling CD’s and inspired many other Armenian singers to follow in his path.
In 2006, Sako released his 12th studio album ‘Shall We Dance’, working closely with producer Roma Kanyan for the second time.
After the success of ‘Live Dance Party’, Sako released yet another live double album in 2007 titled ‘Live Dance Party 2007’. Recorded live with Sako’s band and musical director Albert Bulbulyan, and in 2008, another studio album, ‘My Way’ was released to Sako’s fans worldwide. This time working with both Roma Kanyan and Albert Bulbulyan. ‘My Way’ was an instant hit and Sako was in ever higher demand to perform at private events.
In 2011, Sako released the ultimate live dance mix, this time 4 CD’s of live non stop hits! ‘Mega Dance Party’ was recorded live with Sako’s band and musical director Albert Bulbulyan.
For the next 2 years, Sako was busy touring the states and around the world, performing for private events and concerts. During that time Sako released 2 singles along with 2 more music videos (Directed by Koji). Singles were titled ‘Layla’ (2014) with producer Roma Kanyan and ‘Nerir Indz’ (2015) with producer Andy G.
In 2016, after 30 years on stage, many awards, a plethora of performances and extensive music videos, Sako comes full circle with his 20th album release ‘Passion’. Working closely yet again with musical arranger and producer Roma Kanyan. ‘Passion’ was cultivated from his decades long musical journey. The album is a mixture of the pioneering style Sako is known for, along with tunes that make him popular on the dance floor.
‘Passion’ is now available for purchase on iTunes.
That was The History, The Future is to be continued…