Harold Hagopian

Traditional Crossroads is a ground-breaking Audiophile World Music Label dedicated to releasing music of various cultures utilizing state-of the-art recording technology and high-quality packaging. Traditional Crossroads provides the most sophisticated record engineering and thorough liner notes for every release, from the latest recordings of Cuban jazz to reissues of turn-of-the-century middle-eastern legends. Remastered using computer technology known as the CEDAR system, 1912 recordings of the chant-like music of the Armenian composer Komitas Vartapet sound surprisingly clear and haunting, as do the historical gramophone recordings collected on Istanbul 1925, taken from the original metal parts recorded during EMI’s early travels to Turkey. The collection was praised by Rolling Stone as “having a sound clarity that makes it seem as if they had arrived, magically, out of a time machine.”

"remastered with a sound clarity that makes it seem as if they had arrived, magically, out of a time machine."

-Rolling Stone

Founded in 1993 by Harold Hagopian, a classical record producer for RCA Victor with a passion for middle-eastern music, Traditional Crossroads has built a record catalog of the best world music artists performing today. A graduate of the Juilliard School in classical violin, son of the well-known ud virtuoso Richard Hagopian, Harold uses his expertise in instrumental technique and producing skills to create innovative recordings. Traditional Crossroads’ first recording, The Art of Taksim, featuring Turkish kanun (lap harp) virtuoso Göksel Kartal, won the award for Best String Recording by the National Association of Record Distributors. Gypsy Fire, a widely heralded belly dance album combining Turkish, Armenian and Gypsy musicians, including Richard Hagopian, Omar Faruk Tekbilek, Arto Tuncboyaci, Ara Dinkjian and Yuri Yunakov was nominated for a Grammy. Hagopian travelled to Istanbul to produce a new recording of the late Ottoman compositions of Tatyos Efendi, some of which were only recently discovered in Turkish archives. The two-CD set features The Kudsi Erguner with some of the most renowned musicians of Istanbul Radio. The recording was widely praised both here and in Turkey.

"Traditional Crossroads has a roster of hot, original and vintage sounds"

-Billboard

In producing the CD Women of Istanbul, Hagopian traveled to Istanbul searching through archives and interviewing surviving women cabaret singers from the 1920s. The album presents a collection of the greatest female singers in Turkey in this century, with 40 pages of rare photos and information on both the changing status of women in modern Turkey and the history of the gramophone recording industry in Istanbul. “I use the same state -of -the-art, digital technology to remaster early recordings of world music ,” says Hagopian, “as I do to restore recordings of Caruso, Rubinstein, Heifetz, Toscanini and other western classical artists.” Traditional Crossroads’ high standard recordings express the eclectic, insider interests of a musician born into a unique musical circle - a community which over the years has collected and treasured the best world music masters, largely inaccessible to western audiences.

"A high watermark for archival engineering"

-The Beat

Traditional Crossroads’ best-known recordings include Iranian kamancha master, Kayhan Kalhor’s debut recording Scattering Stars Like Dust, and Djivan Gasparyan, a legendary performer of the 1500-year-old flute known as the duduk, an Armenian instrument carved from the trunk of an apricot root. Gasparyan was introduced to the West when Peter Gabriel and Tim Robbins used the duduk in the soundtracks of The Last Temptation of Christ and Dead Man Walking respectively. Traditional Crossroads has issued two of Gasparyan’s definitive recordings, Ask Me No Questions and Apricots from Eden. Traditional Crossroads has also spread beyond the Middle East, with recordings of the Bulgarian saxophonist Yuri Yunakov and legendary clarinetists Ivo Papasov in their newest recording, Together Again, The Klezmatics’ Alicia Svigals (Fidl’), Persian tar virtuoso Hossein Alizadeh,  the kora player Morikeba Kouyate (a member of a well-known griot family from Senegal), Kalman Balogh’s, Hungarian Gypsy Cimbalom Band, Persian master vocalist, M.R. Shajarian’s ground breaking recording, Night Silence Desert, sitar protégée of Ravi Shankar, Kartik Seshadri, China’s pipa virtuoso, Wu Man as well as archival reissues from the 1920’s of the first Irish musicians in America. Field recordings include a collection of ensembles in Cuba performing the music known as Changüí and the legacy of traditional Afghani music recorded before the war in the mountains of Afghanistan by ethnomusicologist Mark Slobin. Completely unedited, the 2-CD set is entitled Afghanistn Untouched (CD 4319) and includes Slobin’s fascinating research in a 60-page booklet.

Georgia Straight, Canada

"Traditional Crossroads seems utterly devoted to getting everything right!"