Mani Bolouri

Armenian gheychak

The gheychak is round-bodied musical instrument with four metal strings and a short fretless neck.  It has a range of about three octaves with a beautiful low sound and is one of the main instruments in Armenian and Persian folk music.

Mani Bolouri learned to play the gheychak as a young boy from his grandfather in Iran, where his Armenian great-grandfather had immigrated to during the Armenian Genocide in 1915.  Of being an gheychak musician, Mani says, “The feeling of being the heir of a music that has been passed down heart to heart for many years and through many difficulties is something that has always kept me alive and has given me a strong power to be a bridge between the past and present… My art is my language to speak with, to talk to my people and people all over the world.

Mani participated in ACTA’s Apprenticeship Program in 2010 with apprentice Partow Bayat.  Their apprenticeship focused on Armenian and some Persian musical repertoire; understanding the gheychak’s traditional rhythms, modes and rules of improvisation, and composition; and to enhance Partow’s ability to play melodies directly by ear as well as play professionally in musical ensembles.