Do you know what an "oud" is?
If you answered an 11-string lute, then you know your pear-shaped string instruments.
And if you aren't familiar, you can get a great introduction to the oud at Friday's performance of the Chookasian Armenian Concert Ensemble at the Pilgrim Armenian Congregational Church. Here's a rundown on the concert:
The ensemble: Led by Fresno clarinetist John Chookasian, the group includes conservatory-trained musicians playing the kanun (72-string lap harp), d'hol (cylindrical hand drum), dumbeg (hourglass-shaped hand drum), deff (large-frame drum), duduk (Armenian flute) zurna (village flute) and violin along with vocals.
Guest artist: New York musician John Tarpinian will perform on the oud.
The repertoire: The ensemble plays traditional Armenian songs and dances of Eastern and historic Western Armenia.
The awards: The ensemble's many honors include a first-place award for Best Traditional Armenian Folk Music Album at the 2010 International Armenian Grammy Awards and a National Gold Medal awarded by the government of Armenia.
The dedication: The concert is dedicated to the late Rev. Bernard Guekguezian. Proceeds will go to the new Bernard Guekguezian Scholarship Fund.
The details: 7 p.m. Friday, Pilgrim Armenian Congregational Church, 3673 N. First St. Tickets are $25, $10 students. Information: (559) 229-2915, chookasian.com
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