The Vosbikian Band - Vol 1
The Vosbikian Band was originally formed in 1939. The first group consisted of band leader, Samuel Vosbikian on clarinet, Mike Vosbikian on saxophone, Charles Mardigian on banjo, Peter Endrigian on doombeg, and Joseph Vosbikian on drums. They played at all sorts of family gatherings and church functions around the Philadelphia area. Their first out-of-town appearance came in 1940 at Armenia Hall in Union City, New Jersey for an AYF Mid-Atlantic Jamboree. They went there representing the Philadelphia Chapter, and won. The original band played until the end of 1941 but because of the outbreak of World War II, they had to put everything on hold.
After the war in 1946, after all the boys had returned home from the war, a new group was formed. This new Vosbikian Band took up where the old group left off and the public was ready and waiting. It consisted of band leader, Samuel Vosbikian - oud, Mike Vosbikian - saxophone, James Vosbikian - clarinet and vocals, Albert Santerian - doombeg, and Joseph Vosbikian - doombeg. From this time forward, the band kept gaining popularity. They had brought Armenian music to a level where all could understand and enjoy it. They had revitalized the old culture and new bands were springing up everywhere.
In 1948, Jirair Hovnanian joined the band as a vocalist and contributed many beautiful songs.
In 1949, Steve Ajdaharian came on board as a pianist and vocalist and brought with him newer and fresher interpretations to many of the older numbers. (Note: Steve passed away prematurely in 1972 at the age of forty. His "Yares Inzmeh" vocal and "Enzeley" piano solo on the Vosbikian 78s ranks high among the timeless Armenian classics.)
In 1950, Steve Terkanian joined the band playing a tambourine. The classic big band sound was still in the process of growth.
Between 1949 and 1951, the Vosbikian Band recorded eleven 78 rpm recordings. The first American Armenian band to do so. As to their popularity, all functions or social events at which they performed were overwhelmingly successful. They single-handedly revitalized the American Armenian social scene. No matter what the occasion, when the band started playing, the whole place came alive. It was magic. Man, woman, old, young, it made no difference. When the Vosbikian Band played, all anxieties disappeared; all differences were forgotten. It was a phenomenon; it was a renaissance.
In 1955, they recorded their first LP and again they were the first Armenian American band to do so. Mr. Vahakan Hovnanian added his vocal charm to this album. The band kept playing through the fifties and into the sixties.
In 1963, the Vosbikian Juniors were born. Its members consisted of Sam Vosbikian, Jr (Sam’s son) - oud, Steve Vosbikian (Sam’s son) - clarinet, John Vosbikian (Joe’s son) - saxophone, Gregory Vosbikian (Sam’s son) - doombeg, and Michael Vosbikian (Mike’s son) - saxophone. The occasion was at a hantes at the old 16th and Oxford Sts. Saint Gregory’s Church Hall in Philadelphia. The Vosbikian Band was announced, the lights were dimmed, the music started, the curtains were drawn, and what the unsuspecting public in attendance saw instead of the regular seniors, was a group of young men ranging in age from twelve to sixteen. They brought the house down.
Tracks:Yes Bejoor - Jim Vosbikian, VocalZarin Verah - Joe Vosbikian, VocalDolarjee - Mike Vosbikian, VocalYar Muneyee - Steve Hovnanian, VocalTamzara - InstrumentalAsoome Yar - Steve Hovnanian, VocalSari Siroun - Jimmy Vosbikian, VocalYares Inzmeh - Steve Hovnanian, VocalCatskill'in Jampan & - Soode Soode - Steve Hovnanian & Joe Vosbikian, Vocals