Broadening my musical horizons, I discovered an Internet radio station broadcasting tunes performed by virtuosos of the Armenian duduk, a sort of sombre sounding clarinet.
One of these tunes seemed vaguely familiar to me, so I glanced at its title: Tari Katvi - wondering what this phonetic phrase could mean, I looked it up: "The Year of the Cat."
Ah, that's why I felt I'd heard the tune before. It was an instrumental version of Al Stewart's hit song from 1976, albeit a mournfully slow instrumental version from which most listeners might conclude that the titular cat had actually died that year.
The next song was called Ts’ankanum yek’ k’num indz het yereko . I looked it up. The translation meant nothing to me in English, but translated into French it became Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir, another popular song from the nineteen-seventies.
"Would you sleep with me tonight?" Not if we're going to be serenaded by a bloody miserable duduk until the wee hours, that's for sure. I'd rather sit at home in bed by myself with a mechanical glockenspiel.
As it turned out, all the so-called Armenian music on this Internet radio station was their version of American pop songs rendered on the duduk and other traditional woodwinds and stringed horrors: Black Magic Woman, Do That To Me One More Time, Bridge Over Troubled Water and all the rest of your most embarrassing aunt's favorite cacophonies.
So much for broadening my musical horizons. I think they were considerably narrowed. So this afternoon I'm returning to an ancient playlist of Monteverdi's lute music. The puffy sleeves of the west triumph over the puffy trousers of the east once again.