A  Music, Dance, and Spiritual Journey in Georgia & Armenia
September 25 October 7, 2018


Yuval Ron and Members of His Ensemble



Photographs with Commentary by Debra Jan Bibel


Yuval Ron, I am glad to say, is a friend. He is a composer of modern music for film, television, dance, documentaries, and healing; an oud musician and director of an ensemble that focuses on music of the Middle East; and foremost a peacemaker who applies music to bring people of different, often antagonistic religions together in common effort. I was a member of the touring group who accompanied him and fellow musicians. I participated because of a lifelong passion with music, be it classical of all periods, jazz, psychedelic rock, blues, and especially world (both traditional and popular).  My broad amateur ethnomusicological studies have spanned Central and East Asian, African, Native American, and east Mediterranean and Levant cultures and focused on music as a spiritual vehicle within the main traditional religions, chiefly Hinduism, Buddhism, and Sufism of Islam.  Georgia and Armenia are the most ancient and continuing centers of early Christianity, going back to to 1 B.C.E. and for Armenia, the first state Christian nation since 301 B.C.E. Even when conquered by the Ottoman Empire, the people were steadfast in their religion. As the map below indicates, these two Orthodox Christian lands are surrounded by Muslim countries, including those of the Russian federation. Of a family of Jewish Kohens and, until recently, a long line of rabbis, I am a scholar, scientist, and also mystic, indeed, a practicing Korean Zen Buddhist. Already well familiar with the various musical styles of these two countries from recordings and concerts, I traveled once again with Yuval Ron to gain some experience in the less familiar Eastern Orthodox Christian styles of spirituality, examine its architecture and art, hear the traditional music in the lands of their origins, and discover the unique dances of these two peoples.


Organization and Viewing / Copying/ Saving/ Sending/ Printing

Clicking each tour day will lead to a web page containing thumbnail images and commentary of that day. Clicking on the small photographs will cause an enlargement of the image to appear. I have sized them to 1,500 px wide or high.  In order to copy, 'save as', email, or print these images for your own use, right-click your mouse and choose from the pop-up menu. 

Wednesday, September 26   [Tblisi-1]

Thursday, September 27        [Tblisi-2]

Friday, September 28            [Tblisi-3]

Saturday, September 29       [Tblisi-4]

Sunday, September 30         [Yerevan-1]

Monday, October 1                 [Yerevan-2]

Tuesday, October 2              [Yerevan-3]

Wednesday, October 3          [Yerevan-4]

Thursday, October 4            [Yerevan-5]

Friday, October 5                 [Yerevan-6]

Saturday, October 6             [Yerevan-7]



Instruments of Georgia [pdf]

          State Museum of Georgian Folk Songs & Musical Instruments

Instruments of Armenia [pdf]

The Sidewalks of Yerevan


Tour Leader:

          Yuval Ron

The Musicians:

          Yuval Ron, oud & musical direction
                   Julien Aycaguer-Ron, apprentice
          Jamie Papish, daf, riqq, darbuka, percussion
Virginie Alumyan, kanun
          Najwa Tannus Colangelo, vocalist
          Norik Manukyan, duduk, shvi, and clarinet
          Yeghishe Manukyan
, duduk [special guest]


Fellow Travelers:

          Linda Ashworth
          Roy Baker
          Ilana Ben-Ari
          Thomas Bernard
          Susan Bloch
          Karen Bergen       
          Debra Jan Bibel
          Janice Briski
          Ellen Bush
          James Dillon
          Shelly Dillon
          Darashan Farber
          Tami Grayevsky
          Michal Herzberg
          Ryan Theodore Hurtgen
          Mary Jo Keshock
          Tamara Lang
          Malcom Lansky
          Frank Mckulka
          Pam Mckulka
          Alan Mattes
          Yaffa Maritz
          Souha Nasreddine
          Janice Parakilas
          Jenniffer Quintero
          Judy Rosenfeld
          Gale Shaffer
          Gregory Shank
          Durian Songbird
          Sage Spatz  
          Andrea Smith de Vasconcellos
          Jonathan Tande
          Jameela Verona
          Cheryl Weber     
          Alison Wilson
          David Wong       
          Aviva Zawberman
          Katyanna Anita Zoroghlian
          Rita Zoroghlian


Tour Director, Facilitator, and Agency:

          Anahit Manukyan, Director

          Stephan Gevorgyan, Tour Facilitator
                  [General Secretary at National Dance Art Union of Armenia
                            Director of BERT Dance Ensemble]

          Apricot Tours, Glendale, California