On Wednesday, April 2 2014 master oud player, luthier, and founding member of the Nubatones Haig Manoukian passed on from this world to the next after battling cancer for many years, just a couple of weeks shy of his 73rd birthday. It took many days to be able to get this post up because nothing I could ever say would adequately describe the beauty of this man’s spirit, and the amount of love and respect I have for him. I met Haig in 2004 on my very first paying gig in NYC, singing for a greek dance company no less. I was young, inexperienced, and practically paralyzed by bouts of stage freight whenever I went on stage. Haig took me under his wing, saw beyond all that to my core and the passion that boiled in it for music, and taught me the real meaning of being a musician (which for the record they don’t teach you in music school). He was a friend, a mentor, a bandmate, and the most influential musical presence in my life.
Haig was a deeply private man and never trusted the digital age. He never had a cellphone, an email or a computer of his own to his dying day. So he may very well be the most talented Oud player the cyber world never heard of. He played in the NYC middle-eastern music scene professionally since the late 1970s. After his passing his wife Michelle started a Facebook Fan Page for him in an attempt to gather any recordings anyone may have of him out there. So if you have any recordings or photos of Haig please share it on his page so we can accumulate a record of his long history in the middle-eastern music scene in the US (especially from the Fairouz Music Salon last November).
Please enjoy this recording of Haig from our last studio session together recording the Silt album for the Nubatones.