Richard Hagopian

Photo by Alice Daniel of Valley Public Radio (KVPR). Re-used with permission.

Armenian-American Oud Player • Born 1937 • “Kef” Music

Fast Facts

  • Born in Fowler, California.
  • His parents fled from Armenia to the United States after the Armenian Genocide of 1915.
  • Began on violin when he was 9 and clarinet when he was 10
  • Switched to oud when he was 11.
  • Began lessons and study of traditional Armenian music at age 13 with teacher Kanuni Garbis Bakirgian.
  • Helped form Kef Time Band in 1963 to play “Kef,” or traditional Armenian dance music. 
  • A typical kef band includes the oud, doumbeg, kanun, clarinet, and electric bass.
  • In 1969 given the title “Oudi,” or oud master by Oudi Hrant.

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