Composers Union Dilijan Sketch Panopticon

Urvakan Festival: Deconstruct, Decentralize, Decolonize

Urvakan is back. It will take place on September 23–25 in Dilijan, Armenia. The festival is a music and art event that draws its inspiration from Armenia’s countless abandoned structures and locations. The inaugural Urvakan Festival in 2019 marked the birth of a new cultural hub on the world map. Through a range of open forums, art installations, exhibitions, and avant-garde music, it offers commentary on global issues.

The festival examines reimagining and bridging genres, including contemporary, electronic, and electroacoustic music as well as folk, noise, militant dub, and underground rap, to mention a few. New perspectives on regionalism and decolonization, synthesis, programming, and musical activism will be explored through the program’s live performances, laboratories, and conversations.

WHAT ⭐️ A specter is always a revenant

The festival was founded in turbulent times when there were pandemics, migration problems, impending climatic calamities, and colonial conflicts, all of which affected its viewpoints.

This year’s Urvakan festival aspires to offer a public forum that addresses issues of imperialism and post-colonialism in the South Caucasus, Southwest Asia, and Eastern Europe. The festival will widen its scope and examine Greece, Ethiopia, and Northern Africa as well. A lineup of artists whose practices are connected to social activism and decolonization will participate in a series of critical research laboratories, workshops, and roundtables.

Exchange (Lab) – a platform for open dialogue and studies that will host open discussions and laboratories developed by a group of local and international curators. Main focus: a sincere interest in sound, the surrounding environment, and creative and intellectual approaches to engaging with the unsteady world we inhabit

WHERE ⭐️ Yerevan is fine, let’s decentralize

Urvakan 2022, a festival honoring decentralization, will be held in Dilijan, one of the country’s most picturesque and historically significant regions. Urvakan will take place at the Armenian Composers’ Union, a modernist building complex not far from Dilijan’s center.

The hub of Soviet Armenia’s cultural life was the Composers’ Union Resort, named after Edward Mirzoyan, which opened its doors in 1963. The complex offered all the conditions required to support the process of creative work.

Artists, musicians, and writers from all over the world have visited and worked at the resort, including Aram Khachaturyan, Benjamin Britten, Krzysztof Meyer, Giya Kancheli, Philip Glonti, Mstislav Rostropovich, Galina Vishnevskaya, Rodion Shchedrin, Anna Zegers, and Hans Buchholz.

WHO ⭐️ Recitative, noise, electro-acoustics and more

The festival will feature a number of specifically commissioned works in addition to a varied roster and a wide range of genres.  Ensemble Assonance will perform Eduard Hayrapetyan’s “The Wind” as a world premiere.  Another regional premiere worth mentioning is “Retaining the Energy, but Losing the Image” a spatial installation by Vincent de Belleval and Nicolás Jaar that consists of 10 rotating parabolas, and reflectors that capture and emit sound and light.

One can experience a colorful spectrum of sonic acts and gigs from harsh Kenyan industrial grindcore and noise, electroacoustic live sessions from local artists, or soul-fueled vinyl DJ sets from ’60s Lebanon. You name it.

⚡️⚡️⚡️ Lineup (updating)

Eduard Hayrapetyan’s ‘The Wind’ performed by Ensemble Assonance — Urvakan commission, world premiere

‘Retaining The Energy, But Losing The Image’ by Vincent de Belleval & Nicolas Jaar

(developed with Pantxo Bertin & Adam Paikowsky) — Caucasus premiere

ABADIR — live

AMAN!!! — live

Ana Jikia — hybrid set


AWWWARA (Giorgi Koberidze & Luka Nakashidze) — live

AYA — live

Deena Abdelwahed


Duma — live

Gurjieff Ensemble — live

Ildaruni — live

Iny (shhau & Hayk Karoyi) — live

Jay Glass Dubs — live

JRPJEJ — live

KAMARAMA (Arto Tunçboyacıyan, Davit Sukiasyan & Vardan Harutyunyan) — live

Lara Sarkissian


Mveq — live

Nancy Mounir — live

Norayr Kartashyan & Menua — live

Nystagmus — live

Senyawa — live

Shaddah Tuum — live

Slikback — live

Symptom Error — live

Tiezerk — live

Wild Terrier Orchestra — live

Zoë Mc Pherson — live



Anushka Chkheidze – live

Beirut Groove Collective

(Ernesto Chahoud, Natalie Shooter & Jackson Allers) – live

Dave Geodakyan’s GigHunters – live

DJ Plead

Doubledav (T_st & Yhii)

El Khat – live

Faeywa – live

Habibi Funk


HIPNOIZ (Artyom Manukyan, Vahagn Hayrapetyan & Arman Mnatsakanyan) – live


Ildaruni – live

Katil – live

Mesrop – live

Misak Samokatian – AV


Mohammad Reza Mortazavi – live

Mulatu Astatke – live

Nthr1 aka DJ Smithee

Peter Kirn – live


Reso Kiknadze and

Rooftop Underground – live

Teenage Error – live

Valentina Goncharova – live

Vazgen – live

Check also 👇

Robert Lippok: Glacier Music