Can I Play the Duduk With You’

Consultant Rick Hibberd (on the right)
at The London Tourism Show

My IESC project in Armenia included branding their first tourism campaign with logo and slogan “Armenia: Timeless ‘Undiscovered” and creating exhibits for International Tourism Bourse 2000, Berlin’s mammoth trade show, later London’s World Travel Mart.

I also designed a tourist information center opposite Yerevan’s lively vernissage* for souvenirs, jewelry, carpets, books and junk.

My favorite memory of the project is about hiring a traditional band for the opening of “ARMENIA Information.” I listened to the band often in my favorite restaurant. At night, I would practice the duduk, Armenia’s plaintive, double-reed flute made of apricot wood.

Once, during the break between the afternoon opening party for press and trade professionals and the evening gala for dignitaries including the US Ambassador, I sat with the band in our makeshift sidewalk cafe.

“Could I play a little with you'” I asked timidly. There was cheery discussion among them, but I suspected the gist was, “This wise guy thinks he can play the duduk.”

“What would you like to play'” the lead duduk player asked.

“I’ll play what you play.”

Traditional Armenian Musicians

The statement-and-response musical conversation between that seasoned and excellent artist and this adoring neophyte, who knew just enough about a recorder (western Renaissance instrument) to follow along, left me with the memories that are fonder and more indelible, I’ll bet, than any impression my work may have made on any prospective tourism client at those trade shows.

– Rick Hibberd, IESC Consultant

*a private showing or preview of an art exhibition