Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds

Antchis Chati Chor (Tbilissi)
Tsinandali Chor (Telavi/Kachetien)
Three elderly singers (Gurien)
Georgian Journey
Secular and spiritual vocal music


Georgian journey CD 1
01 gamkhiaruldi bukharo (bekannt als/popularly known as/connu sous le nom de « Tshakrulo ») 5:28
02 mravaljamier („Was die Feindseligkeit zerstört hat, baut die Liebe wieder auf.“/“That which was destroyed by hostility, love rebuilds.”/« Ce que l'hostilité a détruit, l'amour le reconstruit. ») 5:26
03 shen bitsho anagurelo („Junge aus Anagurien“/“Youth from Anaguria”/«Garcon d'Anagourie ») 4:16
04 shemodzakhili (Liebeslied/love song/chanson d'amour) 4:26
05 urmuli 2:07
06 makruli (Hochzeitslied, wird gesungen, wenn die Braut vom Bräutigam und seinem Gefolge abgeholt wird/ wedding song, sung while the groom and his entourage are fetching the bride/chant de mariage, chanté lorsque le fiancé et son cortège viennent chercher la fiancée) 2:55
07 zamtari (Winterlied/winter song/chanson d'hiver) 3:18
08 alilo (Weihnachtslied/Christmas song/chant de Noël, trad.) 3:28
09 ovorela (altes Lied über die Feldarbeit/ancient field worksong/chanson ancienne sur les travaux des champs) 4:26

10 tshona (Osterlied/Easter song/chant pascal) 3:41

11 masi vardi (Liebeslied/love song/chanson d'amour)2:0912 eukunat kakutebi(Lied über die Faulheit/song about laziness/chanson sur la paresse) 3:00

13 lile (Gottesanbetungslied mit überlieferten heidnischen Bräuchen/Christian song of worship with surviving pagan rituals/chant chrétien d'adoration de Dieu, transmis avec des rites païens) 3:07

14 shavi shashvi 3:20
15 adila, adila (Lied über einen Verräter/song about a traitor/chanson sur un traître) 2:13
16 krialesso (volkstümlich verändertes Kyrie eleison/adaptedvernacular Kyrie eleison/Kyrie eleison changé sur le mode populaire) 3:24
17 naduri (Lied der Bauern, wird zur Arbeit im Maisfeld gesungen/ peasant song, sung while working in the corn fields/ chanson de paysans, chantée lors du travail dans les champs de maïs) 9:12

18 dila (Lied über den erwachenden Morgen/song to greet the waking day/chanson sur le matin naissant)2:28
19 bagia tshveni kvekana (patriotisches Lied/patriotic song/chant patriotique) 1:49
20 maspindzelsa mkhiarulsa („Dem fröhlichen Gastgeber“/“The happy host”/« À l'hôte joyeux ») 1:12
21 me rustveli (aus „Der Recke im Tigerfell“/from “The Hero in Tiger Skins”/extrait de « Le preux dans une peau de tigre », Epos von/epic poem by/épopée de Shota Rusthaweli) 3:11

22 atsharuli popuri (adjarischer Potpourri, zu dem Gandagana getanzt werden kann/Adjarian potpourri; can be danced to the Gandagana/potpourri adjarien, sur lequel Gandagana peut être dansé) 3:42

Georgian journey CD 2

01 me rustveli (s. CD 1/21) 2:50
02 ai odelia (Liebeslied/love song/chanson d'amour) 1:59
03 brevalo („Was die Feindseligkeit zerstört hat, baut die Liebe wieder auf.“/“That which was destroyed by hostility, love rebuilds.”/« Ce que l'hostilité a détruit, l'amour le reconstruit. ») 1:43
04 supris khelkhvavi (Lied auf den Gastgeber, am Ende eines Festmahls zu singen/song for the host, sung at the end of a feast/ chanson pour l'hôte, chantée à la fin d'un banquet) 3:03
05 tshven mshvidoba („Friede sei mit uns!“– Lied auf die Gäste und den Gastgeber/“ Peace be with us.”; song for the guests and their hosts / « La paix soit avec nous. » – chanson pour les invités et les hôtes) 2:53
06 lataria (Liebeslied/love song/chanson d'amour) 3:56
07 bagia tshveni kvekana (s. CD 1/19)
08 Glocken des Motsameta-Klosters/Bells of the Motsameta monastery/Cloches du cloître Motsameta 1:34
09 – 22 Geistliche Gesänge im Schemo kmedi Kloster / Sacred songs from theSchemokmedi monastery / Chants sacrésdu cloître Schemokmedi9 adidebs suli tshemi upalsa („Meine Seele erhebet den Herrn.”/“My soul dothmagnify the Lord.”/« Mon âme s'élève vers le Seigneur. ») 3:58
10 agdgomisa dge ars Gelati-Kloster: Irmos zur 1. Ode des Festkanonszu Ostern/irmos from the 1st ode of the Easter feast canon/irmos sur la 1ère ode du Canon pascal 1:59
11 satsinastsarmetkvelo Liturgischer Gesang aus der Bibel/liturgical songs from the Bible/chant liturgique de la Bible: Genesis, 1. Buch Mose1,1–13/Buch Hiob 38,1– 23 und 42, 1– 55:59
12 az ganuteve aus dem Abendgottesdienst/from the eveningmass/extrait des vêpres, Kartli/Kachetien 2:40
13 dideba tshvens shekrebas („Ein Lob auf unsere Versammlung!“/”A toast to our assembly!”/ « Une louange soit sur notre assemblée. »)aus Gurien 2:19
14 eklesiasa shina (Psalm 68, 27: „Lobet Gott in den Versammlungen.“/ “Praise God in the assemblies.“/« Louez Dieu dans les assemblées. ») 3:09
15 gvtismshobelo aus dem Abendgottesdienst/from the eveningmass/extrait des vêpres, Ostgeorgien 2:11
16 krmata gvtismsakhurta Gelati-Kloster: Irmos zur 7. Ode des Kanons/from the 7th canon ode/sur la 7ème ode du Canon 2:50
17 mobrdzanebita tkvenita („Durch euer Erscheinen sind unsere Herzen voller Freude.“/“Through thine advent are our hearts full of joy.“/ « Votre apparition emplit notre cœur d'allégresse. ») aus Gurien 3:09
18 shen khar venakhi („Du bist die Weinrebe.“/“You are the grapevine.“/ « Tu es la vigne. ») Gelati-Kloster: Hymnus der Mutter Gottes/hymn to the Mother of God/hymne à la Mère de Dieu 2:43
19 sikvarulma mogikvana Schemokmedi-Kloster: Irmos zur Auferweckungdes Lazarus/irmos for the awakening of the Lazarus/ irmos sur la résurrection de Lazare 3:21
20 sulo tshemo Gelati-Kloster: Große Fastenzeit vor Ostern, Kontakion aus dem Großen Buß-Kanon des Andreas von Kreta/ for the time of fasting before Easter, a kontakion from the great canon of penance by Andreas of Crete/ grande période de jeûne avant Pâques, kontakion du grand Canon d’André de Crète 1:43
21 tkveta ganmantavisuplebeli Schemokmedi-Kloster: Troparion des heiligen Georg/ troparion for Saint George/troparion de Saint Georges 1:37
22 upalo romelman Glocken des Motsameta-Klosters/bells of theMotsameta monastery/cloches du cloître Motsameta Schemokmedi-Kloster: aus den Stundengebeten Troparion der Dritten Stunde/from the hourly prayers, a troparion for the third hour/extrait des heures, troparion de la tierce 2:38
23 Abschied von Georgien /Farewell to Georgia / Adieu à la Géorgie 15:33



 The traditional music of Georgia is the only music in the world to be under UNESCO protection. The music of Georgia is at its origins polyphonic. That none of the neighbouring countries have produced anything similar, eliminates the possibility that Georgians were directly influenced by other musical cultures. The Antchis Chati Choir has set itself the goal of reconstructing the Georgian repertoire in its original form. Its members maintain contacts with Georgian music experts all over the country. They often travel to villages, to record the song variations that are still sung today. In summer 2003 Raumklang (Sebastian Pank) travelled to Georgia and met there beside the Antchis Chati Choir the Tsinandali Choir and three older singers from Guria. This recording was produced with an emergency generator in an old monastery, an abandoned cinema, and a former cultural centre. With this CD one can travel through Georgia in a musical way. From the powerful songs of Kachetia, Kartli and Megrelia - songs of love, about the host, wedding songs, an ancient field work song and others - to the sacred music from the Schemokmedi monastery.

Sebastian Pank lives near Leipzig. He made a journey trugh Georgia and published on his label "Raumklang" a fabolous Double-CD (146:28) about georgian music that he researched and recorded in different territories of Georgia about a few of years. "Georgian journey. Secular and spiritual vocal music" ist a great work!

Yes, this is the way records should be made ;-)



Walk me out in the morning dew, my honey.

Lela Tataraidze
Janghi - Morning Fog


 01. Ikneba Jobda (Perhaps It Was Better)
02. Vertskhlis Tasadamts Maktsia (If I Could Be as a Silver Chalice)
03. Samshoblo (Homeland)
04. Shenma Survilma Damlia (My Desire for You Has Drained My Empty)
05. Makhkvidia (Has He Died?)
06. Tushetian Melodies
07. Davagvianeh (I Was Late)
08. Verkvlis Tsikhe (the Fortress of Verkvli)
09. Ra Lamazia Tusheti (How Beautiful Is Tusheti)
10. Meh Regvenma (the Fool and I)
11. Lomo, Sheh Lomis Mokulo (Lion- Killer, O Lion)
12. Vazhao (O Young Gentleman)
13. Janghi (Morning Fog)
14. Nana
15. Gagnis Gori
16. Caucasian Melodies
17. Dililmeh
18. Datireba
19. Shen Ro Gogonivart
20. Tskhrajer Chavshale (Nine Times Wiped Away)
21. Shatilis Asulo (Oh Daughter of Shatili) - Lela Tataraidze, Traditional

Lela Tataraidze sings and plays accordion and panduri.



 Music inspired by the nature of Lela's native land.

Born in 1952, Lela grew up in a family from Tusheti, the mountainous region of Georgia. With her sad eyes but a happy face, she is an excellent accordion and panduri player, and also a brilliant vocalist, who sings the popular songs of the mountains with a lot of emotion. She was brought up in the musical atmosphere of her family and continued her studies at the school of music and later on at the philharmonic ensemble of Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia. She toured in Hungary, Romania, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria and France. She made her first recordings with Melodiya Records in 1988. She founded the trio ensemble of Kesane ("myosotis, forget-me-not", a flower of Tusheti) and recorded her first CD in Holland in 1999, "Janghi" ("morning fog"). Her last CD is from June 2007, it is entitled "Songs of Survival: traditional music of Georgia". Lela Tataraidze is the great lady of Georgian traditional song, a popular art coming from time immemorial and from the majestic landscapes of the legendary Georgia. Enjoy! 

Lela grew up in a family of musicians from Tusheti, the mountainous region of Georgia. With her sad eyes but a happy face, she is an excellent accordion and panduri player, and also a brilliant vocalist, who sings the popular songs of the mountains with a lot of emotion and her own Songs also. Her sister, Eter Tataraidze is Folklorist also, she is working at the Folklore Center of Georgia.

She was brought up in the musical atmosphere of her family and continued her studies at the school of music and later on at the Philharmonic ensemble of Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia.

At the same time, Lela works at the Regional Cultural Center of her hometown and works as the soloist of the radio and television of Tbilisi.

She founded the trio ensemble of Kesane (which means the flower of Myosotis forget-me-not) and recorded her first CD for Pan Records in Holland in 1999. Lela is accompanied by two female singers and players of panduri and dayera, Marina Giorgadze and Lia Khountsaria.

To put it short, this ... is the quintessence of mountain music: pure, primal, without any additives. Everything else, more complicated, is based on this music. So, here are the roots.




Ensemble Riho
Polyphonies Vocales de Svanétie


01 - Murza I Bekzil
02 - Lile
03 - Lazhgvazh
04 - Didebata
05 - Vitsbil - Matsbil
06 - Riho
07 - Gergili
08 - Sozar - Tsioq
09 - Jguragish
10 - Lemchili
11 - Kviria
12 - Lashgari
13 - Dala Kojas Khelgwazhale
14 - Shairi Misha Khergianze
15 - Kojre Makhvshi
16 - Gaul - Gavkhe
17 - Mirangula
18 - Tamar Dedpal



Located in the remote mountains of northwestern Georgia, the province of Svaneti has retained more of its local language and ancient cultural traditions than anywhere else in the country. Compared with other musical forms in Georgia, Svan singing has been the least affected by hybridization and cross-cultural musical evolution, and is characterized by unusual scales and vocal timbre. The Svan language is the oldest and most-endangered of the four main languages in the Kartvelian language family, with only 30,000 native speakers. 15,000 speak the dialect of Upper Bal, from the Upper Svaneti region. This region is home to Ensemble Riho, directed by Islam Pilpani,  and includes many older musicians whose memories of local music, language, and stories may disappear with their passing.

Svaneti is located North-West of Georgia, on the highest slopes of the Caucasian range. It is said that the Svan people already existed when Jason, looking for the Golden Fleece, reached the shores of Colchis. Because of their isolation, the Svans, whose early history is revealed in the writings of Xenophon, cultivate an ancient vocal repertoire, sung yet with raw sonorities, but in a very elaborate polyphonic style. Pre-Christian ritual songs, historical/epic songs, praises and folk religious hymns are performed by the Riho Ensemble, composed of the best singers from Mestia surroundings.

 Svan songs retain some of the oldest and most startlingly non-Western tuning, and feature a very powerful performance style. While folk song texts from all parts of Georgia address themes of work, family, love, friendship, hardship, and warfare, among other topics, songs from Svaneti also preserve some of Svaneti’s pre-Christian religious traditions.

The villages of the Svaneti province are located in north-western Georgia, in the valleys that lie between the mountains of the Caucasus. The Svans represent about 1% of the Georgian population. Their language differs from the Georgian language, and their religion is a syncretism of Orthodox Christian faith and pre-Christian beliefs. The polyphony of the Svans appears as one of the major styles of the Georgian vocal art. It consists of two soloist voices and the bass of the choir.

In their funeral rituals, the Svans combine three vocal expressions which are rarely found nowadays in other parts of the world: women's individual laments punctuated by collective wails like in Ancient Greece, men's individual laments, and polyphonic chants by male choirs. While the individual laments are aimed at the deceased and the souls of departed people, the men's polyphonic chants use no words but a series of syllables which follow a set pattern. With chords partly dissonant to a Western European ear, and without any cries other than musically stylized ones, these collective chants of great intensity manage to convey the helplessness and inexpressible grief of Man faced with death.

The Riho Ensemble is a well-known regional choir of Upper Svaneti, directed by Islam Pilpani. This rehearsal, filmed in 1991, is especially interesting since it shows how the chords are composed of the three melodic lines, and how the songs are learned and rehearsed, at least by a semi-professional choir.



Le Choeur des journalistes

Les Voix De Georgie
The Voices of Geogia


01. Ghmerto Ghmerto (Chant Sacré)     1:33
02. Chemodzakhili     1:44
03. Meurme     1:12
04. Mraval Javmier     3:29
05. Tchum Maghnarchi     3:04
06. Mkhedruli     1:51
07. Odoia     3:37
08. Supruli     3:09
09. Nana     3:07
10. Naduri     2:10
11. Perkhuli     3:10
12. Gakhsovs Turpav     2:10
13. Tchitche Tura     4:23
14. Ali Pacha     2:12
15. Chen Guigalob (Chant Sacré)     3:18
16. Tskhenosnuri     4:01
17. Alilo     4:25
18. Romance     3:56


David Abessadze, David Goguiachvili, Demiko Antidze, Godui Dolidze, Guivi Tchitchinadze, Guram Tamasachvili, Robert Gogolachvili, Teimour Tchkuasseli, Zaur Bolkvadze, Zourab Loladze



 Enregistrement produit par "La Maison De La Georgie" (Paris)
 L'ensemble "Les Voix de Géorgie", l'un des plus célèbres de Géorgie, a été créé en 1986 sous le nom du "Choeur des journalistes", car la plupart de ses membres travaillent à la télévision de Géorgie. Les Géorgiens pratiquent, depuis de nombreux siècles, une polyphonie caractérisée par ses contrepoints savants et ses harmonies.

Traditional music is well preserved specially in the mountainous areas. Polyphonic singing of Georgia has been included in the World Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2001...



Lend me your ears and I'll sing you a song...

The Resounding Polyphony of the Caucasus


01. Mravaljamieri (Artana Village)    2:06
02. Shemodzakhili (Artana Village)    3:46
03. Kalospiruli (Artana Village)    2:43
04. Nana (Kakhetia) (Artana Village)    3:03
05. Alilo (Artana Village)    2:58
06. Shemodzakhili (Artana Village)    3:24
07. Shen Bicho Anagurelo (Artana Village)    3:21
08. Gaprindi Shavo Mertskhalo (Artana Village)    2:54

09. Mravaljamieri (Kakhetia) (Tbilisi Conservatory)    4:12
10. Hassanbegura (Tbilisi Conservatory)    3:11
11. May Peace Be With Us (Tbilisi Conservatory)    2:42
12. Shavi Shashvi (Tbilisi Conservatory)    2:10
13. Shavi Shashvi (Imeretia) (Tbilisi Conservatory)    3:17
14. Song Of Friendship (Tbilisi Conservatory)    2:08
15. Vakhtangura (Tbilisi Conservatory)    3:35

16. Batonebo (Chokhatauri)    3:31
17. Nanina (Chokhatauri)    1:53

18. Tsmindao Gmerto (Telavi)    2:50
19. Aliluya (Telavi)    3:19
20. Nana (Telavi)    4:24
21. Tsintskaro (Telavi)    3:31
22. Shen Khar Venakhi (Telavi)    2:46
23. Suliko (Telavi)    3:38
24. Mravaljamieri (Telavi)    1:51

Artana village and the Tbilisi Music Academy (recorded 26, 28 November 1987)

Field recordings of Georgian folk songs from Chokhatauri and Telavi (recorded 27 June and 2 July 1983)



 Polyphonic folk singing from various regions in Georgia. Collected in 1983 and 1987, the recordings feature different song genres and variants, locales, and performers ranging from young conservatory students to long-established village ensembles. The majority of the examples are traditional men's three-part singing, including drinking songs, Christian folk hymns, lullabies, and historical songs. The last seven tracks are especially memorable performances by a women's choir in an open-aired church setting. (!)
 Recorded by Minoru Morita.

"The rumbling drones of the bass singers and the high keening ululations of the leaders will take your breath away." - j.poet, The Beat

Folk songs:

"This recording is drawn from the 80-volume CD collection, Music of the earth: Fieldworkers' sound collections, originally released in 1992 in Japan under the supervision of Tomoaki Fujii by Victor Company of Japan (JVC) in collaboration with the National Museum of Ethnology (Japan) and Smithsonian/Folkways Records (USA)"--Notes, p. 16. 

Review by Adam Greenberg:

Part of a relatively well put together series, Music of the Earth, Multicultural Media put out one volume dealing with the Russian state of Georgia, with its resplendent polyphonies that fill every song. In all truth, much of the music sounds like a cross between Western Christian hymns and Muslim prayers. Georgians use three-part singing in almost every work (and occasionally four parts). By the listings of the songs on the well-done liner notes, there are roughly four types of song utilized in Georgia: drinking songs, working songs, lullabies, and Westernized Christian hymns. Roughly half of the songs on the album are drinking songs, though they still utilize the somber polyphony that all of the works have. There is definitely a state of melancholy in the music, mostly due to the tempo and the three-part singing combined. The performances are well executed in all cases, though they can get a bit dreary for any listener. While some may have an ear for this type of music, others will most likely become tired of it. Only those that know what they're getting into should dig up these recordings, for their own safety.

Table Songs:

The Georgian myth of national creation goes something like this: when God was creating the earth and distributing land among its peoples, the Georgians were too busy drinking and feasting to turn up on time. When they finally arrived there was nothing left. 'But Lord', they protested, 'we were only late because we were toasting You!' Touched by this sentiment, God gave them the land He had been keeping for himself...

Ever since, feasting has been central to Georgian society and still provides the principal occasion for making music. People gather for a lavish picnic at the slightest excuse, led by a tamada or 'toastmaster' in dedicating toasts to God, long life and the ancestors, among other things. Each toast is accompanied by an appropriate song, as well as snippets of wisdom from the tamada.

Telavi 9th April Street

Caucasus seen from Telavi

close your eyes and listen to the birds, the breeze, the women, 
you'll be taken to a very special place...

forget all that flic/flac hifi/wifi

thanks to my friends...



Eating, Drinking, Singing...

Rustavi Folk Choir
Georgian Folk Songs


01. Chakrulo (Drinking Song from Kakhetia) 5.16
02. Jvarsa Shensa (Hymn from Kartli-Kakhetia) 1.51
03. Naduri (Labour song from Imeretia) 4.34
04. Tsintskaro (Lyric song from eastern Georgia) 4.32
05. Chven Mshvidoba (Drinking song fom Guria) 2.21
06. Daigvianes (Lyric minor song from Kakhetia) 6.27
07. Mravalzhamieri (Drinking song from Racha) 3.05
08. Tskhenosnuri (Hiking song from Imeretia) 2.16
09. Chela (Ballad song from Megrelia) 3.02
10. Zari (Mourning Song from Guria) 2.57
11. Aghmosavalidan Mzisad (Church hymn from Guria) 1.49
12. Lile (Ritual song from Svanetia) 5.43
13. Odoia (Work Song from Megrelia) 4.12
14. Sabodisho (Healing song from Guria) 3.32
15. Makruli (Wedding song from Adzharia) 2.51
16. Mirangula (Grieving song from Svenetia) 3.32
17. Zari (Mourning song from the mountain region of Svaneti) 4.31
18. Khasanbegura (Marching song from Guria) 3.16

Leader: Ansor Erkomaishvili
Cover painting by Niko Pirosmani



 Rustavi Ensemble 
was created in 1968 by Anzor Erkomaishvili, a singer and folklorist from a distinguished Georgian musical lineage that goes back seven generations. Since its formation Rustavi has successfully toured about 70 countries of the world, always receiving the most glowing comments – even from the toughest of critics.

Songs and dances for work and war, spectacular costumes, the unique Georgian style of polyphonic singing and rich voices characterize the Rustavi Choir. Their intense sacred hymns with their overlapping, continuously moving harmonies are spellbinding. Rustavi is also performing a high-quality comprising national and diverse traditional dances. Excellent costumes, brilliant performance, and elaborate choreography.

Erkomaishvili's vision was to break through ethnic boundaries of regional styles while performing ethnographically authentic music from all of Georgia. The Rustavi's performance style synthesizes the powerful, rough-hewn sound characteristic of the traditional regional folk choirs with a newer, cleaner, more finely-honed aesthetic whose orientation is towards concert presentation - nowadays on an increasingly international scale.

While striving to preserve, and in some cases recreate, authentic voicing and vocal timbres, the Rustavi singers have simplified the complex scales used by the earlier choirs in order to create firmer, more brilliant harmonies. The use of a smaller number of singers for certain songs has also helped to clarify their musical structure.

This is an ensemble, where Hamlet Gonashvili, the brilliance of the world folk music and the voice of Georgia made his flamboyant career.
In 1998, the group recorded the CD Mirangula under the name 'Rustavi Folk Choir', which has allowed for a wider appreciation of their music outside Georgia. This CD included the folk love song Tsintskaro which has had some popularity globally.

Music of Georgia
 Georgia has rich and still vibrant traditional music, which is primarily known as arguably the earliest polyphonic tradition of the Christian world. Situated on the border of Europe and Asia, Georgia is also the home of a variety of urban singing styles with a mixture of native polyphony, Middle Eastern monophony and late European harmonic languages. Georgian performers are well represented in the world's leading opera troupes and concert stages...

Georgian folk music is predominantly vocal and is widely known for its rich traditions of vocal polyphony. It is widely accepted in contemporary musicology that polyphony in Georgian music predates the introduction of Christianity in Georgia (beginning of the 4th century AD). All regional styles of Georgian music have traditions of vocal a cappella polyphony, although in the most southern regions (Meskheti and Lazeti) only historical sources provide the information about the presence of vocal polyphony before the 20th century.

Vocal polyphony based on ostinato formulas and rhythmic drone are widely distributed in all Georgian regional styles. Apart from these common techniques, there are also other, more complex forms of polyphony: pedal drone polyphony in Eastern Georgia, particularly in Kartli and Kakheti table songs (two highly embellished melodic lines develop rhythmically free on the background of pedal drone), and contrapuntal polyphony in Achara, Imereti, Samegrelo, and particularly in Guria (three and four part polyphony with highly individualized melodic lines in each part and the use of several polyphonic techniques). Western Georgian contrapuntal polyphony features the local variety of the yodel, known as krimanchuli...

Singing is mostly a community activity in Georgia, and during big celebrations (for example, weddings) all the community is expected to participate in singing. Traditionally, top melodic parts are performed by individual singers, but the bass can have dozens or even hundreds of singers. There are also songs (usually more complex) that require a very small number of performers. Out of them the tradition of "trio" (three singers only) is very popular in western Georgia, particularly in Guria.

Georgian folk songs are often centered around banquet-like feasts called supra, where songs and toasts to God, peace, motherland, long life, love, friendship and other topics are proposed. Traditional feast songs include "Zamtari" ("Winter"), which is about the transient nature of life and is sung to commemorate ancestors, and a great number of "Mravalzhamier" songs. As many traditional activities greatly changed their nature (for example, working processes), the traditional feast became the harbor for many different genres of music. Work songs are widespread in all regions. The orovela, for example is a specific solo work song found in eastern Georgia only. The extremely complex three and four part working song naduri is characteristic of western Georgia. There are a great number of healing songs, funerary ritual songs, wedding songs, love songs, dance songs, lullabies, traveling songs. Many archaic songs are connected to round dances...

...and more in wiki

Niko Pirosmani 
 (Georgian: ნიკო ფიროსმანი), simply referred to as Nikala (ნიკალა) (1862–1918) was a Georgian painter...



Minestrone is a thick soup of Italian origin made with vegetables, often with the addition of pasta or rice. Common ingredients include beans, onions, celery, carrots, stock, and tomatoes.
There is no set recipe for minestrone, since it is usually made out of whatever vegetables are in season. It can be vegetarian, contain meat, or contain a meat-based broth (such as chicken stock). Angelo Pellegrini, however, argued that the base of minestrone is bean broth, and that borlotti beans (also called Roman beans) "are the beans to use for genuine minestrone"

Compagnia Sacco Di Ceriana
U menestrun de Seriana

01. O Barcaiolo [Boatman]
02. Quando Rosina Scende Giu Dai Monti [Little Rose]
03. Stanotte in Sogno [Tonight in a Dream]
04. Dunde l'È La Mia Morosa [Where Is My Beloved?]
05. Bela Marianina [Beautiful Little Mariana]
06. Maïre Fiürentina [Florentine Mother]
07. Marietta [Little Mary]
08. Lenga Serpentina [The Snake's Tongue Speaks About Love]
09. 'U Menestrun de Seriana a l'Ustaria Minestrone [The Big Soup]
10. Minestrone

Prima: Niccodemo Martini
Bassi di bordone: Livio Embrìaco, Roberto Barucchi, Rino Lanter
Seconda: Redentore, Rebaudo Alberto, Lupi Giovanni Martini, Claudio Martini, Giacomo Cappone, Massimo Martini, Giannino Ferrari, Camillo Rebaudo, Mirco Soldano


La grande Soupe

Voici un recueil de chants composé de chefs-d'œuvre d'art populaire, d'expressions profondes de l'âme.

"MINESTRONE. En Italie, soupe de légumes enrichie de pâtes ou de riz", (extrait du Larousse Gastronomique, édition mars 1986 p. 632). A Ceriana 'U MENESTRUN DE SERIANA est non seulement un terme de cuisine mais désigne aussi une improvisation musicale, un enchaînement d'airs, un divertissement chanté au gré de celui qui lance la chanson, un véritable pot-pourri qui s'entonne all'osteria, au bar. Les thèmes différents et le répertoire est à grande majorité celui de Ceriana, mais la Compagnia puise aussi dans d'autres recueils: chants du nord, du centre de l'Italie et de Gênes (trallallero), mélodies de fanfare, etc. La particularité du MINESTRONE réside cependant, comme c'est le cas dans cette interprétation, dans la présence d'airs célèbres de l'opéra italien qui témoignent de la grande popularité dont jouit le bel canto dans ce pays. L'improvisation est basée sur les structures du chant polyphonique tel qu'il est pratiqué à Ceriana: seconda, voix soliste qui lance le thème et prima, voix qui soutient, suivies d'une dizaine d'hommes formant le bordone, la basse continue.

En Ligurie occidentale appelée le Ponente, non loin des Alpes maritimes françaises, se trouve Ceriana, à quelques kilomètres de Poggio, fameuse côte sur la course cycliste Milan San Remo. Ce bourg jadis fortifié se dresse sur un rocher émergeant au fond du Val Armea dont les flancs escarpés, aménagés en terrasse, sont cultivés en vignes et oliviers. La tradition des polyphonies vocales transmises oralement reste immuable et le riche répertoire a été sauvegardé notamment par la Compagnia Sacco, un ensemble des plus importants. C'est aussi le plus ancien de la communauté, né au début du 20ème siècle de la rencontre, au café Stella d'Italia, d'un groupe d'amis qui trouvaient dans le chant une récompense après une journée de travail, l'occasion de se divertir et de faire, parfois, de puissantes bombes, baldorie. Le nom de la Compagnia Sacco provient de l'habitude des paysans d'emporter, lors des travaux des champs, un sac blanc contenant les provisions du repas.

 Compagnia Sacco Di Ceriana
In the medieval borough of Ceriana, singing has always been a popular spontaneous expression, deeply rooted in everyday life. The vocal heritage of Ceriana in very rich, both in the sacred and profane aspects, it reflects very old polyphonic structures. One can find in these songs the extraordinary tradition of the Mediterranean polyphonies. The group formed in 1926 and it is the true testimony of the way of singing of the tradition of Ceriana. The particularity of the vocal tradition in Ceriana consists in the presence of the bassi of bordone, which create a continuos basso structure. In general the singing is introduced by the second baritone voice, to which is added the first voice, the more acute one of the tenor. The bassi di bordone accompany the soloists. The combination of these different vocal tones creates the impression of a higher register of sound, an echo reminiscent of a delicate female voice, which is actually not present. The togetherness of this structure, thin and powerful at the same time, sustained by the beauty of the lyrics allows an ornamental melody and frees deeply powerful emotions. The group is, at present, made up by seven members: Rino Lanteri, Alberto Lupi, Niccodemo Martini, Camillo Rebaudo, Matteo Lupi and Mirko Soldano. The group’s name derives from the habit the land workers had of carrying on their shoulders a white sack, which contained their lunch: this shows that the workers used to sing during their labour, a habit still alive nowadays, and later they decided to start a group with a written statute. 

In Ceriana, a village in West Liguria on the southern slopes of the Italian Alps descending to the Mediterranean coast, people love to sing. Among not less than five choirs, The Compagnia Sacco, founded in 1926, is the most committed to preserve the traditional drone polyphony. Different from Corsican and Sardinian polyphonies (but similar to East Georgian table songs), the local three-part singing is characterized by two solo voices and the drone of the choir.


Genoese Songs

La Squadra
Chansons génoises



01 - Introduction - 01:34
02 - Quartu au maa - 03:06
03 - Notte a bocadasse - 03:44
04 - Maa de zena - 03:40
05 - Strasetti d'arba - 04:07
06 - Zena a perla du maa - 04:16
07 - Ave Maria - 03:46
08 - Fuxe de zena - 03:47
09 - Tre caravelle - 04:17
10 - Serenata a sturla - 02:38
11 - Serenata a trasta - 03:33
12 - Madonnin-a-di pesoei - 05:23
13 - All'alba - 02:52
14 - Il rumesciu - 02:32


Francesco Tanda (conductor), Aldo Giaccon (tenor), Sergio Bruzzone (baritone), Claudio Valente (contralto), Enrico Tardito (bass vocals), Rinaldo Barbleri (bass vocals), Eros Cassoti (bass vocals), Giovanni Nocetti (bass vocals), Giovanni Bruzzone (bass vocals), Elio Maggiolo (guitar)



Genoese Songs

The great seaport on the Ligurian coast, Genoa has a tavern song tradition called trallalero, a polyphonic vocal style, possibly related to the nearby Sardinian and Corsican varieties, involving a complicated counterpoint by five male voices. The sound of trallalero is one of the most ornate and haunting in the Mediterranean.

La Squadra (compagnia Del Trallalero)

The tradition of polyvocal singing was born at the turn of the century, when urbanization drew rural populations like a magnet to work in the factories of the major cities. From one generation to the next, the heritage was refined and encoded into a sort of classicism.

The Genoese docks were the birthplace of trallalero, a polyphonic vocal style with five voices, one of which imitates a guitar. It arose in the 1920s and includes modern groups like La Squadra -- Compagnia del Trallalero and Laura Parodi...

Trallalero is a kind of polyphonic folk music from the Ligurian region of Genoa, in northern Italy. It is traditionally performed by men, though there are some female performers in the modern era. The name derives from the monosyllabic vocables (non-lexical vocalizations), tra-la-la.

In the 1950s, American musicologist Alan Lomax and Diego Carpitella recorded trallalero. Lomax later claimed he was blown away, and called it the most significant work in his long and storied career. Edward Neill worked to revitalize the tradition in the middle of the 20th century.

Trallalero groups consist of tenor, baritone and bass parts, accompanied by a contralto and a singer whose voice imitates a guitar (chitarra). Nine singers are considered a normal line-up: one each of chitarra, tenor, contralto, baritone and five basses.

Group harmony in Liguria is historically associated with mountain villages, where two voices (usually a tenor and a baritone) sung over accompaniment by bass or drone. A repertoire of traditional songs evolved over time, and the style moved to the docks of Genoa, a noted port city. There, metal-workers, longshoremen and stevedores sang trallalero, with the practice peaking in the first three decades of the 20th century. Some trallalero groups are still existing in Genoa and Liguria.


Ah, Granny's come to help us out...

Polyphonies des Quatres Provinces
01. Avóta vgni curé ant la mè vigna (Veux-tu venir, mon cœur, dans ma vigne) - 1:09
02. E la vien dal ciel (Elle vient du Ciel) - 3:17
03. Mamma mia dammi il biondo (Maman, donne-moi le blond) - 3:02
04. Dove vai o ti Armando ? (Où vas-tu, ô toi Armando ? ) - 3:29
05. Tri bèi giuvin (Il y avait trois beaux jeunes garçons) - 2:53
06. Lei mi voleva bene (Elle me veut du bien) - 4:50
07. Sotto il ponte (Sous le pont) - 4:50
08. Çappellino rotondo (Le petit chapeau rond) - 2:30
09. Marcinella (Marceline) - 3:25
10. Stornèlli in risaia (Stornèlli dans la rizière) - 2:25
11. Cristoforo Colombo (Christophe Colomb) - 3:20
12. La strada di Mede (La route de Mede) - 3:23
13. Cinque minuti (Cinq minutes) - 1:50
14. La sposina (La petite épouse) - 3:36
15. E darmi d'un ricciolo (Donne-moi une boucle de tes cheveux) - 4:10
16. La bèlla si marita (La belle se marie) - 4:06
17. La figura (La figure) - 1:34
18. Angiolina - 1:17
19. Serenatella proibita (Sérénade interdite) - 3:08
I cantori di Marsaglia - Colleri U Canta - Paolo Marchelli - La Squadra Trallalero - Le Voci Dei Confine - Le Voci Di Fego - Le Voci Di Ferriere - Le Voci Di Lesima...


 The traditional polyphonic singing of Northern Italy is locally known as canto fermo (“song without rhythm”). This is an all-male tradition; female groups were also once common, but for some reason have now disappeared, and the singing generally takes place when friends gather in someone’s cellar or in a bar. As its name suggests, this is music that unfolds without rhythmic pulse, but with rich and powerful harmony. This recording was made in the field by amateur singers, and the sound quality is very good; the singing is rough-edged but expert...


The ... CD presents the canto fermo (songs without rhythm) genre found, among other places, in the quattro province of northern Italy - a mountainous area situated where the four northern Italian provinces of Genova, Piacenza, Alessandria and Pavia join.  The local culture is very interesting in that it has incorporated disparate elements of Piemontese, Ligurian, Emilia Romagnan and Lombard tradition into a cohesive whole.  To the uninitiated, this canto fermo sounds a lot like the famous Genovese trallalero tradition - but only superficially; it tends to be less complex and 'arranged', and usually excludes the chitarra (vocal guitar) part.

Group harmony singing can, of course, be found all over the world and these mountain villages are no exception - but the normal form was for a 'first' and 'second' voice (often a tenor and a baritone) to carry the song over a bass accompaniment or drone.  In a few areas, a vocal 'guitar' part was added to the accompaniment.  A broad repertoire of such songs developed over a long period.  Liguria is a poor area for most sorts of agriculture and many villages operated at near subsistence levels whenever the circumstances were less than perfect.  Having a city like Genova (Zena in the local dialect), rich from trade and commerce from the 11th century through to fairly recent times, acted as a magnet, as all powerful cities do, to the more adventurous dwellers in the hinterland, and such people flocked there in search of fame and fortune ... bringing their songs with them.  For reasons which it would be impossible to fully explain, the polyphonic singing style of the mountain villages found a particular place among the gangs of longshoremen, stevedores and participants in the various metal-working trades which supported the industry of the port.  The male contralto part may well have been borrowed from the castrati who formerly sang in the church choirs of the city.

So it may be said that the canto fermo is a rural forerunner of the urban trallalero, and it has continued to develop alongside it right up to the present day.  This present disc seems to be the brainchild of Stefano Valla, who I first encountered as part of a group called Voci del Lèsima, whose excellent 1996 CD, Splende la luna in ciel, I reviewed in fROOTS at the time.  As well as singing, he played a bit of piffero on that CD, and subsequently became known as one of the foremost exponents of that fine instrument ... but more of that later.

The CD features the singing of several goups: Le voci di Lesima; Le voci dei Confine; Le voci di Ferriere; Le voci di Fego; Colleri u canta; I cantori di Marsaglia; and the trallalero group La Squadra.  In addition there are a few songs from Stefano Valla and Daniele Scurati (accordion).  It starts, however, with a solo - which seems a bit odd for a record featuring polyphonic singing - from Paolo Marchelli (Chacho's cousin, and primo in Le voci di Lesima), but it's a good example of the true strambotti style, now becoming popular in the area.

OK - let's hear some of the singing.  I'll start with what I think may be the most typical example of the canto fermo style, E la vien dal ciel (She comes from Heaven), sung by Le voci di Lesima.  Next, here are Le voci di Ferriere with Sotto il ponte (Under the bridge).  I think this borrows a characteritic from the mondine of the Po Valley rice fields, in that the 'chorus' starts towards the end of the first or third line of the verses.  For a closer example of this style, Le voci di Fego sing Stornèlli in risaia (verses in the rice field).  As you can hear, this group includes some women singers - the mondine were always women (the only men empoyed in rice field were called trapiantini; they transplanted rice plants one at a time, by hand).  To make a change, let's hear a bit of Stefano Valla and Daniele Scurati playing and singing La bella si marita (The beautiful bride).  This is a composite of a song and two dance tunes (canto da piffero), which recall the old masters of the quattro province, Giacomo and Ernesto Sala, with hints of the old sestrina tune.  While Stefano sings with both Le voci di Lesima and La Squadra, it is (rather obviously) Daniele who is singing here.  To complete a sample of the sounds to be heard here, I'll finish with a bit of trallalero from La Squadra, Angiolina.  Although most of the group come from Genova, it has always been common for trallalero singers to visit the mountains for feste, singing and good company.

One of the delights of a labour of love like this CD is the little insights that those 'within' the tradition let 'out'.  When reviewing CDs of the Sardinian coro (sacred) tradition, I've often mentioned the quintina - the fifth harmonic which can emerge from the four perfectly attuned voices.  When this happens, the singers believe that it is the voice of the Virgin Mary joining in with them.  Unsurprisingly, we are told that this phenomenon also sometimes occurs in the canto fermo, where it is said to be the voice of the grandmother - "Ah, Granny's come to help us out" say the singers!  Isn't that just beautiful?

Rod Stradling - 26.9.12 




Per Agata
Polyphonies corses


01. Princantula (m. raffaelli) 3:54
02. Padre (trad.) 5:15
03. Da qui un cantu (m. raffaelli) 4:46
04. Paghjelle (trad.) 3:09
05. S'è tù passi (trad.) 3:03
06. E sette galere (trad.) 6:07
07. U ventu (m. raffaelli) 3:22
08. Paghjelle ( trad.) 2:59
09. Lamentu di mufrella (maistrale) 5:46
10. Paghjella per agata (trad.) 2:20
11. Diafunia (m. raffaelli) 3:19
12. Terzini guagnesi (trad.) 3:36
13. Miseremini mei 4:05


Aline Filippi, Dominique Bianconi, Gigi Casabianca, Jacky Micaelli, Patrizia Dau



 This record was recorded between the 20th and 24th August 1992 at Ritiru di Marcassu.

Diapason d'Or - Grand Prix du Disque, Académie Charles Cros.
Donnisulana's, of course, is all polyphonic singing; but done by a group of women -- which is considered to be very untraditional in Corsica. 

some people don't know much about tradition...
traditions of course die for many reasons... 
but they may be born again for reasons... 

 Donnisulana was probably the first well-known women's group singing Corsican polyphony publicly. They have now broken up, but are well remembered. They combined the image of the island with that of womanhood. They did not attempt simply to copy their brethren, but to interpret traditional songs in their own special way. There are new women's groups emerging now - many of them inspired by the pioneering work of Donnisulana.

Jacky Micaelli, the then leader of the group has continued to sing on her own and with others. 

Per Agata 1992 - this was recorded in memory of a lamented founder member of the group - Paghjella per Agata was written in her memory. There are other contemporary tracks as well as traditional sacred music. Most embody the sad hopefulness of Corsican singing.
Donnisulana 1992 - their first record.

 The female face of Corsican polyphony

Donnisulana, founded in 1989, soon proved that women, contrary to the allegations of Corsican men, could also master polyphonic song – hitherto entirely a male domain. These were pioneers who were no longer content only to sing lullabies and death chants as their great-grandmothers had done before them, but who sought to blend tradition with their own interpretations, giving Corsican polyphonic music a new face.