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...



Anonymous said...

Great stuff, Miguel - thanks! I like especially track #2, which is something like "თევზჭერის კომპლიმენტები" ;)


Miguel said...

Oh, I'd rather say: ერთად პატარა დახმარება, ჩემი მეგობრები!

Thank you! But the last tracks are for sure into this world like they say :-)