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  • Ensemble Georgika - Vol. I - Traditional Songs of Georgian Man

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P & C December 1998
- Face Music / Albi

- last update 03-2016

- FM 50011 - P & C 1993
more information songs - see: Ensemble Georgika

1. Odoia, work song, Samegrelo - 3:20
2. Chela, waggoners' song, Samegrelo - 4:40
3. K'alos khelkhvavi, work song, Guria - 2:45
4. K'alosp'iruli, work song, K'akheti - 3:25
5. Tushuri, pastoral melodies from Tusheti - 3:13
6. Aslanuri mravalzhamieri, table song, Rach'a - 1:37
7. Ts'ints'qaro..., lyrical song, K'akheti - 4:08
8. Me, Rustveli..., table song, Guria - 2:41
9. Dzveli k'uchkhi bedineri, wedding song, Samegrelo - 1:44
10. Si koul, Bat'a..., lyrical song, Samegrelo - 3:29
11. Garek'akhuri sach'idao, song for wrestling games, K'akheti - 3:02
12. Tsmindao ghmerto..., liturgical hymn - 2:28
13. Da vitartsa meupisa..., liturgical hymn - 1:40
14. Shen khar venakhi..., liturgical hymn - 2:47
15. Siqvarulma mogviqvana..., liturgical hymn - 1:23
16. Zhamta da ts'elta..., liturgical hymn - 1:57
17. Romelni Kerubinta..., liturgical hymn - 2:43
18. Imeruli sakorts'ilo mgzavruli, wedding song - 1:30
19. Imeruli tskhenosnuri mgzavruli, horsemen' song - 2:03
20. Garek'akhuri lashkruli, warriors' song, K'akheti - 1:29
21. Lazhghvashi, ritual song, Svaneti - 2:02
22. Dzveli kartuli satsekvao, old Georgian dance tune - 1:20
23. Tu ase t'urpa iqavi..., love song - 2:56
24. Saidan mochval shen, kalo..., love song - 3:28
25. T'ash pandura, dance tune - 1:36
26. Khasanbegura, historical song, Guria - 2:33
27. Sisonai Darchiai, historical song, Guria - 2:57
28. Daigvianes..., lyrical song - 5:50
29. Qansav Qipiane, ring dance song, Svaneti - 2:17

The Georgians, a South Caucasian people, have a highly developed tradition of part-singing, handed down by word of mouth. Their polyphony is not the result of an arrangement for concert presentation - it is intrinsic to this music. The individual sequences of notes have meaning only in the context of harmony. In that harmony, not in the melody - as is customary in our own music - lies the "soul" of this music. Most Georgian songs have three independently led voices; the two upper parts are normally performed solo, and often the singing is anti phonic, i.e. alternating between two groups. It is clearly distinguished from the music of the West, as well as from the music of its oriental neighbours, by the non tempered, modal system of tones, in which certain degrees are not clearly fixed, and by the often irregular, frequently modulating formal structure.

Georgian folk music is of an almost inexhaustible variety. Each region of the country between the Caucasian high mountains and the Black Sea, geographically so varied in form, has its own style. In western Georgia the bold sequences of chords are particularly striking. They form the basis of both the fine lyricism of the songs from Samegrelo (2,10) and the stern archaism of the songs from the high mountain valley of Svaneti (21,29). These are often combined with round dances. The far-reaching independence of the three voices in Guria (4,8,26) leads to fantastic harmony; here one will also meet, in the first voice, the k'rimantch'uli, a special form of yodelling (26). One can excellently observe in eastern Georgian songs the supporting function (bordun) of the bass voice, which determines the sequence of the song with its tone steps. The diversely decorated melodic pattern reaches its climax in the songs from K'akheti.

The fate and characteristic features of this country at the threshold of East and West, which has been hotly contested for centuries and has a history dating far back into pre-Christian times, are reflected in the texts of the Georgian songs. The Georgian language, which cannot be attributed to any of the major language groups, has produced a diversely flowering poetry since the early Middle Ages. In addition to the very advanced Christian civilisation and its polyphonic sacral music, the beginnings of which date back to the 10th century A.D., and which is unique within the orthodox world, there exists a rural culture with pagan elements. Performed works are thus transformed into ritual.

The presentation of Georgian folk music places high demands on the musicians. Although having been collected, recorded and also edited for a long time, it is not learned according to notes, but exclusively by ear. Each singer must master not only his own part, but also the other two voices ot the songs, as they often have solos and are free to improvise. In concert, songs are performed without a conductor, according to an old tradition.

The thirteen young musicians, who founded one of the first ensembles to exist without governmental tutelage or support in Tbilissi in 1989, have been familiar with this kind of music since childhood. In a short time, Ensemble GEORGIKA worked out a repertoire which includes working, table, and ritual songs, as well as chants from the Georgian orthodox liturgy. In 1990 they were joined by Alek'o Khizanishvili and his instrumental trio. He enriches the programmes of Ensemble GEORGIKA with virtuoso instrumental music played on his Salamuri (a kind of recorder), accompanied by three-stringed lutes (Panduri).

At work:

- 1. Odoia, Samegrelo
(Solos: Shalva Lortkipanidze, Davit Shanidze, Zaza Bibilashvili).
This practically text less song organises and facilitates the hacking and weeding of the corn fields. It is sung by two choruses, which continually step up the tempo.

- 2. Chela, Samegrelo
(Solo: David Shanidze, Chonguri, West Georgian four-stringed lute: Manuchar K'asradze)
Chela and Busk'a are the oxen, which pull a two-wheeled cart. The waggoner laments their destiny as slaves under the yoke and reproaches their laziness.

- 3. K'alos khelkhvavi, Guria
(Solo: Davit Shanidze)
This harvest song, sung on the threshing floor while husking corn cobs, calls on the support of St. Grigol.

- 4. K'alosp'iruli, K'akheti
(Solos: Zaza Sidamonidze, Davit Shanidze, Mamuk'a Ch'ich'inadze), song for winnowing

- 5. Tushuri, dance tune
(Alek'o Khizanishvili, Salamuri; Goderdzi Khvtisiashvili, Panduri; Davit Bukhsianidze, Bass Panduri)

At table:

- 6. Aslanuri mravalzhamieri, Rach'a, table song
Solo: Mamuk'a Ch'ich'inadze)
Mravalzhamieri, the only word in this song, means "long years". It comes from the blessing, with which the Priest closes Mass.

- 7. Ts'ints'qaro..., K'akheti
(Solo: Zaza Sidamonidze)
"I passed by Ts'ints'qaro, / Ts'ints'qaro, my son, / I passed by Ts'ints'qaro, // There I met a beautiful woman, / met a beautiful women, my son, / she carried a pitcher on her shoulder. // I spoke a word to her, / a word, my son, / she became angry and turned away."

- 8. Me, Rustveli..., Guria
(Soloists trio: Davit Shanidze, Archil and Malkhaz Ushveridze)
The text taken from vepkhistqaosani, "The Knight in the Panther's Skin", an epic by Shota Rustaveli (12th century), describes the love pains suffered by a knight for his lady's love.

- 9. Dzveli k'uchkhi bedineri, Samegrelo
(Solo: Shalva Lortkipanidze)
This wedding song is sung when the bride enters the house of the groom. K'uchkhi bedineri means "lucky foot"

- 10. Si koul, Bat'a..., Samegrelo
(Soloists trio: Davit Shanidze, Archil and Malkhaz Ushveridze)
"Where are you going, Bat'a, will you not free me?
I am imprisoned, shackled am I, will you not free me?
Where are you going, Bat'a, have you no pity for me?
Hell's fire has seized me, have you no pity for me?
Where are you going, Bat'a, have you no pity for me?"

- 11. Garek'akhuri sach'idao, K'akheti
(Solo: Mamuk'a Ch'ich'inadze)
The soloist provokes his opponent, with whom he will soon begin to wrestle, with compliments and insults.

Liturgical hymns:

- 12. Tsmindao ghmerto..., "Holy God...", kartl-k'akhetian style

- 13. Da vitartsa meupisa..., "That we raise up the King of All..." kartl-k'akhetian style

-- 14. Shen khar venakhi..., Hymn to the Holy Virgin, Text by King Demetre I (1125 - 1155), kartl-k'akhetian style
"You are the vine, newly blossomed, / tender, beautiful, planted in Eden, / Aloe-scented from Paradise. / God adorned you, no one deserves praise as you do, / you yourself are the sun, which shines here."

- 15. Siqvarulma mogviqvana..., gurian-imeretian style
"Love guided us, God, and for this we praise you."

- 16. Zhamta da ts'elta..., "Times and Years...", gurian-imeretian style

- 17. Romelni Kerubinta..., kartl-k'akhetian style
"We who mysteriously portray Cherubim and sing the life-giving Trinity a three-fold hymn."

On the road:

- 18. Imeruli sakorts'ilo mgzavruli, Imereti
(Solo: Mamuk'a Ch'ich'inadze)
Song of the bride's attendant on the way to the family of the bride.

- 19. Imeruli tskhenosnuri mgzavruli, horsemen's song, Imereti
(Soloists trio: Davit Shanidze, Levan Davitashvili, Sandro Mirianashvili)

- 20. Garek'akhuri lashkruli, warrior's song, K'akheti
Solo: Davit Shanidze)

- 21. Lazhghvashi, ritual song, Svaneti
(Soloists of the 1st group: Levan Davitashvili, Sandro Mirianashvili; of the 2nd group: Davit Shanidze, Mamuk'a Ch'ich'inadze)

Contemporary songs and instrumental tunes:

The Salamuri is a kind of recorder, originally played by shepherds, the Panduri a three-stringed lute well-known in all of East Georgia. Only recently have these two instruments been brought together to play arrangements of folk music in concerts (see also 5,25).

- 22. Dzveli kartuli satsek'vao, old Georgian dance tune
(Alek'o Khizanishvili, Salamuri; Goderdzi Khvtisiashvili, Panduri; Davit Bukhsianidze, Bass Panduri)
To original solo songs from East Georgian mountain regions, choir parts have recently been added.

- 23. Tu ase t'urpa iqavi..., "That you were so beautiful..."
(Solo: Zaza Sidamonidze)

- 24. Saidan mochval shen, kalo..., "Where do you come from, maiden?" (Mamuk'a Ch'ich'inadze)

- 25. T'ash pandura, dance tune
(Alek'o Khizanishvili, Salamuri; Goderdzi Khvtisiashvili, Panduri, Davit Bukhsianidze, Bass Panduri)

Historic songs:

- 26. Khasanbegura, Guria
(Children's choir Bich'ebi, directors: Tamaz Andghuladze and Anzor Erkomaishvili; soloists trio: Amiran Toidze, Archil and Malkhaz Ushveridze, recorded in summer 1991)
This song tells of the inglorious end of Hassan Begi Tavdgiridze, who sold himself to the Turkish conquerors.

- 27. Sisonai Darchiai, Guria
(Chonguri: Manuchar K'asradze)
This ballad tells how folks' hero Sisona Darchia escaped from the pursuing Russian police.

- 28. Daigvianes..., "You have come too late..."
(Solo: Zaza Sidamonidze)
The composer Nik'o Sulkhanishvili (1871 - 1919) intended to compose an opera based on the text of the dramatic poem Pat'ara k'akhi (The little Kakhetine), written in 1889 by the poet Ak'ak'i Ts'ereteli (1840 - 1915). The following fragment from the unfinished work illustrates how closely the musical language adheres to the style of Sulkhanishvili's native region of K'akheti. It is the opening monologue of a young nobleman who, due to a private feud, is hiding in the mountains, waiting for the girl he loves.

- 29. Qansav Qipiane, "Proud Qipiane...", Svaneti
(1st group: Levan Davitashvili, Sandro Mirianashvili; 2nd group: Davit Shanidze, Mamuk'a Ch'ich'inadze)

This ring dance song for two choirs extols a daring fighter.

Thomas Häusermann

- map sketch Georgia