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About Georgia

from 30 April, 1999

 

Georgian Songs and Music
Songs & Music
Traditional (Folk) songs
Modern songs
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Hamlet GonashviliAn element of the rich and diverse culture of the Georgian people, the traditional songs of Georgia are a musical chronicle of the country's history. Despite the numerous incursions of foreign invaders - Arab, Mongolian, Turkish, Persian - Georgia has preserved its language, both oral and written, its architecture, its religion and a large number of unique songs and melodies.

Developed over the centuries, the traditions and styles of performance have been handed down from generation to generation by outstanding singers, many of whom founded their own schools and whose memory lives on in the minds of the Georgian people.

Georgian folk music is one of the most important elements in the treasure house of Georgian spiritual culture, an aural chronicle of Georgia's centuries-old history.

The specific geography of Georgia, its historic and social conditions have brought about the development of a number of dialects, both linguistic and musical, that are named after the respective place-names: Kakheti, Kartli, Racha, Svaneti, Megrelia, Imereti, Guria, Ajaria and others. The musical dialects of all those regions differ in rhythm, intonation, texture and harmony, whole sharing one common feature: polyphonic singing. Georgia folk songs mostly contain three voice-parts. However, four-part labour songs are encountered in Guria and Ajaria. In these parts of Western Georgia a distinctive kind of figurative polyphonic-singing is widespread "krimanchuli" or "gankivani", a type of yodel.

Georgian folk music, featuring complex, three-part, polyphonic harmonies, has long been a subject of special interest among musicologists. There are many talented folk groups in Georgia whose common purpose is to revive and preserve Georgian folk music. The Rustavi Choir, formed in 1968, is the best known Georgian group performing a traditional repertoire.

In today's Georgia, folk songs are most frequently sung around the table. The ceremonial dinner (supra), a frequent occurrence in Georgian homes, is a highly ritualized event that itself forms a direct link to Georgia's past. On such occasions, rounds of standardized and improvised toasts typically extend long into the night.

 
Georgian songs and music on the Audio CDs
  • Rustavi Choir: Oath At Khidistavi-Heroic Song
    Audio CD
    (January 20, 1998)
    Price: $13.99 by amazon.com
    Price: $13.99 by cdnow.com
  • Rustavi Choir: Georgian Voices
    Audio CD (November 14, 1989)
    Price: $13.49 by amazon.com
    Price: $13.49 by cdnow.com
  • Marani: Soupra - The Georgian Banquet
    Audio CD (October 13, 1998)
    Price: $12.99 by amazon.com
    Price: $12.99 by cdnow.com
  • Kartuli Musika / L Issakadze, Georgisches Kammerorchester
    Audio CD (January 10, 1996)
    Price: $16.99 by amazon.com


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