Mudcat Café message #294835 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #25218   Message #294835
Posted By: Charlie Baum
10-Sep-00 - 11:15 PM
Thread Name: Georgian Music
Subject: RE: Georgian Music
There are fairly few recordings of Georgian non-choral folk music. Everyone is interested in the polyphonic choral stuff, which is widely available. There is also some classical music available written by Georgian composers (Paliashvili, who lived 90-100 years ago, Otar Taktakishvili from the 1970-1980s, Gia Kancheli, who is a contemporary composer recorded by the Kronos Quartet and others). The Georgian Resources link above will take you to some of clasical music. But the traditional instrumental repertoire has been ignored, which is a pity, because it is wonderful stuff.

Aside from the occasional accompaniment of chorus by panduri (a Georgian lute-like instrument) and chonguri (which is a lute with a half-drone string much like the American banjo), the instruments rarely make it to recordings. I've got some vinyl recordings issued on Melodiya in the late 1980s: The Kolkheti Ensemble; (Melodiya C30 27543 003); Dance Melodies of the Caucasus (Melodiya C30 24681 002); The Georgia Radio Folk Instrumental Orchestra (Melodiya C30 24165 001). These were issued in small "tirazhes" (printings/editions) of 2000 copies or fewer, and were only available at record stores in Georgia (i.e., they couldn't be obtained even in Russia). But one Melodiya recording was jointly issued with Harmonia Mundi: "Voyage en URSS: Anthologie de al Musique Instrumentale et Vocale Des Peuples de l'URSS." Volume 4 (Georgie-Armenie) contains some fantastic instrumental music, including salamuri (end-blown flute) and duduki and zurna (oboe-bombarde) performances to make your jaw drop. It was Chant du MOnde 335/Harmonia Mundi LDX 74004/Melodiya 23249-23250. I have no idea if it was ever converted to CD format (I have it as a vinyl issued in the mid- to late-1980s.) but at least it was widely issued in the West, with a large tirazhe.

HOWEVER, I found 3 CDs with iunstrumental music, though I make no claim for their still being in print, and they were/are fairly obscure imports to begin with:

SOINARI is an ensemble playing dudukis (oboes), dholi (drum) and accordion. (I also have them on a Melodiya vinyl from the 1980s). Their cd is entitled "Soinari: Folk Music from Georgia Today" and also includes cuts by Mtiebi, a fine men's chroal group that toured America in 1990, and Mzetamze, a Georgia women's choral group, specializing in women's music. (Haus der Kulturen der Welt, SM 1510-2, Germany, 1993.) Good liner notes in German and English, including translations of song texts.

Ensemble AEAGVELEBI has a CD, "Chants et Musiques du Monde/Georgie/ Ensemble Aragvelebi," and they have instrumentals on their recording. Its on the Planett or WMD label (or both) (Planett/WMD 242037/ADD, France, 1993.) Minimal liner notes in French and English.

Lastly, "The Golden Fleece: Songs from Abkhazia and Adzharia" is an anthology containing both field and studio recordings, some of which are accompanied by apkhiartsa (a bowed two-string fiddle), archipan (a shepard's flute), salamuri (end-blown flute/recorder), akhym (zither), adjumu (harp), or achangur (plucked string instrument), as well as chonguri and various percussion instruments. Some of the cuts are entirely instrumental. (Pan 2009CD, Holland, 1993). Extensive liner notes in English.

Other than that? I will keep searching. I wil also contact a friend of mine in Ithaca, New York, to see what has. He has a very large colection of Georgian music--we used to think it was the largest collection of Georgian music outside of Georgia, until we went to Georgia in 1990, and discovered that the qualification "outside of Georgia" might not hold.

--Charlie Baum