Friday, April 27, 2007

Ancient Music Accompanies Ancient Wine

Georgia is not only home to the world’s oldest wine, reaching back 8,000 years, but its folk tradition of polyphonic music may also be the world’s oldest, predating the arrival of Christianity in Georgia.

Like most European scales, the Georgian scale can be broken down into octaves, though the spacing of the tones is different.

Much of traditional Georgian folk music centers around the supra; among traditional favorites are Zamtari, a song about winter commemorating ancestors, and Mravalzhamier, a hymn of joy. Dance music, love ballads, work songs, traveling songs and sacred music – of both liturgical and folk varieties – can also be found in the Georgian tradition.

Different regions of Georgia are known for different musical styles: In Racha and Ajara, male vocalists are accompanied by bagpipes. In Samegrelo and Guria, dissonance, high pitches and yodeling-like vocals called krimanchuli are characteristic. The isolated Svaneti region may have the oldest traditions, with irregular harmonies a middle voice leading two supporting voices.

The music of Kakheti may be the most famous Georgian variety, with the Kakhetian-style patriotic song Chakrulo being carried on the Golden Record of the Voyager spacecraft. Kakhetian music is characterized by a simple bass part with two soloists singing on top and playing off one another. The melodies of Kakheti alternate between recitative sections with highly poetic lyrics and ornate cascading flourishes.

The Hasidic Cappella performing traditional Georgian music

Three men from the Rustavi group playing the dhol, a traditional drum

Another trio from Rustavi, performing an instrumental

1 comment:

Niko kululashvili said...

I think Georgian folk culture is unique and the the word's greatest heritage. Very nice blog and interesting videos, thanks for sharing and promoting national songs.