Iveria: Music from the Republic of Georgia

A Georgian calls himself Kartveli and his country Sakartvelo, ‘the place of the Georgians.’ Recorded Georgian culture goes back 4,000 years. It includes languages unconnected to any major language family, and a cursive alphabet developed in the fifth century. Western Georgia was known as Colchis by the ancient Greeks, who set the legend of Jason and the Golden fleece there.

Georgian choral singing goes back a thousand years and more. Style, sound and structure vary from region to region and even from valley to valley in the mountains of the Caucasus. Georgia adopted Christianity in the fourth century, and independently developed a polyphonic singing style that was incorporated into the liturgy and taught in singing schools. Orthodox priests from Constantinople, visiting Georgia in the seventh century, are said to have been amazed by the Georgians singing their hymns in three part harmony. Georgia has been both a trade route and a battleground between Christian Europe and Muslim Asia, both of which have left echoes in Georgia’s distinctive singing tradition. Even today, local choruses and choral competitions are an integral part of Georgian life.

Here are some of the things that we appreciate and hope you will enjoy in these songs. This music stretches the ear. The neutral vowels and spare chords, often fourths and open fifths, allow the overtone harmonies to be heard. It is part of a tradition different from ours in the West, but it is lovely enough to create its own surprising familiarity. This music conveys emotions—love, sorrow, hatred, humor, hospitality—with freshness and power. Georgian songs have an uncanny ability to get themselves into stark, strange near-dissonance, and then resolve themselves into hauntingly gorgeous harmony which seems both absolutely unexpected and absolutely inevitable: the mountain path, the craggy precipice, the wind, the storm, the battle, and suddenly, around a turn, the most exquisite blossom.

Size: 3-6 performers

5 Replies to “Iveria: Music from the Republic of Georgia”

  1. Hello Iveria,
    I’ve got a partly covered driveway on a one block street ending in a patch of woods, so you won’t be drowned out by cars zooming by.  Want to come sing that afternoon after your noon slot near Mystic Lake?
    ~ Pamela
    2 Lehigh St
    (401) 440-4423

    1. Hi Iveria,
      I wasn’t able to link you to my 3 pm time slot. The Porchfest organizers are saying you need to create a duplicate listing with a slightly different title (such as “Iveria, 2nd set”), and then I’ll be able to link to that. That will mean you’ll show up everywhere on this website so folks planning beforehand & attending the day of can find you. Can you do the 2nd listing and then I’ll link it to the 3 pm time slot at my house?
      Thank you,
      ~ Pamela

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