Ancient geographers say that Georgia, ancient Colchis, concealed prodigious treasures buried beneath its high mountains. Situated in the Caucasus, at the confluence of the Christian world (of which it is one of the oldest bastions) and a universe very close to Muslim spiritualities, this land of contrasts has managed to preserve its mysteries, and its legendary gems still await their discoverers. But if there is one treasure that Georgia shares today, it is that of its traditional vocal music, whose oldest melodies date back to the 8 th century, a heritage valued as priceless.
Nourished by the many influences of its powerful neighbours – the Turkish, Persian and Slavic worlds – Georgian music nevertheless has a singular flavour. Inscribed on UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, its ancestral techniques were admired by Stravinsky – who described it as a “marvellous discovery” – among many other artists! Usually for three equal voices, this semi-
improvised choral practice unfolds according to three clearly distinct types, and linked to regionalisms: a so-called complex polyphony, developed in Svanetia; a melismatic dialogue on bass drone, from Kakhetia, and a so-called contrasting polyphony, where the improvised part is very strong, originating in the western provinces of the country.
All this music is sung in the Georgian language, and these characteristic sonorities are fully part of the signature, recognizable above all else, of this very particular form of choral art. Come and discover a part of this extraordinary heritage, between epic sung tales, dance tunes, table songs and Byzantine liturgical hymns.