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Polyphonic drinking songs and choral music

Lucy Duran travels to Georgia, to find out how its ancient musical traditions have fared after decades of occupation and instability.

Since gaining independence in 1991, Georgia has been a land of political disorder, culminating in the peaceful Rose Revolution of 2003. Lucy Duran travels to this little-visited country to find out how its ancient musical traditions have fared after decades of occupation and instability.

Music recorded on location for the programme includes lively polyphonic drinking songs and the beautiful choral music of the Georgian Church.

Lucy interviews Rob Parsons, the BBC's former Moscow correspondent, about Georgia and its polyphonic music. At an outdoors dinner party at Rob Parsons country house in Kakheti, Lucy listens to the magical polyphonic acappella singing of the eight singers of Tsinandali performing traditional Georgian songs, while enjoying exquisite traditional food and wine. She also admires the beautiful scenery of the valley and the Caucasian mountains, the highest in Europe (yes, higher than the Alps…).

Available now

1 hour

Last on

Sat 17 Jan 2009 15:00

Music and featured items

  • Music Played

    • Teatralebi Ensemble

      Shen Khar Venakhi (Thou art a vineyard)

  • Lucy Duran meets Rob Parsons

    Lucy Duran interviews Rob Parsons about Georgia and its polyphonic music.

    Duration: 02:31

  • Typical urban Tbilisi song.

    Eldar Shoshitashvili and his Ensemble sing a typical urban Tbilisi song.

    Duration: 02:45

  • Music Played

    • Eldar Shoshitashvili and his Ensemble

      Es ram iqo siq varulma (What has love done to me?)

  • Interview with Eldar Shoshitashvili.

    Lucy Duran and Rob Parsons interview Duduk player Eldar Shoshitashvili.

    Duration: 07:15

  • Music Played

    • Eldar Shoshitashvili and his Ensemble

      Dilis Saari/Shushtari

  • Eldar Shoshitashvili on wrestling.

    Duduk player Eldar Shoshitashvili talks about the Duduk’s connection to wrestling.

    Duration: 05:32

  • Music Played

    • Eldar Shoshitashvili and his Ensemble

      Mksouvelebi mgherian (The Weavers Sing)

  • Georgian polyphonic chanting.

    Lucy Duran and Rob Parsons listen to exquisite Georgian polyphonic chanting.

    Duration: 09:55

  • Music Played

    • St Panteleimon Chanters

      Tsmindao Ghmerto (Holy Lord)

    • St Panteleimon Chanters

      Upalo Shegvitsqale (Lord Have Mercy)

  • Wine from the Kakheti region.

    Lucy Duran and Rob Parsons on the road to the Kakheti region famous for its wine.

    Duration: 02:23

  • A Bakhtrioni Group

    A Bakhtrioni Group plays the traditional music of the Tusheti region of Georgia.

    Duration: 07:02

  • Music Played

    • Bakhtrioni Group

      Iksadats gazapkhuli itsqeba (Where Spring begins in June)

    • Bakhtrioni Group

      Shairebi (Joke Song)

  • Vano's wine cellar.

    Lucy Duran and Rob Parsons visiting Vano's wine cellar.

    Duration: 03:45

  • Music Played

    • : Tsinandali

      Mravalzhamier (Long Life)

    • Tsinandali

      Zamtari

  • Song - Chakrulo

    Part one ends with “Chakrulo”, the song that was sent on the Voyager space craft.

    Duration: 06:26

  • Music Played

    • Tsinandali

      Chakrulo

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