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Silver Sanctuary

by Zedashe

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    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality downloads of Our Earth and Water, Intangible Pearls, Ancient Polyphonic Chants From Georgia, Enduring Fortress, Forged In Fire, In The Footprints of Our Ancestors, and The Raising of Lazare. , and , .

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1.
A wedding procession song starting with the words: “I will say something different, will be thinking of something else, but will make my tongue speak differently”. Perhaps this was an arranged wedding and the singers knew the heart of one of the betrothed was committed elsewhere.
2.
This wedding song begins with the words “What a horrible thing that has happened to me, my beloved ran away” this was the only text in the original fragment recording henceforth, Ketevan added from Rachian folk poetry the following texts: “Ana you make my lips sweet please don’t sneak away, for those eyes and cheeks, kill my ability to see beauty in others.”
3.
An allegorical folk song about a bear that can not sing who invites his friends over. His animal friends say amongst themselves "we praise him even though he can’t sing and dance because we want to stay and eat dinner in his home."
4.
This is a song sung at the table, describing how the door of the wine cellar is rattling, and the excitement that the host will soon be pouring the golden elixir for the guests.
5.
This is a festive chant that celebrates the bringing of Mary, the Mother of God, to the Temple. Sung in a medieval west Georgian style from the monastery of Shemokmedi (the Creator). It is sung in regular Vespers.
6.
A wedding song describing a boy walking through the fields, looking for his beloved. He finds her lying under an apple tree, with white apples near her head, he asks for an apple but she won’t give it to him.
7.
This is a love song: “The moon is rising like love, eternally ancient and eternally young...”
8.
Abkhazians are a Circassian people from the North Caucasus living in Western Georgia since the middle ages. Their language is related to other North Caucasian peoples, although the region is currently occupied by Russia, their musical system varies from the rest of Georgia employing two low register voices and antiphonal soloists.
9.
Lazeti is currently within the borders of Turkey, but inhabited since antiquity by the Laz people that speak the Chan language, the song is sung in Chan which is one of the root languages of the Georgian literary language.
10.
The song seems to speak of patriotism for Megrelia* and Georgia in general but as it was written during the Soviet Period it was rearranged to praise the Communist party. With the help of Anna Gorozia we replaced the word “Party” with “Homeland” as to not lose a song that otherwise is quite beautiful. The song is sung in the Megrelian language, one of three main Georgian languages still spoken in Georgia. *Megreli or Mingrelia is a historic province in the western part of Georgia, formerly known as Odishi.
11.
This is a ritual round folk song and round dance sung antiphonally in praise of Queen Tamar who is also referred to as “King Tamar” due to her strength and the glory of her reign during the 12th C. While she was sovereign, Georgia experienced a golden epoch of political stability and flourishing of the arts. She had various outposts in the frontier territories, one important being in the village of Ushguli located in the alpine region of Upper Svaneti where this song is believed to originate. It is performed in the Svan language related to but distinct from literary Georgian.
12.
This song’s content is a field worker saying “yes I work hard, but I don’t envy the one who eats without work, yes my load is heavy but I remember my Savior and life goes on.”
13.
From a polyphonic perspective this is one of the most elaborate and complicated genres of songs to perform, as the harmony and movement is exceedingly complex. It relays a story that takes place during the Crimean war (1853-1856) between the Ottoman and Russian Empires. At this time in history Georgia was a part of the Russian Empire by necessity and not by will, and it tells the story of a Georgian prince, Khasan-Beg Tavdgiridze that defected to the Ottoman side, depending on one’s point of view he could be considered a traitor but, as many Georgians felt the country was occupied by Russia at the time it is more complicated than that.
14.
This is a chant in praise of the 6th C. Syrian saint that settled in east Georgia and founded a monastery in caves on the border of what was then considered Georgia and Persia. Now it is on the border between Georgia and Azerbaijan. The monastery of St. Davit remains a sacred place for Orthodox Christians and a place for pilgrimage, and has extraordinary architecture and fragments of frescoes, in a stunning semi-desert setting.
15.
The Cuman-Kipchaks were a nomadic Turkic people living in the North Caucasus and along the Volga river. David the Builder, a 12th C. King of Georgia, brought 40,000 of these pagan peoples to Georgia to replenish the ranks of the army in exchange for land rights in 1118. After the Mongol raids most Cumans resettled in Hungary and Anatolia. This song relates a story of a young couple visiting their relatives, along the way they ran into a Cuman warrior, he asked for bread the Georgian man gave him some, he asked for wine, he was offered some, he asked for his wife, and the Georgian refused, and a fight broke out. The Cuman was moving as fast as lightning but the Georgian protecting his wife cut him in half.
16.
A patriotic song about Tusheti being under the protection of the Shepard of Nature (the Creator) With a beautiful phrase: “Here you can drink from the fountain of eternity, at the cliffs from the melted avalanche.”
17.
Christmas carols otherwise known as Alilos in Georgian are found in various versions all across Georgia. The text is almost the same in all but the style of singing follows regional typicity. The text is: On the 25th of December, Christ was born in Bethlehem, the bringer of joy and the bringer of grace.
18.
Four-part field work song sung antiphonally with krimanchuli, a form of complex yodeling from western Georgia.
19.
This song speaks of the 18th and 19th C period when there were rebels fighting against Russian dominion, this praises one such rebel that is described as a handsome brave fighter, that wore a black chokha (traditional attire) and had black eyes that all the girls swooned over.
20.
Sung in Praise of Mary, the Mother of God, half-way through Lent
21.
This is a ritual song used to inspire highland warriors before battle describing the various battalions from various villages wishing one another success in battle so they may have many years of peace afterwards.
22.
Dance Melodies from Black Sea Coastal Region

about

Zedashe Ensemble is a polyphonic vocal choir and dance group from the nation of Georgia. Directed by Ketevan Mindorashvili, Zedashe is one of the few mixed (male and female) choirs in Georgia led by women. The ensemble was founded in the mid-1990s to preserve the polyphonic folk songs and chants, unique to Georgia, that were largely lost during the Communist era. These chants run through the heart of Georgia’s rich history, through Orthodox Christian liturgical services to the nation’s ancient pagan roots.

Zedashe’s ninth album, Silver Sanctuary, will be released in North America on Nov. 19th, 2020, on Electric Cowbell Records. The album brims over with 22 songs drawn from twelve different regions of Georgia. Ancient chants, ballads, wedding songs, work songs, medieval allegories, dance melodies, feast songs, instrumental melodies and more reflect decades of research and dedicated song collecting. While the choir’s powerhouse vocals and astute arrangements keep the music fresh for the 21st century.


“In Georgia, every song has a history behind it,” says Ketevan Mindorashvili. “All of them are true stories, in a way, because they tell us the story of our roots. On this record we ended up recording five wedding songs, which surprised me. I found myself drawn to the storylines of these songs, which are very dramatic and often depict love triangles, sometimes of real people. Some are hundreds of years old, but are the poetry is as vivid as any film or novel. I love ‘Kakhuri Maqruli’ for lines like: ‘Pearls falling from the sky’ and ‘Rose blooming in your cheeks’, for me this is very close to the poetry of Rumi.”


“We all recorded several feast songs and allegoric songs that are performed at traditional Georgian supra feasts” Ketevan adds. “Georgians love to get together and feast. Good wine is at the heart of the feast — Georgia is where wine was invented 8,000 years ago — but a traditional supra also wouldn’t be complete without music, dancing, singing, poetry and toasting. Feats are where so many of our songs have been preserved, and, of course, they are a very good place to practice new songs, too.”

Silver Sanctuary is a fascinating window into one of the world’s oldest and most rooted musical cultures; offering a rare glimpse into the hearts and minds of ancient, pre-industrial traditions in the heart of the Caucuses.

credits

released August 7, 2020

Silver Sanctuary / საძირკველი ვერცხლისო

Will be officially released Nov 19, 2020 on Electric Cowbell Records

Ketevan Mindorashvili - director, voice, panduri, chonguri
Tamila Sulhanishvili - voice, garmoni & panduri
Guliko-Ana Jabashvili - voice
Mariam Korghanashvili - voice
Tengiz Kakashvili - voice & panduri
Alexander Matiashvili - voice, chiboni (bagpipe), panduri & dance
Valiko Janiashvili - voice, dance
Irakle Kanchurashvili - voice & dance
Vano Chincharuli - doli (hand drum)
Tekla Taralashvili - dance

Recorded & Mixed by Tobias Brent in Sighnagi, Georgia
Mastered by Brent Lambert at The Kitchen, Carrboro, NC
Artwork by Christina Gleixner
Produced by Ketevan Mindorashvili and Marlysse Simmons

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Zedashe Sighnaghi, Georgia

Zedashe Ensemble is a vocal and dance group based in the eastern medieval fortress city of Sighnaghi, Caucasus Georgia. Directed by Ketevan Mindorashvili, the ensemble was founded in the mid-1990’s to sing polyphonic chants, unique to Georgia, that were largely lost during the Communist era. ... more

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