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Patara Georgika
Singing we come down the mountains (Face Music)

Traditional Songs of Georgia from the oral tradition. This polyphonic music has been taught and handed down from one generation to the next one without notes, simply by ear. The table songs, wedding songs, round dance songs, dance songs for individual and pair dances as well as comical songs are rather different in their music structure; the regional styles, however, are also very different in their character and differentiation of voices. In general, all these songs have the polyphonic or three-part singing in common. The overtones are usually, according to tradition, performed by soloists, with one of them, most frequently the second voice, starting singing. The soloists are a counterpart to the group of banebi who uniformly perform the third voice....

   

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Patara Georgika was founded in 1995. An ensemble, that made it possible for pupils to get to know the most important music traditions of Georgia by means of practical exercises, had already been implemented in the basic concept of the Guram-Ramischwili School, although this educational institution had not been intended as a school specialized on art but rather as a school with focus on general education. During the last years of the Soviet Union the adverse effects of the Soviet educational practice, aiming at a linguistic as well as cultural uniformity in a giant realm, showed already plainly. The linguist and germanist Guram Ramischwili developed educational theories in antithesis thereto which considered the profound knowledge of one's mother tongue and one's own culture the essential prerequisites for a fruitful exchange with other cultures. In the state-run school according to his concept the first foreign language, the German language, is taught only from the third school year on. In language lessons as well as in optional subjects, getting to know the culture of the foreign language is of uttermost importance.

In 1995 the plans for a school ensemble could finally be realized: The ensemble Georgika, supported by the school and its founder, enabled David Shanidze, Shalva Lortkipanidze and Artshil Ushveridze to gain experience in concerts, and in this way they could later on take over choir practice with the pupils. (Hence, the name: patara – little Georgika). In addition thereto, the dancer Gela Tsotsoria established a dance group with the help of male and female pupils of the school. Singers and dancers started to perform and work together more intensively. Today it is rather usual that one person dances whereas the other one performs a song.

Thomas Häusermann who had already arranged the publishment of CDs for Georgika and had been working as an organizer of concerts, performed with Patara Georgika in 2002 at the 7th International World Youth Music Festival in Switzerland. In 2004 the ensemble participated in the film "Die Luft zum Atmen" by Ruth Olshan (aquafilm Köln). Patara Georgika was awarded prizes on the occasion of festivals in Georgia and in Turkey. The fact that some of the members have participated in the ensemble from the beginning on also speaks for its successful work. One of the members in the meantime has started to study music and now works with the youngest in a preparatory group.

At present, the 27 years old singer Paata Meladze is the leader of the children and youth ensemble. In collaboration with young singers he searches in archives and on excursions into various ethnographical regions of the country for songs already forgotten in order to reintegrate them into the currently performed repertory. He wants to expand the soloistic part in contrast to the choir singing, and under his leadership more and more pupils have started to learn to play folk instruments; hence, instrumentalists from Georgika need not be called in anymore.

Repertory and Work performed by the Ensemble

Patara Georgika exclusively performs songs from the oral Georgian tradition which has been declared protected immaterial cultural assets by the Unesco. Up to the present this polyphonic music has been taught and handed down from one generation to the next one without notes, simply by ear. The songs are surprisingly mannifold, measured by the small size of the country. The table songs, wedding songs, round dance songs, dance songs for individual and pair dances as well as comical songs transcending into theatralic singing are rather different in their music structure; the regional styles, however, are also very different in their character and differentiation of voices.

In general, all these songs have the polyphonic or three-part singing in common. The overtones are usually, according to tradition, performed by soloists, with one of them, most frequently the second voice, starting singing. The soloists are a counterpart to the group of banebi who uniformly perform their third voice. This imbalanced practice of performance is not of advantage for concerts, and, for this reason, some time ago the ensemble decided to also perform the overtones in choirs, with a soloist only striking up the song.

If it is possible, Patara Georgika will return to the original, more soloistic ensemble singing; and if there is need of instrumental accompanyment, the singers, in general, also play the musical instruments. They want to prepare additional pieces of performance with instruments (among others, with the Georgian bagpipe (Chiponi)). In accordance with Georgian tradition, women and men only exceptionally perform together (see also n° 17 of the CD). The traditonal songs of the Georgian women, which usually make part of a more intimate and ritual area, only recently started to be performed on stage. The singer ensemble Patara Georgika hence also is a boy ensemble. But when dances are performed, the number of girls and boys on stage is more or less in balance.

On the CD and the DVD of the presentation concert, there are performed more songs than dances. The big dance group of the years 2002 and 2004, which was presented in the film documentation "Die Luft zum Atmen", does not exist anymore in this form. Some of the dancers now belong to the singing ensemble. There has, however, been started the development and establishment of a new dance group (with fewer members, which is more convenient for tours), which will also participate in the song performance. Members of the Group
Today 30 singers participate in the performances given by Patara Georgika. The oldest members are 23 years old, the youngest one 8. If there are to be performed more dances, the number is increased to 35.

Voices: Micheil Gagoshidze (solo), Avto Surmava (solo), Konstantine Tagauri (solo), Rezo Dzneladze, Saba Gaprindashvili, Otar Gogoladze, Archil Kobalia, Giorgi Kochlamazashvili, Archil Luarsabishvili, Giorgi Kupatadze, Aziko Pilia, Vakho Rukhadze, Lekso Sulakvelidze, Sandro Tughushi; Giorgi Dzotsenidze (solo), Misho Goderdzishvili (solo), Sandro Murvanidze (solo), Irakli Jincharadze, Nikoloz Mamatsashvili, Gabriel Tagauri, Giorgi Tagauri.; Iona Khutsishvili (solo), Tariel Kharebava (solo), Lasha Mushkudiani (solo), Tornike Ebanoidze, Shota Kimotidze, Tornike Meladze, Tornike Nijaradze, Dato Rostomashvili, Sandro Samadashvili, Giorgi Turmanauli, Sosso Tughushi.
Instrumentalists: Yona Khutsishvili: chonguri, Tariel Kharebava: panduri.

The panduri in no. 10, 13, 19 is played by Khvicha Goderdzishvili, the chonguri and the chiboni in no. 13 by Aleko Khizanishvili, both members of the ensemble Georgika.

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