Traditional Georgian Polyphonic Singing: Ensemble Adilei

Traditional Georgian Polyphonic Singing

This is the sixth of seven concerts in the Center for World Music’s 2018-19 Passport to Worlds of Music series.

Ensemble Adilei & the Chamgeliani Sisters

Join the CWM in welcoming Ensemble Adilei and the Chamgeliani Sisters from the Republic of Georgia. This very special evening will introduce you to the sacred and secular spaces of one of the oldest polyphonic singing traditions in Europe

Ensemble Adilei will impress you with their vocal prowess and technical skills in k’rimanch’uli, a yodeling technique from the western part of the country. Their energy and dedication to the folk tradition will warm you over.

The Chamgeliani sisters will sing a repertoire of songs from their native village of Lakhushdi (Upper Svaneti). Accompanied by the chuniri, a banjo-sized three-stringed bowed viol, Ana and Madona weave the tales of their mountainous region known for its beautiful landscape and unique medieval towers.

The evening will start in the sanctuary of St. George Serbian Orthodox Church, as a setting appropriate to the sacred music that will be offered in this portion of the program. Following intermission, we will gather again, this time inside the Social Hall for light refreshments and folk songs extolling the virtues of the homeland, long life, and love, among other themes. The repertoire may also include dance songs and lullabies.

Although the setting is in a church, there will be no service. The program is open to all, and all are welcome to attend.

Traditional Georgian polyphonic singing is identified as one of the world’s threatened musical traditions on a UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Don’t miss this very rare chance to hear it!

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About Ensemble Adilei

Georgian Ensemble Adilei

Ensemble Adilei performs traditional Georgian polyphonic songs and chants. After informally singing together for several years, the members officially formed the ensemble in 2012.

Adilei’s main passion lies in the songs from the province of Guria in Western Georgia (though other regions are also represented in their repertoire). Gurian music is sometimes compared to jazz, because of the emphasis on improvisation and non-parallel movement in all the voice parts. Gurian song is also characterized by k’rimanch’uli, the yodeling technique mentioned above (here’s a sample).

For the members of Adilei, singing is the primary mode of communication with the world: it is more of a lifestyle than a performance practice and is not just relegated to official concerts. They sing every time they gather, wherever that may be.

The ensemble has toured in a number of European countries and participated in several notable folk music festivals, including the International Symposium on Traditional Polyphony in Tbilisi, the Mare e Miniere festival in Sardinia, and the Zlatne Uste Golden Festival in New York. During their first US tour, the group conducted workshops, lectures, seminars, and concerts at Dartmouth, Columbia, New England Conservatory, Yale, and other universities on the East Coast, as well as a number of more informal and intimate venues.

This is Adilei’s second US tour, and they are delighted to share their music with you!

Learn more about Adilei and sample their music: Facebook | Bandcamp | Youtube | Vinyl Release | Spotify

About the Chamgeliani Sisters

Chamgeliani Sisters

Sisters Ana and Madona Chamgeliani come from a long lineage of singers from the mountainous province of Svaneti, where they grew up. These women are not only extraordinary vocalists, but also possess deep knowledge of the contexts and traditions that surround the songs they perform. Ana, who is also a member of the ensemble Sathanao, is a virtuoso on the ch’uniri (a three-string bowed viol, traditionally played in Svaneti and a few other surrounding provinces). Madona is an ethnomusicologist and scholar of Svan folklore. The sisters and have toured extensively throughout Europe,  and frequently collaborate and exchange musical repertoire with Adilei, both at home and abroad.

See videos of the Chamgeliani sisters in performance: Vitsbil Matsbil | Irinola



About Georgian Polyphony

The polyphonic vocal tradition in Georgia is one of the oldest in Europe. The vocal music has been passed down by ear since as early as the 5th century BC.

Most frequently, Georgian songs consist of three voice parts, all of which can have many patterns of movement, depending on the region (every province has its own signature style). In addition to the intricate multi-part structure, traditional Georgian music uses a kind of “untempered” tuning that differs from the equal-tempered scale commonly used in Western classical and popular music.

Purchase Tickets

Parking will available in the Denver Street parking lot of St. George Serbian Orthodox Church.

The concert will start in the sanctuary of St. George Serbian Orthodox Church at 7:30 PM. As the church sanctuary is a sacred space, audience members should plan to keep their voices low and not enter beyond the iconostasis, the screen bearing icons in the front of the sanctuary. No hats inside the church, please, for men.

During intermission, the audience will move to the Social Hall, only a short walk from the sanctuary. There—after light refreshments—the second half of the concert will take place.

$25 online + $2 online processing fee
$30 at the door (cash only please)

Financial support is provided by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture.
Special thanks to St. George Serbian Orthodox Church for hosting this concert.

City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture