Georgia‘s most distinct musical form is called the table song, a polyphonic/many-voiced form of music sung without instruments (and, most traditionally, without women). Georgian men, and nowadays, sometimes women, gather at a feast called a supra and sing sing sing, making toasts while sitting around a long, wooden table, to long life, to the Georgian nation, to God, to love…. Most table songs, especially those from the Kakheti region of Eastern Georgia, feature a simple “bass drone,” which is a single low note that sets the foundational tone for the piece that’s and at least two soloists singing intertwining melodies. (Watch to the Rustavi choir perform a Kakhetian table song, minus the table,
called “Chakrulo,” a piece of music NASA chose to accompany the journey of the Voyager space mission in 1977.) If you go to a supra you may also hear a popular traditional song like “Zamtari,” which celebrates both the winter and the ancestors, or a Christian hymn such as “Mravalzhamier.” Listen to this version if you want to hear actual Georgians
sing around an actual table. (In class we’re going to simulate a traditional Georgian supra.)
More ancient Georgian music:
Wikipedia on the music of Georgia | More about table songs and the Rustavi Choir | More men. Another table. | Even more men. Another table. This time, a guitar.
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