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Fri, 17 May

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Minchinhampton Market House

Ts'utisopeli Georgian Singing Weekend

A weekend of singing from the Republic of Georgia with Mtiebi and Amer-Imeri

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Ts'utisopeli Georgian Singing Weekend
Ts'utisopeli Georgian Singing Weekend

Time & Location

17 May 2024, 6:00 pm – 19 May 2024, 5:00 pm

Minchinhampton Market House, Market Square, Minchinhampton, Stroud GL6 9BW, UK

Guests

About the event

With One Voice is assisting Pitchblend to bring you the Ts'utiposeli weekend this May.

A group of singers drawn from from Mtiebi and Amer-Imeri, renowned vocal ensembles from the Republic of Georgia, are touring the UK during May 2024, teaching and performing polyphonic songs, and appearing as guests of honour at a weekend residential event.

Taking in towns and cities in Scotland, England and Wales, this truly will be an unmissable opportunity to sample the full range of this richly diverse musical tradition, along with the unique Georgian dances, costumes, rituals and food with which the music is connected.

The centrepiece of the tour will be a residential weekend event, called ts'utisopeli, at which singers from across the UK will gather to learn and sing together, and to share a supra, or Georgian feast. Workshops throughout the tour will be planned to help us prepare for the supra evening, when we eat, drink and sing together at the supra table.

GEORGIAN POLYPHONY

The Republic of Georgia, in the Caucasus mountains, boasts a rich and ancient UNESCO listed tradition of complex polyphony. Like Georgia itself, the music sits at the crossroads between Europe and Asia, yet has its own, truly unique character. It blends challenging, dissonant and microtonal chords with sweet and lyrical close harmonies. Ancient pagan, shamanic ritual songs with soaring liturgical chants. Powerful work songs, rousing wedding songs, and modern, composed songs all continue this music into the present day. Encompassing thirteen regional styles, the music from the east and west of Georgia are quite distinct, with that of the Gurian region on the Black Sea coast being particularly complex, and often including a fourth, yodeling voice, known as krimanchuli.

Mtiebi and Amer-Imeri

On this tour we will have the pleasure of welcoming twelve singers drawn from Mtiebi and Amer-Imeri ensembles.

Mtiebi choir was founded in 1980 by the renowned ethnomusicologist, Edisher Garakanidze, and soon established itself as one of the foremost ensembles dedicated to pioneering the research and revival of the traditional singing and folklore practices of Georgia. Edisher was also a key figure in introducing Georgian polyphonic singing to the UK.

In 1991 Edisher and his wife, Nino Baghaturia, created a youth ensemble, Amer-Imeri, through which many current members of Mtiebi have trained. From 2001-2012 Amer-Imer was directed by Edisher’s son, Gigi (Giorgi) Garakanidze, since when it has been headed by its current leader, Magda Kevlishvili.

The main creative principle behind both choirs is understanding and performing the songs alongside the folklore, dances and rituals that are integral to them. Younger singers in Amer-Imeri learn traditional Georgian children’s games and dances, and traditional instruments. They become familiar with the history and mythology of Georgia, and they learn church hymns and participate in divine service. The singers and teachers travel to different regions of Georgia and learn directly from tradition bearers, and the new generation of singers learn to perform songs freely and independently, without the guidance of elders, just as their peers historically sang in the countryside. And, having learned the traditions and made them their own, they create their own folklore, with improvisation and ornamentaion of songs and lyrics, games, tongue twisters, and mocking verses.

Amer-Imeri bring all this to their performance and teaching, but also into their everyday lives.

Recognised by numerous awards over three decades, both in Georgia and internationally, Amer-Imeri was the winner of the 2022 Georgian National Folklore Festival, was featured on BBC radio and television is 2002, and has participated in folklore festivals in Lithuania, Poland and Germany.

TS'UTISOPELI WEEKEND

 Friday 17–Sunday 19 May

 Ts'utisopeli (წუტისოფელი) is a word that has many related meanings in Georgian – sometimes translated as 'small world', 'small village', or even 'brief life'. The centrepiece of the tour, this will be a full weekend of workshops, feasting and performance, bringing together our visiting Georgian ensembles, as well as singers from across the UK.

Workshops will be held in the historic Market House, and the beautiful, and highy resonant Holy Trinity Church. The full, detailed program will be confirmed to all ticket holders shortly before the event, in line with the outline program below:

FRIDAY EVENING The weekend will begin on the Friday evening with an introductory workshop. We'll get to know each other, warm up our voices, and share repertoire to sing together over the weekend.

SATURDAY On Saturday we will have a full day of workshops from our visiting Georgian singers, learning new songs, and refreshing and building on the songs taught during the rest of the tour. The workshops are open to all, and there is no need to read music, know the language, or have previous experience. Songs will be taught by ear. So if you are unfamiliar with this tradition, you are guaranteed a warm welcome and an enjoyable introduction to this beautiful music.

SATURDAY EVENING SUPRA On the Saturday evening we will gather together for a supra, or ritual Georgian feast.

Georgia has a highly distinctive and sophisticated cuisine. Led by a toastmaster, or tamada, the supra tradition combines the sharing of this delicious food with heartfelt toasts and songs, creating an unforgettable, moving and highly authentic experience of Georgian culture. But beautiful though Georgian food, wine and song are, the supra is more than the sum of its parts. The structure of the supra creates a space where it is possible to connect with each other not as performers and audience, but as hosts and honoured guests.

SUNDAY MORNING On Sunday morning we will have masterclasses, focusing on Georgian singing technique, and the context and deeper significance of these songs. In these masterclass sessions, singers from UK Georgian choirs will have the chance to invite constructive feedback from our visiting Georgian singers, and to explore whatever questions they have related to their singing, or to Georgian culture and traditions.

SUNDAY AFTERNOON PERFORMANCE 3–5pm To end the weekend, on Sunday afternoon our visiting Georgian singers will give a concert.

TICKETS Weekend £130/95 Saturday, with supra £85/65 Saturday day pass £60/45 Sunday pass, including concert £50/40 Supra only (subject to availability) £30/20 Concert only £15/10 Camping pass £20 per person for the weekend or £10 per person for one night. (No charge for under 18s)

The weekend pass includes lunch and evening meals.

To book please follow the link to the Pitchblend ticketing site:

https://www.tickettailor.com/events/pitchblend/1077871?fbclid=IwAR3ql-9S5QnzMXzW0gSRLdgGQQ8GMUxSbDO_wFU1cSicNgXNlp6ODNyR1FU#

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