Georgian folklore

Georgian folklore is one of the outstanding parts of the world cultural heritage. The Georgian people are known for their unique culture and traditions. They are a people where one can find great talent in every second person and where every second person has a good ear for music and a good voice. Over the centuries, unique examples of Georgian folklore have been created – inimitable works of singers, dancers, folk musicians, masters of fine and applied arts. Georgian polyphonic song, literature, Georgian dance, Georgian ornament, ceramics, cloisonné enamel, wall painting, Georgian clothing, gold and silver embroidery, Georgian weapons and armor.

Georgian folklore dates back to ancient times and constitutes the history of the Georgian people. The description of Georgian songs and dances was first found in ancient Assyrian and Greek written sources. Assyrian king Sargon (714 BC) tells about their “merry songs” during the war with the distant ancestors of the Georgians. The Greek historian Xenophon (V-IV centuries BC) in “Anabasis”, describes the fighting dances and songs of the Kartvelian tribes, accompanied by musical instruments. The first folk instruments discovered during archaeological excavations in Georgia date back to the first half of the 2nd millennium BC. For millennia, Georgians have used such instruments as Salamuri, Gudastviri, Buki, Changi, Fanduri, Chonguri, Chianuri, Doli, Daira, Diplipito.

Georgia is a classical country of vocal polyphony, and vocal polyphony is the starting point of Georgian musical thinking. Georgian folk polyphonic song has gone through a long period of development and improvement. Georgian musical folklore has accumulated over time, changing qualitatively and quantitatively. Folklore itself presupposes syncretism and includes dance, song, music and poetry in its organic whole. Georgian folk music is characterized by free improvisation, variability and a lively creative process. In 2001, UNESCO recognized Georgian polyphonic singing as a masterpiece of oral and intangible cultural heritage, and in 2008 it was included in the list of masterpieces of the oral and intangible cultural heritage of humanity, thereby confirming the universal significance of Georgian traditional polyphony.

The unusual sounding and polyphony of Georgian songs became the reason that as soon as technical means of recording melody and sound appeared in the world, many foreign recording studios became interested in Georgian folklore. This is how collections of Georgian folk songs appeared, recorded at different times in museums in London, Berlin, Vienna, Riga, Moscow and St. Petersburg. Foreign scientists noted that polyphony in such a developed form does not exist in the world. This is recognized by eminent scientists, folklorists, ethnomusicologists, composers and musicians. One of the masterpieces of Georgian folk music, Georgian polyphony – “Chakrulo”, along with other masterpieces created by man, was recorded on the NASA Gold Plaque attached to the interstellar spacecraft Voyager 1 and Voyager 2, which were launched from Lands on August 20, 1977.

Georgian folk music with its diverse, complex forms of vocal polyphony, high levels of polyphonic thinking attracts the attention of specialists. Over time, interest in her is growing. Therefore, a comprehensive study of Georgian non-native musical creativity is highly relevant. Georgian folk music is a collective concept as it is a collection of musical dialects. Georgian folklore contains 15 musical dialects: Kartli, Kakheti, Khevi, Mtiuleti, Tusheti, Pshavi, Khevsureti, Racha, Samegrelo, Guria, Svaneti, etc. Among the main genres of folk music are:

  1. Labor – “Gutnuri”, “Kevruli”, “Urmuli”, “Herio”,  “Kevruli”,  “Kalospiruli”, “Namgalo”, “Naduri”  and others.
  2. Cult – “Kviriya”, “Lashari”, “Chona”, “Alilo”, “Lazare”, “Sabodisho”, “Dideba”, “Dala”, “Zari”, “Lile”, “Jvaruli” and others.
  3. Household – “Mravaljamieri”, “Chakrulo”, “Shemozakhili”, “Berikatsi”, “Batonebo”, “Yavnana”, “Mirangula” and others.

Folk dances have a special place in the ethnic culture created by the Georgian people. The dances clearly show the national character and soul of the Georgian people. The dances demonstrate Georgian heroism, lyricism, rock climbing and tenderness for a woman, the courage of a son, nobility, chivalry, courage, a heroic struggle for the land. Many dances are built on the dramatic tension of battle scenes and consist of several episodes. These are: preparation for battle, reconnaissance, meeting and fighting the enemy, defeating the enemy and returning home. Scenes of battle and victory are notable for their energy, speed, expressiveness. Georgian folk dances are famous all over the world. Beautiful costumes blend history and art in one single harmony. Each dance is unique and performs actions such as wedding, war, competition, celebration, village and city life.

Georgian folk choreography originated in the distant past. The surviving archaeological and ancient literary monuments prove that the hunting dance was the historical predecessor of Georgian folk choreography. The figure of a dancing woman (VI century BC), depicted on a bone plate discovered during excavations in Bagineti, testifies that ritual dances of women were held at the temple of the god of fertility. Many Georgian dances are based on the idea of competition. During the dance, they participate in an energetic battle with sword and shield, being the personification of the battle with the enemy. Since Georgia has seen many wars throughout its history, dancing is a call from the past and reminds us to fight for peace. The combination of elements of sacred dance with rituals and rituals of the game led to the creation of such dances as: “Qartuli”, “Gandagana”, “Khorumi”, “Ferkhuli”, “Samaya”, “Khanjluri”, “Mtiuluri”. “,”Davluri”, “Baghdaduri” and others.

The pinnacle of Georgian folk choreography is the dance “Qartuli” (Georgian). It is associated with a series of satirical dances performed by a man and a woman. The highly plastic dance consists of five parts: an invitation to dance, a joint opening, a female solo, a male solo, and a combined final chord. The dance is also called the “love poem”. This is a dance full of chivalrous and romantic spirit. The dance “Qartuli” is distinguished by its complex technique of performance and plastic pattern. The dance emphasizes a characteristic feature of Georgian folk choreography – in any Georgian dance, regardless of which historical and ethnographic part of Georgia it is developed into, a man and a woman do not touch each other. The man focuses his eyes on his partner, as if she were the only woman in the whole world. Showing respect for women reflects Georgian culture at its highest level.