“Spending on feasting and wine is better than hoarding our substance…”
A historically significant musical tradition.
Just as Georgia has cultivated the longest continuous winemaking tradition in the world, its musical tradition is noteworthy and historic, as well. Georgia claims a rich, vibrant, style of traditional music arguably considered the earliest polyphonic traditions of the Christian world.
Thanks in part to its location on the border of Europe and Asia, Georgia has given birth to variety of urban singing styles that mix native polyphony, Middle Eastern monophony and late European harmonic languages.
There are about 16 different regional styles of Georgian folk music, categorized as either Eastern or Western Georgian music. Eastern Georgian music includes styles from Kartli and Kakheti—the two largest regions—including “Chakrulo,”which is the most well-known Kakhetian style. The Western Georgian category includes the Imereti region. No matter the region, all Georgian folk music is predominantly vocal, distinguished by its rich vocal polyphony, and is deeply rooted in the a capella tradition.
Georgian folk singing is a community affair, particularly whenever people are gathered, like at supra, where songs and toasts to God, peace, motherland, long life, love, friendship and other subjects are central to the celebration. In fact, the supra is frequently a forum for traditional singing, as ancient polyphonic songs, some believed to be over 2000 years old, are frequently woven among the toasts. The songs are sung in three part harmony and accompanied at times by a variety of lutes, bagpipes, lyres and bowed viols. Georgian chants and folk songs make up one of the largest collections of ancient choral traditions in the world.
Songs about the everyday are also common: work songs and traveling songs, as are songs for celebrations and milestones—like funerals and weddings, healing and love songs, songs for dancing—and of course, lullabies.