600 Youth Unite at Mravaljamier Folk Music Concert

On June 23, a week of folk music as part of the first 'Mravaljamier' Folk Festival came to a close in the final gala, to which nearly 600 youth were invited to sing from across Georgia. The children, ranging in age from 6 to 18, made up a variety of folk choirs. Mravaljamier means success and longevity and was chosen as the name of a festival of equal positivity held at the Djansug Kakhidze Music Center in Tbilisi.

Donned in the traditional costumes of various regions, predominantly in 'chokha,' 12 chosen choir groups had the chance to sing just one song from their repertoires. Songs came from various regions, including Guria, Svaneti and Samegrelo, and showed off the full vocal capacity of the talented youth. Musicians on traditional instruments were also present, and in some performances, young dancers wowed the crowds.

165 songs were sung in total throughout the week of concerts, and only four were repeated by different groups, a testament to the careful planning of the organizers and choirmasters.

"We are extremely satisfied with the roll out of this festival," said Vakhtang Kakhidze, composer, conductor, festival founder and son of the famed conductor the Music Center was named after. "It was a pleasure to see the talent these children have; the motivation; the skill of the choirmasters. Although the festival was only thought of three months ago, and came together in a bit of a rush, we already know that we want to make it an annual event every June, and we'll be setting that in motion in the next few weeks. We also want to involve more regional folk choir groups. Many of the groups you see today are already working to make a name for themselves, and for Georgian folk traditions, abroad. I don't think one European festival has passed without one of our choirs winning a top prize!"

The 2018 festival closed with the uniting of nearly 600 children on stage to sing Mravaljamier, followed by an encore involving the participation of their choirmasters.  

One of the aims of the Mravaljamier Festival was to help rise money for fellow musician Vato Magradze, a 26-year-old Georgian violinist diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). As there are no modern treatment methods in Georgia, Vato is undergoing chemotherapy and Bone Marrow Transplants in Germany. The first stage of medical treatment abroad requires 268,000€ - too much for the Georgian artist to cover by his own means. To help the young musician, many public figures and citizens have united around the aim to help Vato beat the disease. The Mravaljamier Festival raised over 5000 GEL for the cause.

Vakho Kakhidze said he will be meeting with organizers, Folklore Center representatives and choirmasters within the next few weeks to begin planning the 2019 edition of the festival. In addition, they hope to organize a second annual concert especially for folk groups from the regions, and will be looking into funding to assist them in coming to the capital to participate.

By Katie Ruth Davies

25 June 2018 15:17