Rustaveli Theater Hosts Georgian Chanting Foundation Awards Ceremony

The 8th of June marked another stellar event in Tbilisi’s music festival calendar. The 4th Annual Gala Concert and Awards Ceremony for the Georgian Chanting Foundation took place at the historic Rustaveli State Theatre.

The Georgian Chanting Foundation – created by businessman Vano Chkhartishvili in 2012 – helps support and popularize traditional singing, chanting and Georgian folk art, both domestically and abroad, along with academic research on Georgia’s traditional music.

The Foundation has given awards and monetary prizes to those who have made special contributions to the popularization of traditional Georgian culture, music and dance.

Two Tbilisi-based ensembles and five from Georgia’s regions received awards at this year’s ceremony for their role in preserving the country’s traditional music and dance culture.

In the category of New Generation, the winner became the Keda Girls Choir from Georgia’s western Black Sea Adjara region won the award for best New Generation artist. For their contribution to Georgian folklore, the Kobuleti Ensemble was honored at the awards ceremony. The prize for the best traditional theater music went to the Mzetamze women’s ensemble and the Riho singing group from the mountainous Svaneti region.

In the category of Georgian folk dancing, Kutaisi’s Bermukha – made up entirely of elderly performers – was named the top performer of the year. They were also the star of the show as the crowd cheered the group of men, all of whom are over 70, as they danced their way through an inspiring routine. The loudest cheers were saved for 93-year-old member Muhammed Iremadze, who closed the group’s performance.

The Chanting Choir from Mtskheta’s Svetitskhoveli Cathedral came away with an award for their contributions to traditional acapella singing.

Omar Mkheidze, a noted soloist for Georgia’s National Ballet Sukhishvili, received an award for his contributions to dance and honored with a lengthy video montage that highlighted his career and dance partnership with Sukhishvili’s founder, Nino Ramishvili.

A distinguished dancer, Mkheidze is known for his individualism, artistic talents and ability to incorporate traditional male dance techniques into modern interpretations of age-old routines. The Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia baptized Omar Mkheidze as the best dancer of the 20th century.

“Over the last four years, we have tried to make a small contribution to those who have dedicated their lives to Georgian folklore, chanting and dancing…We honor you,” Chkhartishvili said in his closing statements.

Chkhartishvili added that 3,000 GEL (USD 1,400) grants would be given to the historic Tbilisi State Conservatoire and Tbilisi State University’s musicology department to help promote the preservation of traditional Georgian music.

Svanetian group Riho performed regional folk songs following Chkhartishvili’s, which was followed by a rendition of popular folk song Mravaljhamier by all of the ceremony’s participants.

Famed Georgian conductor and composer, Vato Kakhidze, one of the presenters said, “The Georgian Chanting Foundation is in the vanguard of those hoping to preserve and study Georgia’s folklore traditions…The Foundation is doing its best to hold this ceremony and opening a first-rate school for chanting.”

Maka Lomadze

16 June 2016 18:36