Honorary Citizens of Tbilisi: Marika Kvaliashvili


Famous composer Marika Kvaliashvili, has, together with many other awards, been awarded the title of Honorary Citizen of Tbilisi. She is a granddaughter of the first Georgian female bandmaster and singer Maro Tarkhnishvili, and aunt of famous variety singer Eka Kvaliashvili.

Who is Marika Kvaliashvili?

A Georgian composer and great confidante of nature. I often talk to nature.

You walk in the footsteps of your grandmother. Was she the main figure in your creative life?

Yes. Her repertoire contained around 500 folk songs. Thanks to my family, I was saturated with music from early childhood. She was the best teacher in life, too, being a very strong and wise woman. I owe her my sense of responsibility to everything. When you’re raised in such a family, you try your best to resemble your ancestors.

Native aspiration dominates your creativity…

Yes. I may begin in minor but I always end up in major, as hope never dies. I have dedicated odes to all parts of Georgia and this is how I express my love for my country.

You have always lived in Tbilisi. How has it changed?

I was born and have lived in Tbilisi all my life. No matter how much it changes, it remains the same for me because I'm deeply in love with it. I like all its old and contemporary districts. The old districts take me back to my childhood and youth, while the new parts connect me with the future. I look with hope towards the future and am always happy with everything that's done for the good of Georgia. Of course, the old part of the city should be conserved as it embodies the primary image of Tbilisi. The new areas are good only if they're better than the old ones. The old parts shouldn't be changed much, as they are important not only for us but also for foreigners to help them better understand us.

You talk so fervently about Tbilisi. Do you ever leave it?

For 10 days, maximum. I love Tbilisi, my district and house, and miss them even after two days. Here, in my home town, I see the trees that grew with me.

What does being an Honorary Citizen of Tbilisi mean to you?

I would say that all awards are good when you don’t demand anything yourself. I’m thankful. However, the love of ordinary people, which I constantly get from the street, is the most precious gift of all. Being an Honorary Citizen of Tbilisi fills me with extra power and responsibility. They give you a symbolic key as if enabling you to open the main gate of your native city. It was some 10 years ago and I was really shy. It was an extremely happy occasion and a great honor. Normally, those who receive this award are not young any more. When I go to the regions, I still feel very firm soil under my feet, as people, regardless of their age, greet me with love. I belong to the whole of Georgia, as much as Tbilisi belongs to all our regions.

So, what does it mean to be a Tbilisian?

Had I been born in some remote village, I would still have to bear the grace of my native place and do good things for it, trying my best to give hope to others. I was born in Tbilisi, however, it does not mean that I'm better than those who were not born in the capital. Everyone is a child of certain towns or villages, suiting their homelands, if only he/she appreciates them thoroughly.

What are the sounds and colors in which you perceive Tbilisi?

Bright colors and major notes.

What can we show tourists apart from our beautiful landscape?

Our traditions of Georgian supra and Tamada (toastmaster). Hrow we greet guests and what kind of hosts we are. Of course, our dishes and the decoration of our supras, too. We should get them acquainted with the celebration tradition of two major holidays of ours: Easter and New Year, later on, demonstrating our culture, which is most valuable. Our folklore, music and dance, is a pattern to the rest of the world. I have attended a lot of symposiums, but our folk is peerless. I am not biased in this case as I respect all other valuable cultures. But we are champions in folklore.

What are your plans for the future?

If I had a chance, I’d like to arrange a creative soiree where my odes to Georgia will be performed.

Maka Lomadze

10 August 2017 18:40