Folk Ensemble “Sakhioba”

                 Out of great love for the folk and sacred music of Georgia, members of Georgia’s newest generation of revivalist musicians created an ensemble called “Sakhioba.” Founded in the beginning of 2006, the ensemble is mentored by the experience and knowledge of Malkhaz Erkvanidze, director of the renowned Anchiskhati Ensemble.

            The word “Sakhioba” comes from classical Georgian, and means ‘sweet singing,’ either with instruments or voices. The Sakhioba ensemble began studying simple versions of traditional Georgian church chant under the tutelage of Lia Salakaia of the Sioni Cathedral Parish School, and progressed to more advanced chant studies under the guidance of Vasil Tsetskhladze. As folk singing shares close ties with church chant, the ensemble has also dedicated itself to folklore studies, including the study of traditional folk dances and instrumental music.

            The ensemble has performed several times in Georgia, including being invited to perform at the “3rd International Symposium on Traditional Polyphony” hosted by the Tbilisi State Conservatoire in the fall of 2006. Additionally, the Sakhioba ensemble has performed at the Ethnographic Museum in Tbilisi, and appeared several times on state television. The ensemble was honored as the “Laureate of the State Folk Festival” in 2006.

            The first recording was completed in the winter of 2007, and includes chants from the Lenten Triodion and the Pentecostarion. This recording, in conjunction with an accompanying volume of music notation published by the Anchiskhati Church Choir in 2006, will help local choirs relearn traditional church music. The Sakhioba ensemble is committed to the popularization and revival of old traditional Georgian music, with special attention to the intonation, timbre, and arrangements of traditional singers. Likewise, ensemble members are dedicated to learning traditional Georgian instruments, such as the chonguri, panduri, chiboni, changi, chuniri  and doli, and seek to share this tradition with international and domestic audiences.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Ethnomusicologist John A. Graham

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