From Tbilisi, Georgia

Sakhioba, a group of exceptional musicians from Tbilisi in Georgia , is coming to the UK in November 2011, bringing the exhilarating sound of Georgian polyphonic singing, instrumental music and traditional dance to audiences from Exeter to Edinburgh .

The 12 members of Sakhioba, an all-male ensemble, met while studying Orthodox church chants (hymns) in Tbilisi . Most of these representatives of the new generation of traditional Georgian musicians are still in their 20s but have known each other since boyhood, forging strong bonds over the years. The passion of their faith, the strength of their friendship and their pleasure at singing together communicate instantly with their audiences, creating a deep connection with the ancient music of the Caucasus .

Sakhioba’s performances in the UK will include church chants along with folk songs of celebration, work, life and love, and exciting traditional dances.  Many of these are accompanied by instruments such as the chonguri and panduri (plucked strings), changi (folk harp), chuniri (a bowed instrument), chiboni (bagpipe) and doli (drum). Among the members of the group are specialists in krimanchuli, the rousing yodelling which is a distinctive feature of many songs from western Georgia .

The ensemble is led by musicologist and researcher Malkhaz Erkvanidze, a world authority on Georgian polyphony, who will be giving talks on Georgian tuning systems and running song workshops during the tour. Malkhaz directed the choir of Tbilisi ’s ancient Anchiskhati Church for 20 years and has for several decades been at the forefront of the movement to revive and preserve traditional forms of Georgian music. He has recovered a large amount of liturgical material suppressed during the communist era and has published six books of rescued hymns. Malkhaz has given workshops in the UK in the past and is known for his thorough approach and gentle patience with participants, regardless of their musical experience.

Don’t miss this remarkable opportunity to experience the unique song, instrumental music and dance of Georgia as brought to you by the dedicated and talented members of Ensemble Sakhioba.


For concert, workshop and booking information, visit www.geomusica.com/events

For interviews, contact Tamta Turmanidze or Marc Jackson at Geomusica:

By email – tamta@geomusica.com – marc@geomusica.com

By phone – 07988 572 752

Watch recent performances by Sakhioba online at http://sakhioba.ge/eng/ and on YouTube.


“Georgian song is remarkably beautiful – happy and sad, strong and gentle. There is no other polyphony like it.  It is overwhelming and refined. Hearing it just once will give you a taste of eternity.”

Mstislav Rostropovich, cellist

“In listening to these songs, an impression of Georgia ‘s history comes to life. The trials and tribulations of these brave, gentle, and troubled people is enacted in sound. According to 18th century poet Sulkhan-Saba, the word sakhioba means “sweet music.” The ensemble justifies its name and it delights its listener with the sweet melodies of Georgian song.”

John A. Graham, musicologist, Princeton University