THE GEORGIANS ARE COMING!

Don’t miss this very rare & exceptional opportunity to witness a millenia-old singing tradition from one of the world’s smallest & oldest surviving cultures.

People who are in the know are super excited. This sort of visit by 6 Georgians singers from the Didgori Folk Ensemble has never happened before in Canada. According to the long-time World Music Columnist for The Wholenote magazine, Andrew Timar,

It will be a huge moment for Georgian music in Canada, an opportunity that happens perhaps once in a lifetime (Andrew Timar, The Wholenote).

Didgori’s tour starts in Edmonton as part of a classical choral music festival and makes its way eastward. Thanks to co-presenters MusiCamp, Clay & Paper Theatre and Folk Camp Canada, Didgori will have their featured concert in Toronto on June 7 2019, 8 pm at Jeanne Lamon Hall, Trinity St Paul’s Centre (427 Bloor St West). If you’re in Kingston, you also have the opportunity to see them on June 10 12:15 pm, as part of the Choir Festival Series at St George’s Cathedral (270 King St E).

JUST AS IT IS OLD, IT IS HARD TO DEFINE…

No, we are not talking about Georgia in the states. We are talking about the country that is situated in the Caucasian mountains, that borders the Black Sea and shares borders with Russia, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Turkey. It is situated on the cusp of Asia and Europe, and it’s likeness to either is often debated.

Interestingly, there are no migratory myths for the Georgians (whose population is approximately 3.7 million). They are indigenous to the Caucasus. They call themselves Kartveli and their land Sakartvelo. Compared to neighbouring countries (and perhaps due to its mountainous terrain) Georgia is known to have 17 distinct sub-ethnic groups, each boasting its own musical dialect. (More academic info on Georgian Polyphony can be found here.)

Perhaps this is why Georgian traditional music is also hard to define. It is certainly vocal heavy but it seems to meld together all sorts of appealing sonic qualities that makes it amenable to fit into festivals featuring a variety of styles – from classical and early music to middle eastern, to folk, world music and even improvised and contemporary new music! Truth is, the best way to understand the various appeal and the uniqueness of the music is to experience it live, so check out their tour info (Didgori in Canada, Didgori in Toronto) and see if they are performing near you! (You can also follow that link for some sound bites and videos of the ensemble.)

A CHANCE TO SING WITH THEM …

To further the exceptional nature of their visit, they are also hosting workshops where you have the chance to join in on the thousands of voices before you that have contributed to this millennia-old folk tradition. In Toronto, they are hosting 2 workshops:

  • Saturday June 8 5-7 pm at St Vladimir Institute ( 620 Spadina Ave, just S of Harbord)
  • Sunday June 9 11-4pm at MusiCamp Studio (11 Cobourg Ave, near Dufferin Mall)

But there are also workshops being held in Edmonton, Winnipeg and parts of Quebec. For more info, please visit the Didgori in Canada page. And don’t forget to tell everyone:

“THE GEORGIANS ARE COMING”

#TheGeorgiansAreComing

#DidgoriFolkinCanada

 

Didgori in Toronto

DIDGORI tickets on sale today, June 7, at the door. CASH ONLY. Students/Seniors must bring ID. Doors Open 7:30 PM

MusiCamp in partnership with Clay & Paper Theatre and Folk Camp Canada presents:

DIDGORI IN TORONTO


Friday June 7 2019 8 PM
THE CONCERT
at Jeanne Lamon Hall, Trinity St Paul’s Centre 427 Bloor St West
$30/$15 student
TICKETS GO ON SALE START OF MAY

Saturday June 8 2019 5-7pm
OPEN WORKSHOP
St Vladimir Institute ( 620 Spadina Ave, just S of Harbord)
$25 at the door (strongly suggested but no one will be turned away)

Sunday June 9 2019 11-4pm
WORKSHOP INTENSIVE
advanced singers, limited to 12 participants at MusiCamp Studio, Toronto $100 contact MusiCamp to register
 

Didgori in Toronto Press Release

For more information about Didgori, for audio/video, or to learn of other performances as part of their Canada tour, visit Didgori in Canada.

 

 

FREE African Drumming Workshop Jun 8 2019 at 1:25 PM

West African Drumming Workshop open to kids and their parents!

June 8 2019 1:25 pm to 2:30 pm at the MusiCamp YOUTH STAGE at
the Dundas West Festival, 1496 Dundas St West, just west of Dufferin

 

This goes way beyond a drum circle!
West African Drum instructor Anna Melnikoff will teach workshop participants patterns and licks on djembe and will also demonstrate the interlocking patterns on the dunun – the soul of the West African Mande drumming tradition. These rhythms can be extremely challenging, even for pro drummers! And with Anna’s guidance, this workshop is set up to engage and teach the absolute inexperienced while at the same time provide on-going challenges for advanced drummers.

 

In this workshop kids (& parents) will:

  • learn the difference between 3 basic slaps (slap, tone & bass) on the djembe
  • have a chance to practice these on the drum with a fun etude that develops these rudiments
  • have a chance to play the dunun
  • learn a basic accompaniment pattern
  • have a chance to solo
And we’ll even do some singing! Have listen to us at the 2015 Dundas West Festival.

 

The video to your left is from MusiCamp’s Summer Camps. the West African Drumming week. (Note: If you want to hear the groovy bass you’ll have to use headphones.)

Mande drumming is based on three stand-up drums called the dunun that play three interlocking rhythms often thought of as the melody. The djembes play accompanying patterns on top of this and are also used for soloing. To learn more about the Mande drumming tradition follow this link or if you are interested in our West African Drumming summer camp click here.

Didgori in Toronto

MusiCamp in partnership with Clay & Paper Theatre and Folk Camp Canada presents:

DIDGORI IN TORONTO


Friday June 7 2019 8 PM
THE CONCERT
at Jeanne Lamon Hall, Trinity St Paul’s Centre 427 Bloor St West
$30/$15 student
TICKETS GO ON SALE START OF MAY

Saturday June 8 2019 5-7pm
OPEN WORKSHOP
St Vladimir Institute ( 620 Spadina Ave, just S of Harbord)
$25 at the door (strongly suggested but no one will be turned away)

Sunday June 9 2019 11-4pm
WORKSHOP INTENSIVE
advanced singers, limited to 12 participants at MusiCamp Studio, Toronto $100 contact MusiCamp to register
 

Didgori in Toronto Press Release

For more information about Didgori, for audio/video, or to learn of other performances as part of their Canada tour, visit Didgori in Canada.

 

 

Didgori in Canada

The Georgians are coming!
It is a very rare opportunity that 6 members of Didgori will be touring Canada from late May to mid June 2019. The last and only time a choir from Georgia was touring Canada was in the 1970s. This time, Didgori will not just be performing but also hosting singing workshops, with stops in Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto, and other parts or Eastern Canada. Scroll down to view their Canadian tour schedule to date.
 
The award winning Didgori ensemble has been performing internationally since 2004 and has toured Russia, Turkey, UK, France, Switzerland, Israel, Poland, Uzbekistan, the Czech Republic and Latvia. Declared an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2001, the millennial old Georgian polyphonic singing tradition, with its close harmonies and untempered scales, is often described as transformatively visceral. It features 3-part singing in a variety of styles, from hauntingly melismatic lyrical genres to exploding counterpoint.

 

Have a listen to a sampler track compiled from Didgori’s most recent CD Singing as a Lifestyle


 

As can be heard from the variety of songs in the above sampler, Didgori are masters of a variety of Georgian musical styles, the wide variety of which reflects the diverse and complex landscape that has housed the Georgian people for thousands of years. Didgori is dedicated to the traditions of their ancestors through mastery and popularization of Georgian polyphonic folk songs and chants, and to the hope that their efforts will inspire future generations. The name, Didgori, honours a historical battle in 1121 that helped reunite Georgia and ushered in a period of growth in arts and culture.
Watch them perform (and even dance!) an Abkhaz round dance in the video above or listen to a performance of a chant in the audio player below.

 

Current Listing of Performances and Workshops

GABO’s TRIO

GABO’s TRIO is Gabriel Makharashvili, Andrea Kuzmich and Mario Morello. Formerly known as Trio From Canada, they first formed in 2016 to sing at the biennial Symposium on Traditional Polyphony in Georgia, Eurasia. They represented two polyphonic traditions that are practiced in Toronto: Georgian polyphony and Ukrainian ridnyj holos. Towards the end of their 2016 trip, after singing at many Georgian family tables, they started being called Gabo’s Trio. Andrea – an ethnomusicologist and performing musician – and her 10-year-old son, Gabriel, are both part of Ori Shalva (also known as the Makharashvili Family), a singing family that performs Georgian polyphony for private family and calendric events and cameo appearances on stages in Toronto, New York and Georgia. Mario, an ethnomusicologist, Balkan-singing specialist and student of Georgian polyphony, joined Andrea and Gabo to sing songs from the Makharashvili repertoire and elsewhere.

Past Shows of GABO’s TRIO in Toronto 2018!!

Sunday Sept 30 2018 3-5pm Mel Lastman Square Discover Geogia – Cradle of Wine
Sunday Oct 14 2018 2-9pm 8th Annual Ossington Village Alleyway Party
Friday Oct 19 2018 7pm Poetics of Food and Song
Thursday Oct 25 2018 6-9pm Drom Taberna

UPDATE: Since returning from Georgia in the fall of 2018, GABO’sTRIO released a small EP. Check it out:

 
They also have another video from live TV and other moments in pictures we hope to share soon!
 

   
 
During our 2016 trip, we were honoured to be so well received in Georgia…
 
especially to be asked to sing live on Georgian TV…
 
and Georgian Radio.

 
The christening of the name GABO’s TRIO happened in the fall of 2016, towards the end of our trip, at this most hospitable home in celebration of the grape harvest.


 
 

Past Shows of GABO’s TRIO in Toronto 2018!!

Sunday Sept 30 2018 3-5pm Mel Lastman Square Discover Geogia – Cradle of Wine
Sunday Oct 14 2018 2-9pm 8th Annual Ossington Village Alleyway Party
Friday Oct 19 2018 7pm Poetics of Food and Song
Thursday Oct 25 2018 6-9pm Drom Taberna

6-week Georgian Singing Workshop

A 6 Week Workshop led by Shalva Makharashvili and Andrea Kuzmich
WEDNESDAY 7-9 PM April 17 to May 22 2019.
at the MusiCamp studio
$250 for new participants; $200 for repeat students
More info or register by email through our contact page


 
Have a quick peek at workshop leader, Shalva and his children singing with Basiani, a traditional Georgian choir. (Click on the photo.)

 

IMG_1558Take part in a Georgian singing workshop and join the thousands of voices before you that have contributed to this millennia-old folk tradition. Georgia, is located in the mountainous region of the Caucasus, the crossroads of Europe and Asia. Its ancient singing tradition, known for its distinctive and haunting harmonies, was recognized by UNESCO as an intangible masterpiece of humanity in 2001. The 3-part form defies Western conventions and comes in a plethora of musical dialects, reflecting the diverse geographical and cultural makeup of the land.

 

Canada’s foremost experts in Georgian polyphony, Georgian-born singer/multi-instrumentalist Shalva Makharashvili and his Toronto-born partner, Andrea Kuzmich, will be leading the workshop. In this series, we’ll take a look a variety of regional styles and song-types (harvest/work/travel/table/love songs and chants). At the end of the 6 weeks we’ll have a little performance for friends and family… and a little toast – to keep it in the Georgian tradition…

To register for the workshop send us an email through the contact us page.

For some samples of Georgian songs have a listen to Shalva’s and Andrea’s trio soundcloud playlist or visit their website ZARI

 

Ori Shalva & co. (aka the Makharashvili Family)

Over the centuries family ensemble singing has played a significant role in keeping traditional Georgian polyphonic singing alive, and true to this preserving nature, Ori Shalva, aka the Makharashvili family, continues this practice despite being relocated halfway around the world from the well springs of this UNESCO proclaimed intangible heritage of humanity. While both Shalva Makharashvili and Andrea Kuzmich are professional musicians, the Makharashvili family unit started performing in private settings for marked family and community calendric events. As the children aged and developed more skills and repertoire, the family found themselves in more performance opportunities, whether they be in cameo appearances on stages in Toronto (see the video below from 2010), NY and Georgia, or in more recent features such as Harbourfront’s Body Percussion Festival (see video below), Toronto’s Annual Black Out Party 2018, or Toronto’s First Georgian Cultural festival, Sept 30 2018. At the end of 2019, Ori Shalva also recorded for the television show “Sounds of Canada” to represent traditional Georgian polyphony among the talent of Canada’s mosaic cultural communities. In 2020, they were featured in a number of online showcases (URGNT.CA, Community Folk Art Council, Labyrinth Ontario, etc) and were hosting Georgian Singing Workshops online.


By the way, Shalva is a traditional Georgian name and is the name of two of the members of the ensemble. Ori means 2 – which is why we call the group Ori Shalva & co.

Another side note: an off-shoot of Ori-Shalva is Gabo’s Trio.

Have a look at some videos over the years: teaching online, on stage (at Small World Music and Harbourfront Centre), in Georgia (with Basiani Ensemble at a grape harvesting festival)  and in Tobermory. Also have a read to learn more about Shalva or Andrea’s professional work.

Ori Shalva has been leading online singing workshops since April 2020

Ori Shalva at the Body Percussion Festival, Harboufront Centre, Toronto 2017

Maybe one of our first professional performances as a family, Small World Music Festival, Royal Conservatory of Music, Toronto, 2010.

SHALVA MAKHARASHVILI, a Georgian native, has been performing the music of his homeland for over 35 years. Starting with the panduri (a 3-stringed indigenous lute) at the age of 4, his musical education included training in voice, tradition and classical choral repertoire, classical guitar, and traditional dance. As a young man he toured Georgia and the former Soviet Union in a number of choirs as featured soloist and instrumentalist (panduri and guitar player). Besides panduri, Shalva plays changi (harp), chonguri (a 4-stringed lute) and chiboni (bagpipes). Since his immigration to Toronto he has received a number of awards and featured on CBC radio. He was a soloist in and used to lead the community choir Darbazi and sings with his professional trio ZARI as well as numerous ad hoc groups within the Georgian community. He also chants numerous times per week in services for the Georgian Orthodox Church. He maintains close ties with the traditional singing community in Georgia, where he is highly respected as a singer as well as for his work in disseminating Georgian
 
ANDREA KUZMICH is an award winning singer, a teacher, an ethnomusicologist and music facilitator. Her eclectic musical activities defy her conventional classical beginnings where by the age of 16 she was a cellist with the McMaster Symphony and had sung in four different Canadian Opera Company productions. Andrea has also: sung in a Congolese Gospel Choir; studied Balkan folk music, South Indian singing and drumming, and West African drumming; performed in Big Bands, small jazz combos, as well as contemporary new music ensembles; taken a leading role in the practice of ridnyj holos (Ukrainian traditional singing) in Canada through Kosa Kolektiv and Kalendar (formerly KalynDar); become one of Canada’s foremost practitioners and academics of Georgian polyphony; sings in the professional Georgian trio ZARI and was also a lead soloist in the community choir DARBAZI. Inspired by this diversity, she started MusiCamp in 2013, a Toronto studio that hosts workshops, kids camps and facilitates musical events. She can be heard on Veryan Weston’s “Make” (2017); Tanya Tagaq’s “Retribution” (2016); DoVira’s “DoVira” (2016); Kalendar’s “Sichen” (2016); ZARI’s “ZARI” (2008); Whitney’s Smith Big Steam Band’s “Swing’s Mistress” (1998); movie soundtrack “The Witch” (2015); documentary soundtrack “What is Love” (2016), among others.

They always sing with friends in Georgia. Here, they are singing a double choir travelling song with Basian, at a grape harvest festival.

 

Singing for leisure in beautiful Tobermory!

BrouLaLa at Night of Dread!

Don’t miss out on Toronto’s best festival!! Night of Dread

Where Torontonians are invited to call on, mock and banish their private and collective fears through parade and pageantry, music and masquerade, dance and a devilishly good party.

Drawing on Georgian, Bluegrass, Appalachian, Lithuanian and other musics, BrouLaLa (Andrea KuzmichRyan Brouwer, Lieke van der Voort and Jackson Welchner) will be singing, sounding, improvising and memorializing in the Valley of Remembrance.

Saturday October 27
5 – 9+ PM (BrouLala performing around 7ish)
Dufferin Grove Park

BrouLaLa night of dread 2016

BrouLala Nigtht of Dread 2016 with Hats on to keep us warm!!

 

Poetics of Food and Song

A rare chance to experience Georgian cuisine and song…

    Friday October 19 2018 7 PM $80 Limited seating (max 15)
    RSVP for exact location (near Dufferin Grove Park)
    Concert includes a gourmet 5 course homemade Georgian meal (Georgian menu below) and 2 glasses of wine. Songs (by GABO’s TRIO and the MAKHARASHVILI FAMILY) and toasts interspersed through the evening. For more info or to reserve your spot, email MusiCampTO at Gmail.com or visit our contact page. Also visit our FB event page for occasional postings on the cuisine of Georgia.

Foodies and music lovers would be interested to know that on October 19th MusiCamp is hosting a fundraising concert that is also an exceptional dinner, featuring Georgian cuisine, “the best little-known cuisine in the world“. In the Post-Soviet states, Georgian food is loved for its elaborate blend of spices, walnuts, and fresh herbs and fruit that result in savoury stews, purees, sauces and salads. In Soviet times, it replaced the French haute-cuisine of the Tsarist era and grew in such popularity. But the only way to understand why this is, is to try it!

Here’s your chance to not only try it but to experience it in one of the most authentic performance opportunities of Georgian song – not on the concert stage but around a dinner table, sharing food, song and toasts!

It is known that Georgian food is best consumed with traditional Georgian song and wine! So what better way to experience the flavours than in this rare chance at this dinner-concert. And given that Georgia is also known as the cradle of wine (the oldest archeological finds of wine making are from Easter-Georgia), of course a few glasses of wine will accompany the dinner.

The Evening’s Menu is still being developed but it would look something like this:
  • Charkhlis Mkhali or Pkhali (beet or spinach puréed with walnuts and fresh herbs)
  • Kharcho (walnut-garlic infused beef stew),
  • Adjapsandali  (eggplant stew) and
  • Khachapuri (Georgia’s most famous cheese pie).
  • Salad Nigvitz (cucumber, tomatoes and red onions salad with walnut dressing – with an option to have the dressing on the side).
All will be served with fresh bread, mint-infused yogurt and walnut puree sauces. Desserts will also be served (yet to be decided, but don’t be surprised if there will be something featuring walnuts!).

 

For more info or to reserve your spot, email
MusiCampTO at Gmail.com or visit our contact page.

If you want to know a little more about Georgian food, consider The Washington Posts’ article “Is Georgian Food the Next Big Thing” or have a look at National Geographic’s Street Food Episode on Georgia.