► It sounds terribly prosaic, but to write about Hamlet Gonashvili and the music of Georgia is like writing about the soul of Georgia itself, the state nestled between the Black Sea and the Caucasus that forms the border between Europe and Asia. Georgia’s history is as rich in cultural diversity as it is unique in the world: the polyphony of traditional music was hundreds of years ahead of the European one and is based on its own score and tone system. The many local traditions and musical forms are amongst the reasons why the UNESCO’s included Georgian music in its World Heritage List. Georgian songs are hymns full of longing, nature and community – many songs are composed for specifically for polyphonic ensembles, with some voices containing hundreds of singers.
Hamlet Gonashvili was nothing less but the voice of Georgia. He is considered to be the most important soloist, teacher and interpreter of Georgian music, and has made Georgian folklore known to a worldwide audience through the soundtrack of Werner Herzog’s “Nosferatu”. He died in 1985 as a result of a tragic accident (he fell to his death while picking apples), but his music is still considered to be one of the most important documents of Georgian musical traditions, and he remains to this day one of the most respected musicians in Georgia itself.
When Boiler Room made its first trip to Georgia in 2017, it was clear that we had to pay tribute to the countries rich and diverse music culture, as our team has been captivated by Hamlet Gonashvili’s music for many years. That’s why we got together with Lashari, one of Georgia’s most important modern ensembles, who performed a selection of the most important songs from Gonashvili’s repertoire for us. Headed by Giorgi Ushikishvili, who is the former Director of the Georgian National Center for Folklore and before the background of the Church of St Nicolas, which towers high above the roofs of Tbilisi as part of the Narkala fortress, this recording is maybe one of our most intimate productions to date. – Michail Stangl
Full list of credits
Direction and Edit: Robert Sieg
Camera: Zoe Kahlert, Theresa Baumgartner, Hiroo Tanaka, Dima Konjaria, Georgy Tyebcho
Sound: Georgy Gvarjaladze
Drone operator: Diogo Lopes
Production: Michail Stangl, Beka Kvartskhava
► Explore 4:3: https://fourthree.boilerroom.tv/