The Pirtskhelanis are from Lat’ali, Svaneti.1 About fifteen years ago, the family moved to the village of Argokhi in K’akheti. Argokhi sits beneath the snow-capped peaks of Tusheti, nested between rolling, pastoral hills.
Romeo and Darejan Pirtskhelani raised their eight children in song. Each track on their page is performed by different members of the family: Beso plays the ch’unir; Girshel sings ballads on the panduri;2 Darejan, Teah, Betkil and Beso perform several traditional Svan songs together.
1Svaneti is a region in northwestern Georgia, perched high in the Caucasus Mountains. The local language is Svan, one of four Kartvelian languages spoken in Georgia. Due to its isolation, Svaneti more than other regions has retained many of its ancient customs, including its unique choral singing tradition. Most Svan songs are antiphonal, alternating between two choirs of similar size, and are performed with a round dance. The ch'unir, a 3-stringed bowed lute, and the changi, a harp mostly played by women, are frequently used to accompany singing.
2A three-stringed, fretted lute common in all regions of northeastern Georgia. The instrument is most frequently used to accompany ballad singing. Read more about the panduri here.