Pirtskhelani Family Ensemble
Argokhi

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

Pirtskhelani Family Ensemble - K'ojre Makhvshi
+ Song Info

The explanation of the Svan song K'ojre Makhvshi below comes from the liner notes of Riho Ensemble's Vocal Polyphonies From Svaneti, by Frank Kane and Joseph Jordania.

 

''This is [another] example of a contemporary Svan song. This song was [also] inspired by the extraordinary life and early death of mountain climber Misha Khergiani. Several other highly respected Svan mountain climbers are also mentioned in the song. There are some elements which distinguish this song from older folk songs (the lack of nonsense syllables, the obvious presence of rhymes), although the song is in a traditional musical style. It is accompanied by the chuniri.''

 

To hear more Svan songs, visit the page of K'asletila Ensemble.

 

 

To hear another ballads about Misha Khergiani, listen to ''Misha Khergianze'' by Dato Naveriani & Mate Pitskhelava and ''Shaira Misha Khergianze'' by K'asletila Ensemble.

+ Lyrics

There are no lyrics available for this song. If you are able to provide them, please include it in an email to aurelia@tsutisopeli.com and we will update the page.

 

Translation:

 

The translation below comes from the liner notes of Riho Ensemble's Vocal Polyphonies From Svaneti, by Frank Kane and Joseph Jordania.

 

Master of the Cliffs

 

We lost the Master of the Cliffs.

Dali is crying, the cliffs are crying.

Where are our dream boys, where are you?

The Dolomite Alps took your life, Misha.

The rocks are crying,

And Dali is crying as well.

You have had bad luck,

We have lost two Mishas:

Gabliani did not return,

He stayed on foreign peaks.

We lost Ganu,

And the mountain goat hunter Gio.

We have lost the conquerors of Ushba,

Those poor brave lads.

Beso Pirtskhelani - Lile
+ Song Info

Lile is the ancient Svan word for the Sun God.  This song is thought to be one of the oldest from the highland of Svaneti.  Here we have an instrumental version, played by Beso Pirtskhelani on the ch'unir. 

 

To hear a sung version, visit the page of K'asletila Ensemble.

+ Lyrics

Instrumental.

Beso Pirtskhelani - Mirangula
+ Song Info

This explanation of the Svan song ''Mirangula'' comes from the liner notes of Riho Ensemble's Vocal Polyphonies From Svaneti, by Frank Kane and Joseph Jordania:

 

''The story of Mirangula is very well known in Svaneti. Mirangula was a young man (in some versions a woman) whose father was killed by North Caucasians. Mirangula went to seek revenge and was badly wounded but still managed to return home. Mirangula’s mother prepared a feast to celebrate his avenging of his father’s murder. But by the time the feast was ready, Mirangula had died of his wounds. His mother did not announce the bad news until the feast was underway.''

 

To hear a sung version, visit the page of K'asletila Ensemble.

+ Lyrics

Instrumental.

 

 

 

Beso Pirtskhelani - Rach'uli Melodia
+ Song Info

This melody is from Rach'a, a highland region in western Georga that borders Svaneti. Here Beso Pirtskhelani plays it on the ch'unir, a traditional 3-stringed bowed lute from Svaneti.

+ Lyrics

Instrumental.

Beso Pirtskhelani - Dale K'ojas
+ Song Info

On this recording, Beso Pirtskhleni plays the ch'unir and changi, traditional instruments from Svaneti.

 

The explanation of the song below comes from the liner notes of Riho Ensemble's album, Vocal Polyphonies From Svaneti by Frank Kane and Joseph Jordania.

 

''Dali is the goddess of hunting in Svan mythology, portrayed as a beautiful and powerful woman who could reward a good hunter but also punish (if a hunter overkilled, for example). In this song, Dali is giving birth to a baby (...) According to other Svan legends, Dali gave birth to Amiran, the Georgian Prometheus.''

 

Read more about Amiran here.

+ Lyrics

Instrumental.

 

Pirtskhelani Family Ensemble - Mikhvi Mushvan Gabliani
+ Song Info

This song is played on the panduri1 and sung by Girshel Pirtskhelani, accompanied by his family members.  

 

It tells the story of Misha Gabliani, brother of the famous Svan mountaineer Ilik'o Gabliani.

 

Misha Gabliani died in 1961 while climbing Jengish Chokusu (7,500m), the highest peak of the Tian Shan mountain range in Central Asia. He perished at such a high altitude that the expedition had to leave him there in the ice rather than carry on the strong Svan tradition of bringing the body down.

 

In 1997 an expedition found his intact body buried in the ice close to the peak.

 

1A 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.  

+ Lyrics

There is no translation available for this song. If you are able to provide one, please include it in an email to aurelia@tsutisopeli.com and we will update the page.

 

Mikhvi Mushvan Gabliani

 

Mikhvi mushvan gabliani

T’ian shanish k’ojars merde

Ame gushagd mi amgenekh

Ejgha mar mi k’ojre serde

 

/Oreri orera, oreri orera

Oreri orera, Oreri orera (da)/

 

Laqvrad m’tskhi hiqi mughva

Zhikan lakvamd uchpa hunir

Balshi m’kapd k’ojre bachar

Zhi lagnalzhi mezgi barjar

 

/Oreri orera, oreri orera

Oreri orera, Oreri orera (da)/

 

Mishgu khekhvs i gezlirs khakved

Qorzhi num lgkh let i ladegh

Likhed mak’u mare chike

Mi dem mupshvdekh tetne k’ojar

 

/Oreri orera, oreri orera

Oreri orera, Oreri orera (da)/

 

Mikhvi mushvan gabliani

T’ian shanish k’ojars merde

Girshel Pirtskhelani - Samshobloze
+ Song Info

A patriotic song performed by Girshel Pirtskhelani on the panduri.1 

 

The second verse loosely comes from Vazha-Pshavela’s2 ''Song: Artsra t’ant mtsvia, arts pekhta.''  This verse can be found in two other songs on the site – Nik’oloz Gigoshvili’s ''Samshobloze,'' and K’akha Mangoshvili and Pandura's ''Khars Vegevar Naialaghars.''

 

1A 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

 

2Luka Razikashvili (1861-1916) was one of Georgia’s most famous poets and writers. He wrote under the pen name Vazha-Pshavela, which literally means ''son from Pshavi.'' He was born and raised in the village of Chargali where a museum for him, opened in 1961, exists today.

+ Lyrics

Samshobloze

(scroll down for English translation)

 

Samshoblo dedis dzudzui

Ar gaitsvlebis skhvazeda

Orniv t’k’bilia dzmobilo da

Mirchvenis orsav tvalzeda

 

/Khars vgevar naialaghars

Rkit mits’asa vchkhver vbubuneb

Ghmerto samshoblo mitsotskhle da

Mdzinarits amas vduduneb/

 

Lomisis madlma shegishros da

Odesghats tsremli gdenia

Uts’in shen mogak’vlevinos da

Da chvenzed mosuli mt’eria

 

/Khars vgevar naialaghars

Rkit mits’asa vchkhver vbubuneb

Ghmerto samshoblo mitsotskhle da

Mdzinarits amas vduduneb/

 

Translation:

 

The Homeland

 

The homeland is like a mother’s breast

There is no substitute

Both are sweet, my brother

Equal in our eyes
 

I am like the buffalo when I work

I dig into the earth with my horns

''God, long live the homeland''

Is what I murmur in my dreams
 

Lomisi’s1 mercy

Dried the tears in your eyes

It diminished the number of enemies

That were approaching us
 

I am like the buffalo when I work

I dig into the earth with my horns

''God, long live the homeland

Is what I murmur in my dreams''

 

1Perched at 2,300 meters, the ancestral place of prayer for the Mtiul people