Gulo Natelashvili

Gulo was born in the village of Avenisi on the banks of the Aragvi River1 in 1940. She grew up singing with her older sister Tamar, and later married her childhood sweetheart from across the river and moved to his town, the historical Ananuri, home to a magnificent castle complex.


The building of the Zhinvali Dam in 1985-1986 affected the valley enormously, and today there is nothing left of Avenisi but the graveyard where Gulo’s family is buried.


1The major river of the eastern Georgian highlands of Khevsureti, Pshavi and Mtiuleti. The 112 kilometer long Aragvi was dammed in Zhinvali in 1986, forming the Zhinvali Reservoir which provides power to much of Georgia. The river eventually flows into the Mt'k'vari at Mtskheta.

Gulo Natelashvili - Mtas Qopna
+ Song Info

A shepherd song.


In reference to this folk poem, Donald Rayfield in "The Literature of Georgia: A History" says:


The poetry that teases shepherds reflects the conviction, expressed in the definition of 'man' in a Tsova-Tush-Georgian dictionary, that a man is 'one who does not go among sheep.' Shepherds lack the charisma that Hellenic or Christian legends give them.  In Tush poetry the shepherd is made to say:


             I'm not fed up with the mountains

               Nor do I long for the valley,

               Nor to sleep and lie with beautiful women,

               Nor to talk with them.

              I prefer the red-eyed ewe

              And tugging at her forelock.


To hear other versions of this song, visit the pages of Leila Lachisvhili and P'avle Burduli.

+ Lyrics

Mtas Qopna

(scroll down for English translation)


Mtas tovli mohk’idebia

Mts’qemso ahqare tskhvaria

Adek da barad chamodi

Bich’o sheirte kalia


An ar mogts’qinda mtas qopna

An ar moginda baria

An lamazi kaltan alersi

An mastan saubaria


Arts momts’qinda mtas qopna

Arts mominda baria

Arts lamaz kaltan alersi

Arts mastan saubaria


Tval ts’itel shishak mirchevnis

Chemi parekhis taghia

Barbalos nisli ts’vims islit

Kalis alersis daria




To Be In The Mountains


There is snow in the mountains

Shepherd, take your flock

Come down to the plains

And find a woman to marry


Are you not bored of the mountains?

Don’t you want to be in the plains?

Don't you want to caress a beautiful woman?

Or at least talk with her?


I am not bored of the mountains

Nor do I want to be in the plains

Or to caress a beautiful woman

Or even to talk with her


I prefer my red-eyed sheep

I prefer the arch of my flock

And the fog of Borbalo1 that rains dew

Similar to a woman’s caresses



1At 3,294 meters Borbalo is highest peak in Pshav-Khevsureti.

Gulo Natelashvili - K'ap'it'ani Bukhaidze
+ Song Info

This poem was written during World War II by the famous Georgian poet Irak’li Abashidze (1909-1992). The poem is about Captain Bukhaidze, a war hero who died in Balkaria


In her book, ''Anthology of Georgian Poetry,'' Venera Urushadze states: ''All of the characteristic traits of Abashidze’s poetic talent are fully reflected in [Captain Bukhaidze] – a sincerely lyrical tone, truthfulness and spontaneity, clearness of form, a loft simplicity and popularity of poetic craftsmanship.'' 


The text that Gulo sings is very close to the orginal poem of Abashidze's, except for a change in the order of verses.

+ Lyrics

K’ap’ita’ni Bukhaidze

(scroll down for English translation)


Me kartveli bukhaidze,

Kavkavsis mtebshi vts’evar

Rom shemedzlos saplavidan

Dzmebo mkhrebis ts’amots’eva


Ar vushvebdi darialtan

Gaaptrebul qvitel gvelebs

/Me saplavshi k’i ara vts’evar

Ak darajad damaqenes/


Me sitsotskhles khelmeored

Shevts’iravdi mshobel mkhares,

/Shevts’iravdi imav mits’as,

Dghes rom gulze damaqares/


Vints damkhedot, gadaetsit

Sakartvelos mtebs da velebs

/Rom misi dze, bukhaidze

Aka vzhlet’di siskhlis msmelebs/


Da vubareb qvela kartvels:

Misi ts’minda vali ari -

/Mok’vdes, magram mk’erdit shehk’ras

Derbent’i da dariali/




This translation comes from Venera Urushadze's 1958 ''Anthology of Georgian Poetry.'' Read more in ''About.''


Captain Bukhaidze


I am a Georgian, named Bukhaidze,

Buried upon a mountain high.

Could I but rise again, my brothers

From the dark grave wherein I lie!


I am no more, for I am dead,

But gladly would I sacrifice

My life once more for that sweet earth

That now upon my bosom lies. 


Tell Georgia's spreading fields of green,

Snow-covered peaks and azure sky

That here, on Balkhareti1 mount

Bukhaidze crushed the enemy. 


I barred the Pass of Dariel,2

Struck down the serpents with this hand.

Then I fell dead. But no! I live!

I live, and guard my motherland! 


Georgians! your duty is to serve

Your land and for her rights to brave

All woes! The glory of dying

For Georgia illumines the grave!



(Ts'utisopeli has added the following footnotes:)


1Today it is called the Kaberdino-Balkar Republic. It is a federal subject of Russia in the North Caucasus.


2The Darial Pass in Khevi, Georgia (1,450 meters) is the historical pass of the central Caucasus that connects Vladikavkaz in Russia to Tbilisi, Georgia’s capital. 

Gulo Natelashvili - Sakhumaro Avenisze
+ Song Info

Gulo remembers singing joke songs with her girlfriends as a child in Avenisi. Each girl would improvise a verse, sometimes so random that it made them all laugh.

+ Lyrics

Sakhumaro Avenisze

(scroll down for English translation)


T’irian tushi kalebi

Ar mogvividnen kmarebi

Vai nu dakhotses lek’ebma

Daaqrevines tavebi


Net’avi momk’la mtashia

Dammarkha bunebashia

Net’avi gamagebina

Ra gidevst gunebashia


Kalav gushin da gushints’in

Deda rad gijavrdeboda

Mesmoda sheni kvitini

Vakhshami mimts’ardeboda


Chamoskhdebian khevsurni

Ludis sasmelad banzeda

Kalau chventan gadmodi

Nu gamirbikhar ganzeda


Net’avi radme maktsia

Bulbulad gadamaktsia

Masts’avla bulbulis ena

Tkven baghebs shemomachvia


Kalav gushin da gushints’in

Deda rad gijavrdeboda

Mesmoda sheni kvitini

Vakhshami mimts’ardeboda


Khorkhor dagvt’oveb t’ialo

Ts’iplano da khilianao

Gadmogiare jijeto da

Serebiano t’qiano


Visi khar kali lamazi

Tvalch’relo ts’itelmiano

Visi khar kali lamazi

Tvalch’relo ts’iteltmiano




A Joke Song From Avenisi


Tush women are crying:

Our husbands have not come back to us

May they not be killed by the Leks!1

May they not be decapitated!

I want to die in the mountains

And be buried in nature

I wish I understood

Why you are so upset!

Woman, yesterday and the day before

Why was your mother so mad at you?

I heard you sobbing

And it ruined my supper

Khevsurs were sitting

Drinking beer on the rooftop, saying:

''Woman, come over to my house

Don’t run away from me!''

I wish I were something else

Turn me into a nightingale!

I will learn the nightingale’s language

And show up in your garden

Woman, yesterday and the day before

Why was your mother so mad at you?

I heard you sobbing

And it ruined my supper

Khorkhor left us, what a shame

Beech trees and fruits

I passed through Jijeti2

With its hills and forests


Whose are you, beautiful woman?

With dappled eyes and red hair

Whose are you, beautiful woman?

With dappled eyes and red hair


1Leks / Lekebi = Hinukh people: One of the many tribes (together with Avars and Dargins) living in the North Caucasus region that is today called Dagestan. Leks were traditional enemies of Georgians during the 18th century, regularly invading and raiding the valleys of Kakheti. Today, Georgians refer to as ''lek'' all the tribes from Dagestan.


2A beautiful village in the hills of Erts'o-Tianeti.

Gulo Natelashvili - Telavze
+ Song Info

A patriotic song about Telavi, the main city and municipal center of K’akheti.

+ Lyrics


(scroll down for English translation)


Sakartvelos qvavilshi t’urpa vardi khar

Mag p’at’ara silamazit martlats k’argi khar

K’akhetis gulis mshvenebao lamazo mkharev

Chven k’op’ts’ia telavo shen gaikhare


Vit deda shvilebs oblebsa tavs gadahqurebs

Rats dro gadis jeildeba aba uquret

Ramdeni gmiris ak’vani shen daarts’ie

Kvit k’iris galavniano shen genatsvale


Nadik’vari niavi tu tsivi mtebia

Qvelaperi uk’etesze uk’etesia

Mit’oma msurs t’k’bili khmebit guli vijero

Chemo k’op’ts’ia telavo, sul shen gimghero


Sad aris erek’les khmali sakartveloshi

Bashi achuk’ze tkmuleba dzvel shuamtashi

P’at’ara da k’okht’a kalo chveno telavo

Itsotskhle mravalzhamier t’urpa telavoa






You are a rose among the flowers of Georgia

With your beauty, you are truly good 

The charm of the K'akhetian heart, your land

Is our treasure, you shine with content


Like a mother watching after orphans growing

Look how it blossoms as time is flowing

How many cribs of heroes you gently shook

Surrounded by stony walls my admiration you took


Be it the Nadik'vari2 breeze or a cold mountain rest

All of you is the best of the best

That’s why with sweet voices my heart shall ring

My tiny treasure Telavi, for you I sing


Where is the sword of King Erek'le3

In Georgia to be found?

The tale about Bashi Achuki4

In ancient Shuamta5 goes round

Our small and beautiful lady Telavi

Long shall you live, beautiful Telavi!


1The administrative capital of the eastern province of K'akheti, Telavi is considered by many to be the ''heart'' of the region.


2A beautiful place in Telavi that overlooks the rest of the town as well as the Alazani Valley.


3 The last king of Georgia, King Erekle II (1720-1798) before the country was annexed by Russia.


4A legendary 17th century Imeretian rebel, famous for fighting the Persians. His story inspired authors like Ak'ak'i Ts'ereteli, who wrote a book about him. 


5Located 7 km from Telavi, Old Shuampta, a Georgian Orthodox Monastery was originally constructed in the 5th century.