Rusudan is the daughter of a khevisberi1 who tended to their family’s shrine in the highland of Gudamaqari. Rusudan later married into the village of Tskhvedieti, a mere horseback ride over the mountains from where she was born. Today she lives in Tbilisi with her children, but every summer returns to spend the season in her Tskhvedieti home. She plays the panduri2 and sings poetry written by her father.
1A "valley elder" in the northeastern highlands of Georgia. This term historically referred to a local elected leader, responsible for the political and military life of his community. In contrast, a dekanozi was the chozen head priest in charge of the shrines and spiritual life of his highland community. By the 19th century, as the dekanozi began taking on the responsibilities of the khevisberi, the two titles merged into one. Today this leader is responsible for tending to the local mountain shrines. In Khevi, Mtiuleti and Tusheti he is referred to as a dekanozi, whereas Pshavs and Khevsurs use the term khevisberi.
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.