Nelkarisi Ensemble

Nelkarisi is a women’s ensemble from Shilda, an old stone village tucked away in the hills of K’akheti beneath the Caucasus Mountains.  The group’s namesake is an ancient ancestral settlement nearby that lies beneath the historic Nek’resi Church.


Under the directorship of Ketino Rukhadze, Nelkarisi sings a variety of Georgian folk music but pays particular attention to the songs of their ancestors from Shilda.


Ensemble members at the time of recording: Tamar K’ezherashvili; Irma K’andelak’i; Maia Baidoshvili; Lali Aghniashvili

Nelkarisi Ensemble - Dideba
+ Song Info

Dideba is a saperkhulo or round dance ritual song.  The woman of Nelkarisi Ensemble learned this song from their ancestors who sang it as a weather ritual song. They say that in times of need a group of women gathered to sing this song at the church doors. A soloist stood in the center facing the entrance while the others stepped in a counterclockwise circle around her. 


To hear another versions of this song, visit the page of Mandili Ensemble.

+ Lyrics


(scroll down for English translation)


Dideba da ghmertsai dideba

P’irvelad ghmerti vakhsenot

Is up’ro didebulia

Da mamre da qvela ts’minda

Ts’minda giorgi alta

Daviarebi mta-mta

Ts’minda giorgi tskhenta

Tskhenta zis da bedaurze

Khelshi uch’iravs matrakh

Matrakhi da ghvtisa p’irul

Ghvtisa ts’qaloba ghvibodzet

P’urit agvivse beghel

Ghvinit agvivse maran

Dideba da ghmertsai dideba-o




Glory and Glory to God

We should praise God first

He is most glorious

And then to all the saints

Saint George sits on a full-blooded horse

With a whip in his hand

We are granted God’s mercy

With bread we honor the granary

With wine we honor the wine cellar

Glory and Praise to God!

Nelkarisi Ensemble - Elia
+ Song Info

This weather ritual song was first recorded in Sagarejo District in 1980 by Joseph Jordania. 


The popularity in the Caucasus region of Elijah (known as Elia in Georgia), a miracle-making prophet from the Old Testement, is depicted in this interesting weather ritual song performed by Nelkarisi.


The appropriation of Elijah into pagan rituals was common throughout the Caucasus, particularly in the eastern Georgian highlands and Ossetia. Influenced by the mythology of other Eastern Orthodox cultures (Greek and Slavic), Elia was worshipped as a weather-maker and a protector of high places, such as the mountains.

+ Lyrics



Dideba da madli ghmertsa, ghmertsai dideba

Es elia, eliavo, ghmertsai dideba

Tsidan chamosuliavo, ghmertsai dideba

Dideba da madli ghmertsa, ghmertsai dideba

Aghar gvinda gorakhivo, ghmertsai dideba

Ghmerto mogvets t’alakhio, ghmertsai dideba

Tskhavi atskhavebulao, ghmertsai dideba

Ts’vimats gachkarebulavo, ghmertsai dideba

Dideba da madli ghmertsa, ghmertsai dideba




Praise and thanks to God, praise God

Elia came down from Heaven

The sieve appears to remain a sieve1

The rain is already hurrying on by

We don’t need more dry earth

God, give us mud!

You, our glorious God

Praise and thanks to God, praise God


1The sieve is used to sift out good grain from bad. The sieve remaining a sieve means that it is not hanging useless on the wall because there is no harvest, but rather is being put to good use.

Nelkarisi Ensemble - Dedamtilis Dat'ireba
+ Song Info

A mourning song from K'akheti, lamenting the death of the mother-in-law. This dirge is sung by two singers -- The first (the ''mot'irali'') speaks directly to her dead mother-in-law, and the second (the ''mokvitine'') sings back, addressing first the ''mot'irali'' and then the deceased.


+ Lyrics

Dedamtilis Dat’ireba

(scroll down for English translation)


Sheni t’k’bili sulis ch’irime, dedamtilo

Rad gamishave k’aba, dedamtilo

Dardiani var, rogorgha unda vilkhino

Sheni ch’irime dedamtilo

Sheni t’k’bili sulis ch’irime


Damatsa kalo

Erti ori sit’qva mets utkhra chem t’k’bil dedamtils

T’k’bili k’i ara mt’iralno

Tsiv samareshi damts’var dashavebul

Vai sheni brali rom shen agharapers aghar eghirsebi


Sheni ch’irime dedamtilo

Sheni t’k’bili sulis ch’irime

Ts’adi da ts’adi chemo dedamtilo

Dagvlotse qvela gzad ia-vardi gepinos




Mother-in-law's Lament


(voice 1)

Your sweet soul, my darling mother-in-law

Why have you blackened my dress, mother-in-law

I am mournful, how could we feast?

My darling, mother-in-law

Your sweet soul, my darling mother-in-law


(voice 2)

Hold on, woman

I also want to say a word or two

For my sweet mother-in-law

Not sweet, mt’iralno1

But in the cold miserable grave

It’s your fault that you will no longer be here.


(voice 1)

My darling mother-in-law

Your sweet soul, my darling mother-in-law

Go, mother-in-law

Bless us, we decorate your road with violets and roses



1The lamenting women who cry over the body of the deceased.

Nelkarisi Ensemble - Salaghobo
+ Song Info

A love song.

+ Lyrics

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




Ts’qaros tavze gogo midis tsisk’arivita

Gogoa tu ts’qaros ts’qalma mze airida

Shen zghva khar da me am zghvaze daval t’ivita

Shen rom ara t’algha gulze gadamivlida


Gogoa tu mze gashlila ts’qaltan ia da

Gogoa tu gazapkhuli amomzianda

Shevkhede da gulis k’ari damcha ghiada

Mitkhar maints mosvla khom ar damagvianda


Aprenili k’ent’i ts’ero t’iris ghrublebtan

Ts’eroa tu chemi guli mzestana mivida

Modi prtebi dagiamo gulis ubita

Ts’qaros tavze gogo midis tsisk’arivita

Nelkarisi Ensemble - Ghvtis K’arze Satkmeli Iavnana
+ Song Info

This song is a healing song/lullaby for children that was originally recorded in Shilda in 1957 by ethnomusicologist Grigol Chkhik'vadze. 


Iavnanas were traditionally sung in Georgia and throughout the Caucasus to ward off spirits, also called ''lords'' (bat'onebi), that brought sicknesses such as smallpox, measles and mumps to children. 


The follow excerpt about the Iavnana is taken from page 125 of ''Violet on the Mountain: An Anthology of Georgian Folk Poetry,'' translated and edited by Kevin Tuite.  It begins by speaking about the violet and the rose, two flowers that are frequently referenced in the Iavnana songs:


''Kot'et'ishvili notes that in a certain folk tale, the violet is associated with the 'queen of the underworld,' and the rose with its king. In both cases, the violet is linked with a woman and the rose with a man. The Western reader would never imagine that this charming lullaby, with its sumptuous images of satin, gold, and rubies, was addressed to the supernatural beings that the traditional Caucasians dreaded more than others.  The word 'lords' (bat'onebi) is a euphemism for those contagious diseases, measles and smallpox, which until recently exacted a horrible toll of death and disfigurement among the children of the Caucasus.''


+ Lyrics

Ghvtis K’arze Satkmeli Iavnana


Nana nanao

Mze sivrisa okros buchkebs ch’amen

Sakartvelos tavzemdebare deda

Mzisa da mtvarisa


Iavnana nanina

Nanebit mogmartavo

Uplis dedopalo dedao mariamo

Ieso krist’ev dzev ghvtisao ghvtisp’iro kebisao

Jvarta da amaghlebisao


Iavnanao haida da mravalzhamier

Nanebit mogmartavo

Tamar mots’ameo, mtavar angeloz

Samebav ert arsebao

Bevrt khat’is damrkmelisao

Magdan deda moiavnane

Modaire khelkmnisao


Iavna da ho ho ho

Haida da mravalzhamier

Nanebit mogmartavo

Ts’qaros tavs ts’minda giorgi

Alaverdo gulisao

Sakartvelo dedabodzo ketevano

Uk’vdavo sulisao

Dideba keba tkvents uk’vdavebaso


Iavna da ho ho ho

Haida da mravalzhamiero

Nanebit mogmartavo

Ats’quris tavs mjdomari giorgi mosamartleo

Shuamtis ghvtismshobelo nino ts’mindav kartvelta



Nino ts'mindav kartvelta ganmanatlebelo


Dido saupliano dido sadzirk'vliano

Da samartliano

Iavna da ho ho ho

Haida da mravalzhamiero

Nanebit mogmartavo


Gavazo giorgi dido salotsavo nek'resa ghvtismshobelo

Kartvelo k'atso mkhvnel-mtesavo okroi gutniano

Iav da ho ho ho, haida da nana mravalzhamiero

Nanebit mogmartav dido k'op'ale

Deditgan uk'vdavi ivane natlis mtsemlisa

Svet'itskhovelo tsodva da madliano khisao

Mamata sadzmo sauplo k'etilad damitulisao

Iav da ho ho ho

Haida da nanina mravalzhamiero

Nanebit mogmartavo


Uk'anch'lis ts'minda giorgi mogzauro khakhmat'o

khmalo khmalunisao ivris tavs mbrdzanebelo dido


Dido sadzirk'vliano da dido simartliano

Iav da ho ho ho

Haida da mravalzhamiero

Nanebit mogmartavo


Ts'amlis dedav dido dzirk'viano dido mkhriano

Dido dodebiano lagh lasharis jvrisao

Dedav tamaris dzel ch'eshmarit'o usakhlk'aro binao

Keba p'iri ghvtisao

Didi da didi bat'onisa lasharis damrigeblisao

Iav da ho ho ho, haida da mravalzhamiero


Raa ivris tsarela midamo

Kveqna iqo darchomitao

P'at'ara shvilebi gvachuke didi iverta siskhlisa

Tsot'a madlit tsodviani kveqana dagvikhsenito

Ts'aghma ro chahgvibrune vazhk'atsebi marjvenitao

Iav da ho ho ho, haida da mravalzhamiero


Gaumarjos dghe ghame mze mtvare varsk'vlav mnatobta

Aghmosavlet dasavlet chrdiloet samkhretsa

Shav zghvidan shav zghvamde

Tetri matrakhit mat'arebeli giorgisao da

Iav da ho ho ho, haida da mraval da zhamiero


Gaumarjos samassamotsdasam ts'minda giorgebsa

Qvelaze did msjavrdebelsa

Dideba dzalasa mshvidoba sakartvelosa chvensao

iav da ho ho ho,

Haida da nanina mravalzhamiero


The following translation is from the digitalized liner notes of Mzetamze Ensemble's album Vol 1. Traditional Georgian Women's Songs.



Iavnana to be Sung at the Gate of God

Iavnana, vardos nana, iavnanina 

Let roses and violets cover all the land of our country, Georgia, iavnanina 

Hail to the Cross of Lashari*, hail to all sacred places in all four directions, iavnanina 

Praise to the Heavenly Father, induce the sky and clouds to be peaceful, bestow us with men.

If there are no men, what about us women?, iavnanina 

Hail to the heart K'akheti-Alaverdi, iavnanina

Glory, glory to victorious great lord, Saint George of Lashari, power of God, iavnanina 

Hail to the heart K’akheti-Alaverdi, to the lance of our judge Giorgi, iavnanina

Glory, glory to the martyr St George, who suffered with his flesh, we ourselves implore you, holy martyr Giorgi, help those, who pray,

who hail and praise you, iavnanina 

Hail and praise to St George of Gavazi, the son of Leks, iavnanina,

Glory and victory to our victorious father Nek’ressi, the magnificent who calms down the sky and clouds and does not deprive us

from the Holy Sacrement, part of God, the field is ploughed by the strength of the oxen’s neck, iavnanina 

Hail and praise to our father Nek’ressi, the mother of god, the mother who has given birth to God, Iavnanina                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

*The cross of Lashari, Alaverdi, Nek’ressi, and Gavazi are holy relics and churches in Pshavi and K’akheti respectively.