Meri Jikhoshvili
Zemo Alvani

A Ts’ova-Tush woman born and raised at the foothills of the Tusheti Mountains in Zemo Alvani, Meri works at the local club and is a member of K'eselo Ensemble.  Meri has a wonderful sense of humor and is extraordinarily musical. Attracted to the garmoni1 at a young age, she has enjoyed playing and singing songs in both the Bats and Georgian language ever since.

 

Please visit UNESCO's Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger to learn more about the Bats language. For more information on the Ts'ova-Tush, as well as other minority groups in the Caucasus, visit Batsav, an informative website created by A.J.T. Bainbridge.

 

To hear other artists from Zemo Alvani, visit the pages of Nino Arindauli, Pat'ima Bartishvili, Ts’ovata Ensemble and K’eselo Ensemble.

 

1A button accordion that originated in Russia and plays an important role in the musical tradition of the Tush in Georgia, as well as in other regions throughout the Caucasus. Read more about the garmoni here

T'iv
+ Song Info

Meri took this ballad which was originally in Georgian and translated it into Bats, a severely endangered language spoken by the Ts'ova-Tush.  

 

To listen to the Georgian version of this song called ''Khidi,'' visit the page of Nik'oloz Gigoshvili.

 

To hear more songs in the Bats language, visit the pages of Pat'ima Bartishvili, Nino Arindauli and Ts'ovata Ensemble.

+ Lyrics

T’iv

(scroll down for English translation)

 

Phe bolo lamzurch mindrea

Tsha lamzur k’ats’k’o t’iv dao

Et’ivev veetsin chu ikho

Et’ivev verge sharn ikho

 

Se eg et’ivev lelina

Uk’ve dheuzt’q sho daelo

Se agas leod e t’iven

Tamar khanduna daelo

 

T’iv khum maintsa disola

Dakheeme t’ivkhum t’ivda

Menish ts’inish chuikha

Menish t’qo dukhtso daghoga

 

Translation:

 

Bridge

 

In the valley at the end of the village 

Is a small bridge

Over this bridge we all cross 

And from this bridge we will depart from each other

 

My grandmother has crossed this bridge

For eighty years

She says that this bridge

Is from Tamar’s time1

 

The bridge will remain

It is what it is

Some will enter over it for the first time

While others will exit by it forever.

 

1Referring  to Tamar of Georgia, who reigned as queen of the country from 1184-1213 during Georgia's Golden Age. She was so beloved that Georgians refer to her to this day as ''Tamar Mepe'' or King Tamar.  She remains a very important cultural symbol, and has been canonized by the Georgian Orthodox Church as Holy Righteous King Tamar.

Spoken Text - T'iv
+ Song Info

''T'iv'' is sung in the severally endangered Bats language.   Here, in order for us to better hear the language, Meri reads the poem.

 

To hear more songs in the Bats language, visit the pages of Pat'ima BartishviliNino Arindauli, and Ensemble Ts'ovata.

 

Please visit UNESCO’s Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger to learn more about the Bats language. To learn more about the Ts’ova Tush, and other minority groups in the Caucasus, read on at Batsav, an informative website created by A.J.T. Bainbridge.

+ Lyrics

T’iv

(scroll down for English translation)

 

Phe bolo lamzurch mindrea

Tsha lamzur k’ats’k’o t’iv dao

Et’ivev veetsin chu ikho

Et’ivev verge sharn ikho

 

Se eg et’ivev lelina

Uk’ve dheuzt’q sho daelo

Se agas leod e t’iven

Tamar khanduna daelo

 

T’iv khum maintsa disola

Dakheeme t’ivkhum t’ivda

Menish ts’inish chuikha

Menish t’qo dukhtso daghoga

 

Translation:

 

Bridge

 

At the end of the village, in the field

Is one small bridge

Together we are coming by this bridge

From one another we are going by this bridge

 

My grandmother has crossed this bridge

For eighty years

Grandmother says that this bridge

Is from Tamar’s time1

 

The bridge still remains

Because a bridge is a bridge

Some will enter by it for the first time

And some for the final time will leave

 

1Referring to Tamar of Georgia, who reigned as queen of the country from 1184-1213 during Georgia's Golden Age. She was so beloved that Georgians refer to her to this day as ''Tamar Mepe'' or King Tamar.  She remains a very important cultural symbol, and has been canonized by the Georgian Orthodox Church as Holy Righteous King Tamar.

Tushita
+ Song Info

Meri sings this beautiful ballad about Tusheti, originally in Georgian, in the severely endangered Bats language.

 

To hear more songs in the Bats language, visit the pages of Pat'ima BartishviliNino Arindauli and Ts'ovata Ensemble.

+ Lyrics

Tushita

(scroll down for English translation)

 

Michhe me gazapkhula chu ikho hedlasha

Michhe me sajikhvi mag lav dahatso dasha

Michhe me alzana tsoiag sher gonmaka

Michhe me veghechnakhi dakhara debllara

 

Halhabi k’urelcha qikhduts’inch qevberna

Perdi mak gudalhe ialagh t’iali

Iut’ase iets’ase elamzurch metkhekha

Dak’levar tsodest’sokh homaka t’iali

 

Aloshog lamzura ghazghaze maqisha

Emaqish aloshog elamzurch lamnirna

Eqmetkhech badriv me met’badio denola

Elomrem bubukia Alvin dahoshona

 

Translation:

 

Tusheti

 

There is where spring begins in June

There is where the house of the oryx is

Where the snow does not fall

There is where the Alazani1 storms willfully

There is where a Tush2 man’s life begins

 

There is where colorful socks are sewed

There is where towers were built

There is where you will always love someone

There is where every morning birch trees stand vigil

 

Fog is coming from the sinful ravine

As I go I see the colorless, defiled field

I am going through the beautiful heaven

Oh! I can’t get you out of my head...

 

I will sing darling, these graceful songs – 

I will dedicate these songs to you

From these eternally young mountains

As the children of nature devote their lives,

I will bring the mountains’ flowers to Telavi3

 

 

1The main tributary of the Mt'k'vari River, the Alazani flows through eastern Georgia and into Azerbaijan. The fertile Alazani River Plain is the center of the Georgian wine industry. 

 

2A person from the highland of Tusheti. Read more about the Tush here

 

3The heart of K'akheti, Telavi is the municiple center of the region and is located at the foothills of the Tsiv-Gombori Range. Telavi is close to Alvani, the home of the Tush people sung about in this song. 

Spoken Text - Tushita
+ Song Info

Meri sings ''Tushita'' is in the severely endangered Bats language.  

 

Here, in order for us to better hear the language, she recites the poem.

 

To hear more songs in the Bats language, visit the pages of Pat'ima BartishviliNino Arindauli, and Ts'ovata Ensemble.

 

Please visit UNESCO's Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger to learn more about the Ts’ova language. To learn more about the Ts’ova-Tush, and other minority groups in the Caucasus, read on at Batsav, an informative website created by A.J.T. Bainbridge.

+ Lyrics

Tushita

(scroll down for English translation)

 

Michhe me gazapkhula chu ikho hedlasha

Michhe me sajikhvi mag lav dahatso dasha

Michhe me alzana tsoiag sher gonmaka

Michhe me veghechnakhi dakhara debllara

 

Halhabi k’urelcha qikhduts’inch qevberna

Perdi mak gudalhe ialagh t’iali

Iut’ase iets’ase elamzurch metkhekha

Dak’levar tsodest’sokh homaka t’iali

 

Aloshog lamzura ghazghaze maqisha

Emaqish aloshog elamzurch lamnirna

Eqmetkhech badriv me met’badio denola

Elomrem bubukia Alvin dahoshona

 

Translation:

 

Tusheti

 

There is where spring begins in June

There is where the house of the oryx is

Where the snow does not fall

There is where the Alazani1 storms willfully

There is where a Tush2 man’s life begins

 

There is where colorful socks are sewed

There is where towers were built

There is where you will always love someone

There is where every morning birch trees stand vigil

 

Fog is coming from the sinful ravine

As I go I see the colorless, defiled field

I am going through the beautiful heaven

Oh! I can’t get you out of my head...

 

I will sing darling, these graceful songs – 

I will dedicate these songs to you

From these eternally young mountains

As the children of nature devote their lives,

I will bring the mountains’ flowers to Telavi3

 

 

1The main tributary of the Mt'k'vari River, the Alazani flows through eastern Georgia and into Azerbaijan. The fertile Alazani River Plain is the center of the Georgian wine industry. 

 

2A person from the highland of Tusheti. Read more about the Tush here

 

3The heart of K'akheti, Telavi is the municiple center of the region and is located at the foothills of the Tsiv-Gombori Range. Telavi is close to Alvani, the home of the Tush people sung about in this song. 

Shavi Mandili
+ Song Info

This poem was written some years ago - One of Meri's relatives left to work in Russia. Years passed and the man's mother's only request to her child was to send her a black head scarf. 

 

Her son wrote a poem which he wrapped in the scarf and sent to his mother in Georgia. 

 

Meri set the words of his poem to song.

+ Lyrics

Shavi Mandili

(scroll down for English translation)

 

Es tkhovna iqo, mshobelo sheni

Gulshi vat’are satutad didkhans

Dedav sitsotskhles shavi ar shvenis

Maints vasruleb ras mitkhar, deda

 

Didkhans vedzebe shavi mandili

Ch’aghara tmebi rom dagimshveno

Shavi mandili, shori mandzili

Vit gagetsvitos, dedao chemo

 

Barats gigzavni mandiltan ertad

Shvilis nats’eri gagatbobs, vitsi

Vitsi emduri shens dedis ertas

Nakhvis lodinshi guli ar itsdis

 

Dasrulda qrmoba bolos da bolos

Ambavi mzis da zghap’ari mtvaris

Mets davvazhk’atsdi mats’ukhebs mkholod

Dedav shens tmebshi adre zamtari

 

Punjebiani shavi mandili

Minda ch’aghara tma dagimshveno

Shavi mandili, shori mandzili

Mzit gagetsvitos, dedao chemo

 

Translation:

 

The Black Head Scarf

 

At your request, my dear parent

I carried it tenderly in my heart a long time

Mother, black is not suitable for life

But I did what you asked

 

I searched a long time for this black head scarf

To beautify your gray hair

A black head scarf, a long distance

To be faded, dear mother

 

I am sending you a letter with the scarf

Your child’s writing will warm you

You're upset because your only child is far away

My heart won't rest until I see you

 

At last my adolescence is finished

The story of the sun and the fairytale moon

I became a man and the only thing that bothers me

Is that winter came early to your hair, mother

 

With this black headscarf

I want to make your gray hair beautiful

A black head scarf, a long distance

Faded by the sun, dear mother

Iremi
+ Song Info

This song is based on a poem by Joseph Noneshvili, a famous 20th century Georgian poet.  

 

Venera Urushadze translates Noneshvili's poem in her 1958 Anthology of Georgian Poetry:

 

‘Tis said one lovely moonlight night

A deer came wandering to a pool.

The pool, surrounded by tall reeds,

Lay motionless and tempting cool.

He saw his image mirrored there,

And at the antlers gazed with pride,

But at the long and slender legs

With deep regret and chagrin sighed.

Then suddenly a lion's roar

Awoke him from his reverie,

And in an instant the slighted legs

Like lightning flew across the lea.

Within the covert of the woods

He dashed to find a safe retreat,

But the branches of the thickets caught

The much-coveted antlers neat. 

 

Now give a thought to this old tale

For like the deer, perhaps, your eyes

See but the beauty of your face

Blind to all beneath the skies.

So if in praise you find delight

Then know, remember well, my dear,

Your beauty may destroy you as

The antlers high destroyed the deer.

+ Lyrics

Iremi

(scroll down for English translation)

 

Gamigonia mtvarian ghames

T’bastan mivida erti iremi

T’ba iqo mshvidi, da mok’amk’ame

Shemokhat’uli lerts’mis chrdilebi

 

Tavis landi shemishna morevs

Da ro sinjavda shnosa da iers

Ar moets’ona pekhebi torem

Korbuda rkebma mokhibles dzlier

 

Sts’ored im khanas utsnaur dzalit

Gamoapkhizla lomis ghrialma

Da dats’unebul pekhebma dzalit

Gadaakroles gashlil ialaghs

 

Gadaakroles t’qes sheepara

T’qe daepara gauval buchkebs

Da rotsa bilik’s edzebda ts’amit

Im lamaz rkebit gaeba utseb

 

Rom davupikrdi k’argo, am ambavs

Brdznulia igi da dzvelisdzveli

Im irmebivit shents pikrob albat

De, ase iqos survili sheni

 

Mkholod itsode, itsode mkholod

Tu kebit upro gadairevi

Eg silamaze dagghup’avs isev

Rogorts daghup’a rkebma iremi

 

Translation:

 

This song is based on a poem by Joseph Noneshvili, a famous 20th century Georgian poet. Venera Urushadze translates Noneshvili's poem in her 1958 Anthology of Georgian Poetry:

 

‘Tis said one lovely moonlight night

A deer came wandering to a pool.

The pool, surrounded by tall reeds,

Lay motionless and tempting cool.

He saw his image mirrored there,

And at the antlers gazed with pride,

But at the long and slender legs

With deep regret and chagrin sighed.

Then suddenly a lion's roar

Awoke him from his reverie,

And in an instant the slighted legs

Like lightning flew across the lea.

Within the covert of the woods

He dashed to find a safe retreat,

But the branches of the thickets caught

The much-coveted antlers neat. 

 

Now give a thought to this old tale

For like the deer, perhaps, your eyes

See but the beauty of your face

Blind to all beneath the skies.

So if in praise you find delight

Then know, remember well, my dear,

Your beauty may destroy you as

The antlers high destroyed the deer.''

Danos Tsikhestan Gogona Ijda
+ Song Info

A love song.

+ Lyrics

Danos Tsikhestan Gogona Ijda

(scroll down for English translation)

 

Danos tsikhestan gogona ijda

Ijda da ksovda tushur ch’rel ts’indas

Kvishis chkhrialze shvelivit shek’rta

Shek’rta aento tvalebi ts’minda

 

Chems ts’in dgas igi khelsakmit ukhmod

Me mogonebam shors gadamk’arga

Ikneb is sul skhva gulist’ols ukhmobs

Ikneb ch’rel ts’indas sat’rpostvis kargavs

 

Sivrtse gahk’veta mts’qemsis dzakhilma

Khevebma mistses gabmuli ekho

Gaghma gamkhmari pich’vi dakhrila

Dzirs loddaqrili kheoba edgo

 

Mitkhra ts’avidet mogvists’rebs ts’vima

Gahqva soplisk’en bilik’s tamamad

Gzaze niavi ts’amoets’ia

Mkhrebze nats’navi sheutamasha

Ts’avida gishris nats’navta rkhevit

Ts’avida chumad dudunebs khevi

 

Translation:

 

A Girl Sat By Dano’s Castle
 

A girl sat by Dano’s1 castle

She sat and wove colored Tushetian socks

She shivered at the voice of the moving sand

Her saintly eyes alight
 

She stands in front of me with her needlework, speechless

I lost my memory, far away

Maybe she wishes for a sweetheart

Could it be that she sews colored socks for her love?

 

Space is cut by the call of the shepherd

The ravine giveს the cry a prolonged echo

On the other side of the river, the dry pine tree bent

At the bottom of the gorge are fallen boulders

 

She told me, ''Let’s go, there will be rain''

She boldly took the path towards the village

The breeze followed her on the way

It played with the braid at her side

She went, with a wave of her agate braid

She went, and the ravine murmured quietly

 

1A mountain village in Tusheti, a highland in northeastern Georgia

Mtebo, Ra Lamazebi Khart
+ Song Info

A love song.

+ Lyrics

Mtebo, Ra Lamazebi Khart 

(scroll down for English translation)

 

Mtebo, ra lamazebi khart

Tsad azidulno mkhrebita

Tkvenshiamts davimarkhebi

Chemi qelshurtkha tskhenita

 

Shenze otsnebit kalau

Dabla khe-mtata k’ideni

Tu dasch’irdeba arts’ivsats

Pekhdapekh gavek’idevi

 

Moval da gamogit’atseb

Mtebs gadmogavleb karada

Ik mts’qemsis kokhi dagkhvdeba

Chventvis tavshesaparada

Arts’ivni vazhis mkhrit movlen

Shurtkhni dedoplis maqrada

 

Translation:

 

Mountains, You Are So Beautiful


 

Mountains, you are so beautiful

Built with your shoulders up to the sky

I will be buried inside of you

With my beautifully-necked horse

 

Dreaming of you, woman

Below the edge of the mountain

If there is a need for the eagle, too

I will follow on its heels

 

I will come and capture you

I will take you over the mountains

There we will come upon a shepherd’s hut

For us, it will be refuge

Eagles are coming, from the side of the man1

And snowcocks from the side of the bride

 

1In a Georgian wedding, the groom’s guests are referred to as eagles.

Dzveli Ts'ovri Satsek'vao
+ Song Info

This is an old Bats dance song melody that Meri plays on the garmoni.1  The doli is played by Nino Arindauli.

 

1A button accordion that originated in Russia and plays an important role in the musical tradition of the Tush in Georgia, as well as in other regions throughout the Caucasus. Read more about the garmoni here.  

+ Lyrics

(Instrumental)

Dzveli Ts'ovri Dat'ireba
+ Song Info

This is an old Bats mourning song, the melody of which Meri plays on the garmoni.1

 

To hear another version of this melody, listen to the track entitled ''T'irili'' on Ep'ro Torghvaidze's page.

 

1A button accordion that originated in Russia and plays an important role in the musical tradition of the Tush in Georgia, as well as in other regions throughout the Caucasus. Read more about the garmoni here.  

+ Lyrics

(Instrumental)