Mikheil Ch'inch'arauli (1936-2014)
Shat'ili

Mikha was born in 1936 in Shat'ili, a highland village in Khevsureti close to the border of Chechnya. The village itself is a tower complex, where both he and his sister Mariam Ch’inch’arauli were raised.

 

In 1952 when the population of Khevsureti was forcibly resettled by the Soviets, Mikha was moved to K’akheti where he later met his wife.  He trained in Tbilisi as an economist and in 1982 returned with his family to Shat’ili, where he worked for the local government and wrote a book about his village.

 

Until his death on April 9th,2015, Mikheil and his wife lived there year-round, even through harsh winters that cut off their village from the rest of the country. 

 

Mikha was known throughout Khevsureti as a phenomenal singer and panduri player,1 and a precious keeper of ancient knowledge. 

 

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

Mikhael Ch'inch'arauli - Nana, Torghvas Kali
+ Song Info

A folk poem from Tusheti about Leks1 raiding a Tush village. 

 

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 and 19th century, regularly invading and raiding the valleys of Kakheti. Today, Georgians refer to all tribes from Dagestan as ''lek.''

+ Lyrics

Nana, Torghvas Kali

(scroll down for English translation)

 

Chighos ts’iskvilshi at’irda

Nana torghvais kalia

Shenoma chemo torghvao

Numts shagimbia khmalia

Numts gikhotsian lek’ebi

Numts gidenavis tskhvaria

Shamik’res gamosavali

Lek’ta ts’iskvilis k’aria

Me tushishvileb megona

Lek’t shamaats’qves jaria

Shig chamikhotsnes dzma-shimshni

Imit davich’ren tmania

Ubes chamiskhes khelebi

Mibrunven siskhlis t’bania

Pekhshishvels gadmomavlivnes

Tvirtvilianna mtania

Chavmarkhen saqur-bech’edni

Imit chavnishner gzania

Gamoviride zalt’ei

Tushebm daigan k’valia

Utkhridit chighoelebsa

Khakhons uch’iran mkharea

Chemma sakmarem khits’vama

Maghla shaibas khmalia

Shuaghamis dros movides

Khakhonis topis khmania

Datvalet lek’is shvilebo

Khits’vais nakhanjlaria

 

Translation:

 

Nana, Torghva's Daughter

 

At the mill in Chigho1

Torghva's daughter Nana cried:

''Torghva, my father

Don't prepare your sword

Don't go kill the Leks2

Look after the flock

 

They had the mill doors closed on me

At first I thought it was our people

But it was the Leks who had gathered an army

 

They slaughtered my brothers

Because of this I cut off my hair

They captured me

We walked over lakes of blood

They carried me barefoot over the mountains

I marked the path

By burying my rings and earrings

The Tush will know when they see the trail

About the people of Chigho

 

The Leks headed to Khakhoni

Tell my fiancé, Khitsva

To prepare his sword

And by midnight, Leks

By the gunshots in Khakhoni

You will count the number of your children

That are dead by the hand of Khitsva''

 

1A remote village in the highland of Tusheti

 

2Leks / 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 and 19th century, regularly invading and raiding the valleys of Kakheti. Today, Georgians refer to as ''lek'' all the tribes from Dagestan.