Nanina Ensemble

Nanina is a women’s ensembed that was formed in 2007 in Telavi, the largest town in K’akheti


Under the directorship of Nino Bakradze, Nanina's repertoire is energy-infused and eclectic. The ensemble mixes older folk music with newer arrangements in an effort to keep the spirit of Georgia's traditional music alive.


Ensemble members at the time of recording: Maia Akhmet’eli; Nino Bakradze; Bela Zurabishvili; Lalisa Bagaeva; Ia Ghviniashvili; Keti Zardiashvili; Nona Burdzenidze; Olia Jajanashvili; Nino Mark’ozashvili; Mzia Mech’urch’lishvili; Zizi Margalit’ashvili; Iza Kartvelishvili

Ensemble Nanina - Mepe Erek'les Dat'ireba
+ Song Info

A dirge for King Erek’le II from Kartli who died in 1798.


This mourning song commemorates the last King of Georgia before the country was annexed by Russia. 


This song was originally collected in the early 20th century by Ia Kargareteli.  

+ Lyrics

Mepe Erek’les Dat’ireba 


Ver sheiqveta kartvelno

Rk’inis shegat’qdat khmalia

Mogik’vdat mepe erek’le,

Bagrat’ionta gvaria

T’irisa erek’les tsoli

Vah shvileb tkveni bralia

Adeki mepev, adeki

Nu dagvioble qmania

Daibarebdi tush-pshavni

Sheni naunjni arian

Gadmovlen mogeshveleba

Iginits shenni dzmania




King Erek'les Mourning Song


Georgians, have you heard

That your iron sword has broken?

That King Erek'le has died

One of the Bagrat'ionis 

Erek’les wife cries

Our poor children, Erek’le!

Wake up King, wake up!

We are orphans without you

The Tushetians and the Pshavs

Your devoted soldiers

Experienced in war

The Mtiul, their brothers1

Are also ready to fight with you


1The Mtiul people were the first to rise against Russia's annexation of Georgia in 1801, after King Erek'le II's death.

Ensemble Nanina - K'akhetze
+ Song Info

This song is based on a poem by Ioseb Noneshvili (1921-1980).  


In her book ''An Anthology of Georgian Poetry'', Venera Urushadze writes of Noneshvili that he has ''travelled much and the varied scenes and people he has seen and met are reflected in many of his poems with a simplicity of style and masterly choice of words and expression (pg 218)''.


The singing of Ilia Zakaidze, one of Georgia’s most famous 20th century singers, made this song famous.


To hear another version of this song, visit the page of Tamuna Beridze.

+ Lyrics


(scroll down for English translation)

Tsiv gomboridan simgherit
Sitsotskhlis gadmosakhedi
Moschans iisper ghrublebshi
K’akheti, chveni k’akheti, he he he…

         Ai, k’akheti mtebs da velebze
         Rom ar tskhreboda mt’rebis tareshi
         Tval motsimtsime kalishvilebi
         Qvavilebivit chanan qanebshi

Ghrublebi amaghlebula

Vit alaverdis t’adzari
Pikrivit mimopant’ula
Nangrevebi da natsari, he he he…

         Natsikharebi hqvavis amier
         Atasi ts’lobit gadabuguli
         Gadarbaislon mravalzhamier
         Gulidan gulze galobs bulbuli


Gzebs zemot didi marani

Dats uli t’qeshi charguli

Mteli k’vira rkats’itels

Kvevrebshi gakvs chkapuni


         Bich’ebi uk’ve qurdzens sts’uraven

         Kvevrebshi okros shuki ighvreba

         Moschkebs mach’ari da guls sts’quria

        Sheni simgheris sheni dideba






From the Tsiv-Gombori2 mountains in song

Life’s view can be seen

In the violet clouds

K’akheti, our K’akheti

     Ah, K’akheti, mountains and valleys

     Stifling the enemies' raids,

     The twinkling of our Daughters’ eyes

     Lights up the cornfields like flowers


The clouds rise

Like Alaverdi Cathedral3

And in a thought, dispersing

The ruins and ashes

    One thousand years incinerated

    Long life!

    The nightingale sacredly sings

    From heart to heart.


Above the road is a big wine cellar

For an entire week

The rkats'iteli4

Splashes in the kvevri5  

     The boys are already filtering the grapes

     In the kvevri is a golden light

     The new wine streams, the heart is thirsty

     For your song, your glory



1Situated in eastern Georgia, K'akheti is a region that centuries ago was an independent kingdom. Telavi is the capital of K'akheti.


2A mountain range within the Caucaus Mountains in K'akheti, which separates the Iori and Alazani river valleys. Telavi lies at its foothills.


3A famous monastery in the eastern Georgian region of K'akheti.  The monastery was founded in the 6th century by Joseph Alaverdeli from Antioch, one of the Thirteen Assyrian Fathers.


4One of the oldest grape varieties in Georgia, rkats'iteli produces a sweet white wine. Read more about it here


5A large earthenware vessel used for the fermentation and storage of wine in Georgia. Read more about the kvevri here.  

Nanina Ensemble - Vazhav Sulmnato
+ Song Info

A song about Vazha-Pshavela.1


1Luka Razikashvili (1861-1916) was one of Georgia’s most famous poets and writers. He wrote under the pen name Vazha-Pshavela, which literally means ''son from Pshavi.'' He was born and raised in the village of Chargali where a museum for him, opened in 1961, exists today.

+ Lyrics

Vazhav Sulmnato

(scroll down for English translation)


Vazhav sulmnato

Dghes mtebi aghar t’iris

/Sajikhveebis tavze

Iremi laghad qviris/


/Dairairiraro, Dairairiraro, Dairairiraro ra/


Aluda lukhumi

Mtidan daeshvnen barad

/Mt’ers sheesivnen dastskhes

Siskhli ts’avida ghvarad/


/Dairairiraro, Dairairiraro, Dairairiraro ra/


Vazhav sulmnato

Dghes mtebi aghar t’iris

/Sajikhveebis tavze

Iremi laghad qviris/


/Dairairiraro, Dairairiraro, Dairairiraro ra/




Vazha,1 You Luminary Soul


Vazha, you luminary soul!

Today the mountains no longer cry

Alongside the wild goats2

The deer shouts freely


Aluda, Lukhumi3

They came from the mountains to the plains

They assailed the enemy

Blood flowed in torrents


Vazha, you luminary soul!

Today the mountains no longer cry

Alongside the wild goats2

The deer shouts freely


1Luka Razikashvili (1861-1916) was one of Georgia’s most famous poets and writers. He wrote under the pen name Vazha-Pshavela, which literally means ''son from Pshavi.'' He was born and raised in the village of Chargali where a museum for him, opened in 1961, exists today.


2The Caucasian tur, a mountain-dwelling caprid found in most of the Caucasus. They live in rough mountainous terrain between 800 and 4,000 meters above sea level.


3Characters from the writings of Vazha-Pshavela.

Ensemble Nanina - Telavze
+ Song Info

A patriotic song about Telavi, the main city of the eastern region of K'akheti.


This song was composed by a wife-husband team: Nona Burdzenidze, a member of Nanina Ensemble, wrote the music and her husband, Zura Begiashvili, wrote the text. 



+ Lyrics


Text: Zura Begiashvili

Music: Nona Burdzenidze


(scroll down for English translation)


Gamoighvidze Telavo

Gamoachine sark’meli

/Sauk’uneta mtelavo

Bevri gakvs k’idev satkmeli/


Gamoighvidze gamodi

Sit’qva gvitkhari kartuli

/Rom shvilta shenta gulebi

Simebshi iqo chartuli/


Rom pikri shentan mosuli

Mzis skhivit iknas nateli

/Rom arasodes dak’argo

Shen moghighine kartveli/


Inteba gakhda kalaki

Shtamomavalis salkhenad

/Rom shenit didad vamaqob

Mich’irda amis gamkhela/


Gamoighvidze Telavo

Gamoachine sark’meli

/Sauk’uneta mtelavo

Kartulad gvitkhar satkmeli/






Wake up, Telavi!

Open your window 

As a survivor of the centuries

You still have more history to make


Wake up, come out!

Give us your Georgian prose

The heartbeats of your children 

Blend in with the sound of strings2


The thoughts that visit you

Are brightened by the sunshine

You will never lose

Your crooning Georgian


The city became illuminated

With celebration for the new generation

It is hard for us to find the words

For how proud we are of you


Wake up, Telavi!

Open your window 

As a survivor of the centuries

You still have more history to make


1A city in eastern Georgia where Nanina Ensemble is from. It is the capital of K'akheti and considered by many to be the ''heart'' of the region.  Telavi has an old and interesting history - read more about it here.  


2The strings of the panduri, a three-stringed lute played throughout the regions of eastern Georgia. 

Ensemble Nanina - Chveni Mkhare
+ Song Info

A patriotic song about Georgia.  


This song was also sung by the well-known singer Teona Kumsiashvili.

+ Lyrics

Chveni Mkhare

(scroll down for English translation)


Chveno samshoblos mtsvelebo

Ts’in k’avk’asis t’qisao

Bagh-venakhebi mortulo

Simdidrev chveno mkhrisao


/Gavlaghebul vart simgherit

Shemqre sheni tsisao

Tsivi ts’qaroni shegvisvams

Nazhuri sheni k’ldisao/


Niavs gvigzavnis kheoba

Sheni shriala tmisao

Saamo sanakhavia

Navardi arts’ivisao


/Gvakharebs ialaghebi

Sheni k’ldeni da prialo

Shen sadideblad simghera

Rogor ar avakhmiano/


/He heida harale

Haralali harale/




Our Country


The defenders of our country

In front of the Caucasus’s forests

The richness of our region

Decorated with garden vineyards


We are happy in song

Reflected by your sky

We've drunk from the cold springs

Trickling from your cliffs


The gorge sends a breeze

Through your rustling hair

The flight of an eagle

Is a pleasant site to see


Your pastures and steep cliffs

Give us satisfaction

How could we not praise you

With a song

Nanina Ensemble - Bakht'rionidan Gitskerdi
+ Song Info

This song, well-known throughout Georgia, was first collected by Ketevan Baishvili in Chabano Village in 1977.



+ Lyrics

Bakht’rionidan Gitskerdi

(scroll down for English translation)


Bakht’rionidan gitskerdi, Lamazo tushis kalao

/Me guli gadagishale, shen siqvarulsa malao/


Bakht’rionidan gitskerdi gamiatk’etsda survili

/Chamovirbine khevebi nislebit chamoburuli/


Shenma lamazma tvalebma me guli amimgherao

Bakht’rionidan daveshvi rogorats ega dzerao

Gogona me shens siqvaruls verasdros davtmov verao


Ais ghrublebi miqvaran orolaze rom diano

/Ertmanetisa shaqrasa kharoben meeliano/


Shaiqrebian ertada mananas chamaiqriano

/Rats unda bevri etsadon chven erturts gagvqriano/




Gazing At You From Distant Bakht’rioni1


Gazing at you from distant Bakht’rioni

Beautiful Tushetian maid

My heart opened wide with your love out of sight

Gazing at you from distant Bakht’rioni aroused my desire

Through smoky gorges, I rushed as if on fire

Your beautiful eyes brought a song to my heart

From distant Bakht’rioni, I rushed like a hawk

From your beauty and love, I shall never part

I love the clouds that in couples drift

Filled with the promise of unison’s gift

Once united soft rains will start

Whoever may dare will not tear us apart


1A 17th century fortress, today in ruins, originally served as an outpost of the Persian Safavid Dynasty in the 1650’s, until Georgian highlanders and plains people joined together in a surprise attack in 1659. Read more about it here

Ensemble Nanina - Sanamde Viaro Ushenod Shara-khevs
+ Song Info

A love song made famous by the singing of Teona Kumsiashvili.

+ Lyrics

Sanamde Viaro Ushenod Shara-khevs

(scroll down for English translation)


Net’a shen shavo aragvo

Agharts rame gakvs sanaghvlo

/Uqvarkhar aragvs tetrasa

Aravis dasdev samadlod/


Sanamde viaro ushenod shara-khevs

Erturti shoridan sanamde vakhedot

/Shen surnels inakhavs tmebi da titebi

Shen khels chanavlebi p’erangis saqelo/


Ts’aval da davtelav ushenod maqvlians

Naek’lshi t’k’ivili leksebad mozhonavs

/Ts’ut tvals maqoleben k’atsebi avghiad

Kalebi chum-chumad kokolas maqrian/


Ts’aval da gamqveba shurida kilik’i

Rit’mebits sashenod ts’indebs vksov shibians

/Mertskhlebma itsian shen gza da bilik’i

Leksebs da otsnebebs ak sul skhva khibli akvs/




How Long Will I Be Without You


I wonder, Black Aragvi1

If you have anything more to mourn?

Only the White Aragvi loves you

No one else pities you


How long will I be without you?

When shall we see one another again?

Your hair and fingers left their scent

On the collar of my shirt 


I will walk without you in the blackberry bushes

Poetry will rise from the pain of the thorns

The foul stares of men accompany me

While women only wish for me damnation


I'll leave and you will follow me in envy

I’ll sew socks that suit you well

The swallows know your every move

Here poems and dreams have a different charm


1The Black Aragvi flows through Gudamaqari and is one of the main tributaries of the Aragvi River, which is the major river of the eastern Georgian highlands of Khevsureti, Mtiuleti and Pshavi. The Black Aragvi flows into the White Aragvi at Pasanauri.  

Ensemble Nanina - Heri Bich’o, Shairi
+ Song Info

A shairi1 about a village matchmaker.  


This song was first collected by Nat’o Zumbadze in Qvareli in 1986.


1The world ''shairi'' means a short poetic verse – The practice of shairoba was found in the northeast highlands of Georgia, where two singers would alternate improvisational comical verses, often above the drone of other singers at the table.

+ Lyrics

Heri Bich’o, Shairi

(scroll down for English translation)


Shairoba momindomet shua gazapkhulshia

/Ekhla shevit’qob qvelapers vis ra gidevt gulshia/

Heri bich’o herio, imitvina vmgherio

Tu agre vimkhiarulet, rai gadvak’lebs mt’erio

Heri bich’o heri, heri, imitvina vmgherio, he


Sul siberes imizezebt, khmashi khrints’i gerevat

/Simghera da leksaoba ertmanetshi gerevat/

Heri bich’o herio…


Kalo aket maikhede, keto khar tu savle kharo,

/Sheni mach’ank’loba minda, guli unda gagikharo/

Heri bich’o herio…


Gatkhoveba ro mindodes gana egre dznelia

Mach’ank’loba dagits’qia, sakme gamogelia

Heri bich’o herio…


Sopel-sopel siarulshi mtlad dageskhat ret’ia

Net’ai sad shaiqaret, emagdeni tset’ia

Heri bich’o herio…




The translation below was taken from the liner notes of Mzetamze's album ''Traditional Georgian Women's Songs. Vol I:'' 


You are so eager to improvise verses

In the middle of spring.

I will find out easily what is in your heart.


You always blame it on age,

When croaking interferes with the voices,

When you mix singing and reciting poetry


Child, look at me, whether you are Keto or Savle,

I want to make your match,

To fill your heart with joy.


If I really wanted to marry,

It would be difficult for you to match make,

As you would have nothing to do.


You go from village to village

Acting completely foolish,

Where can one otherwise

Find such a large number of crazies?

Ensemble Nanina - Kals Erti Unda Uqvardes
+ Song Info

A love song.

+ Lyrics

Kals Erti Unda Uqvardes 

(scroll down for English translation)


Kals erti unda uqvardes

Da ara mteli parao

/Mets erti miqvars am kveqnad

Miqvars da artsa vmalao/


Shen damit’ire lamazo

Sheni shavisa tvalita

/Tu vera gnakhav davdnebi

Rogorts mtis tovli namita/


Dilit mze amosuiqo

Shen amousts’ar ts’inao

/Tu chemi ndoba ara gakvs

Net’avi matsodinao/


Kals erti unda uqvardes

Da ara mteli parao




A Woman Shall Love Only One


A woman shall love only one

And not the entire flock

I also love only one in this world

I love him and I'm not hiding it


Cry for me, beautiful

With your black eyes

If I can’t see you, I'll melt

Like the snow on the mountain


In the morning the sun came

But you exceeded it

I wish to know

If you will have faith in me


A woman shall love only one

And not the entire flock

Ensemble Nanina - Lashkruli
+ Song Info

A march, normally sung by men.

+ 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 udpate the page.




Ts’qalsa mohkonda napot’i

Alvis khis chamonatali


Dadek napot’i miambe

Sad vin ra dagabarao


Megobari khom ar nakhe

Bevrjer shents nap’irs mdgarao


Tu khan et’qob ar miglovda

Tvals tsremli khom ar hqvanao


Lashkrad ts’asul da dzmebtana

Rdzalma ra dagabarao

Nanina Ensemble - Imav Mtazeda
+ Song Info

This song is based on a longer folk poem, a version of which can be found below.


The following poem is taking from ''Violet on the Mountain: An Anthology of Georgian Folk Poetry,'' translated and edited by Kevin Tuite. For access to the entire anthology which is in two PDFs, click here (part I) and  here (part II).


Violet On The Mountain


Violet on the mountain, on the snowy mountain,

I planted a violet, up came a rose,

Violets to my ankles, roses to my neck,

A herd of deer came over this way.

May they graze freely, but trample them not.

The groom went out with his father-in-law,

They met on the mountain a large-antlered buck.

The son-in-law shot — he killed the buck.

The father-in-law shot — he killed the groom.

— ''Barbara, my child, what can I tell you?

I killed your husband, don’t kill yourself.'' 

— ''May you, my father, my father so noble

Never find rest from the sin you have done.

When I asked to marry, you would not let me,

Now I am married — you killed my husband.''

Give me a hatchet, to cut me a path,

Give me a candle, to light me the way!

— Go up the valley and go down the valley

There you will find the one you had loved.

I went up the valley and went down the valley

And there I found him, the one I had loved.

A raven perched on him, tore at his eyes . . .

— Scram, raven, scram, insatiable one!

Tear not his eyes:

There was a time he saw me with them.

A raven perched on him, tore at his arms . . .

— Scram, raven, scram, insatiable one!

Tear not his arms:

There was a time he embraced me with them.

A raven perched on him, tore at his lips . . .

— Scram, raven, scram, insatiable one!

Tear not his lips:

There was a time he kissed me with them


The following explanation is also taken from ''Violet on the Mountain: An Anthology of Georgian Folk Poetry,'' page 135, translated and edited by Kevin Tuite


''In the exagamous and virilocal societies of the South Caucasus, a young woman traditionally left her village in order to marry. At the same time, outsiders were regarded with a measure of suspicion, and consent to marriage was only obtained from the woman's parents after lengthy negotiations and the exchanges of gifts. One way out of this predicament was marriage by abduction, and in fact this was once a common occurrence in the Caucasus.  In most cases, the ''abduction'' was agreed to in advance by both families. Still, the form, if not the spirit, of the practice had to be observed, and a squad of the groom's friends (maq'rebi) were dispatched to the bride's village to escort her to the church.  Along the way, the maq'rebi shouted and fired their rifles into the air, a vestige of their original function.  In the event of an actual hostile abduction, the male relatives of the captured bride were expected to take up arms and fight to get her back.  The killing of the newly-married young man by his father-in-law in the poem harks back to this practice. But the bride, who no longer wants to be treated as her father's cattel, protests her predicament.  The opening of the poem, I believe, tells the same story in symbolic language.  Evidence from other texts shows that the violet has female connotations, and the rose is its masculine counterpart.  The parents sow a violet (the bride, their offspring), but a rose (the groom) appears. The male deer represents the bride's father; she implores him not to trample her beloved, the rose.''

+ Lyrics

Imav Mtazeda

(scroll down for English translation)


Imav mtazeda varalo, imav mtazeda-o

/Imav mtazeda varalo tovlianzeda-o/


Ia davtese varalo, ia davtese-o

/Ia davtese varalo, vardi mosula-o/


Ia k’och’amdis varalo, ia k’och’amdiis-o

/Ia k’och’amdis varalo, vardi mukhlamdis-o/


Irmisa jogi varlalo, irmisa jogi-o

/Irmisa jogi varlalo,  shemochveula-o/


Net’av edzovat varlalo, net’av edzovat-o

/Net’av edzovat varlalo, ar gaetelat-o/




Violet On The Mountain


I’m on the same hill

The same snowy hill


I planted a violet

A rose bloomed as well


The violet grew up to my ankle

And the rose up to my knee


A deer herd dwelled nearby

On the same hill


I hoped they’d just eat the grass

But they toppled the violet and the rose