K'asletila Ensemble
Udabno

K’asletila is a Svan1 women’s ensemble from Udabno, a settlement of 180 residents in the desert near the border with Azerbaijan.  The members of K’asletila have a unique story that brought them together from the high peaks of the Caucasus to the desert: 

 

On the morning of January 9th 1987 in Svaneti, after four days and four nights of snow so deep the villagers had built tunnels to one another’s homes, a devastating avalanche struck. Many died in the following days, and the residents of the worst-hit villages were relocated to the plains.

 

Today, Pikria Margiani leads this ensemble of ten women.  Through their songs, with grace and courage, the group strives to keep Svan tradition alive in a place much different than the land of their ancestors.

 

Ensemble Members: Pikria Margiani; Khatuna Margiani, Lia P’irveli, Tsutsa Naveriani; Nazi Parjiani; Dodo Parjiani; Nana Gvidani; Tamar Gvidani; Irma Muk’vani; Tamari Tamliani.

 

1Svaneti is a region in northwestern Georgia, perched high in the Caucasus Mountains.  The local language is Svan, one of four Kartvelian languages spoken in Georgia. Due to its isolation, Svaneti more than other regions has retained many of its ancient customs, including its unique choral singing tradition. Most Svan songs are antiphonal, alternating between two choirs, and are performed in a round dance.  The ch'unir, a 3-stringed bowed lute, and the changi, a harp mostly played by women, are frequently used to accompany singing.

K'asletila Ensemble - K’asletila
+ Song Info

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

+ Lyrics

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

 

K’asletila

 

Rero i detsem amt’qvasg usk’vrish zural

Rero i rasharera

Rero i khilzigaleghv k’aslet’ilas

Rero i lazgas jughvan sharbiansha

Rero i kor murqvam jig dadiansha

Rero i dzghvid jitskhip’da sharbiansha

Rero i im lajsurnekh k’akhiansha

Rero i lakhan mkhnid ghvashar sga jibkh

Rero i muhunts’shid maluld jeqad

Rero i mtskhalidghal rach’uld jeqadkh

Rero i rasharera, rero i rasharera…

K'asletila Ensemble - Mirangula
+ Song Info

The explanation of the Svan song Mirangula below comes from the liner notes of Riho Ensemble's album, Vocal Polyphonies From Svaneti, by Frank Kane and Joseph Jordania:

 

''The story of Mirangula is very well known in Svaneti. Mirangula was a young man (in some versions a woman) whose father was killed by North Caucasians. Mirangula went to seek revenge and was badly wounded but still managed to return home. Mirangula’s mother prepared a feast to celebrate his avenging of his father’s murder. But by the time the feast was ready, Mirangula had died of his wounds. His mother did not announce the bad news until the feast was underway. The song is told from the mother’s standpoint and accompanied by the chuniri and changi.''

 

To hear an instrumental version of this song, visit the page of the Pirtskhelani Family Ensemble.

+ Lyrics

Mirangula

(scroll down for English translation)

 

Dedesh dedesh mirangula, dedesh voi dedesh

Dedes isgvam sigar khodras, dedesh voi dedesh

 

Zhiu khogena murqvamtezhi ho (dedesh voi dedesh)

Sadil k’akhshams murqvamd jikhdakh (dedesh voi dedesh)

 

Voi leshkhiiak j’mshish ladegh’ (dedesh voi dedesh)

Mirangula desa eskhvid (dedesh voi dedesh)

 

Translation:

 

The translation of the Svan song Mirangula below comes from the liner notes of Riho Ensemble's Vocal Polyphonies From Svaneti, by Frank Kane and Joseph Jordania:

 

''You belong to your mother, Mirangula,

You were an only child.

She took him to the tower.

She brought him supper there.

Let Wednesday be cursed.

She brought his supper there,

But Mirangula was not alive.''

K'asletila Ensemble - Irinola
+ Song Info

This Svan widow's ballad was first collected in 1960 in Pari (Mest’ia) by Grigol Chkhik’vadze.

 

 

 

+ Lyrics

Irinola

(scroll down for English translation)

 

Irinola marinola dede marinolai

Imtesghrdas si lmkadvne dede marinolai

 

Lachkur mechde lamtilate dede marinolai

Irinola marinola dede marinolai

 

Hagrush meshde lamtilarte dede marinolai

Irinola marinola dede marinolai

 

Irinola oru dieloda marinola

Imte esghrdas, oru dieloda si lamkade

 

Translation:

 

The translation of this song comes from the liner notes of Mzetamze Ensemble's album Vol II: Traditional Georgian Women's Songs. 

 

''Irinola, Marinola, you daughter-in-law of Ioseliani.

You daughter of Chakhagriani.

You had a dun horse.

A saddle ornamented with metal-work on it…

You held a riding whip ornamented with metalwork. 

You are searching for your mother-in-law

And your father-in-law.

So you started to wander, to travel.

You try to find a trace of their disappearance by questioning.

You climbed on a mountain ridge.

You looked back and you caught site of them.

Who lived by themselves and had abandoned Marinola.

What’s the matter, mother-in-law, father-in-law…

I didn’t do anything to you.

I didn’t bring shame on you.

I brought up the orphans for my husband.

I also wanted to look after you.

Now you stay on your own.''

K'asletila Ensemble - Diash Darjl
+ Song Info

A Svan dirge.

 

 

+ Lyrics

Diash Darjl

(scroll down for English translation)

 

Diash darjl imte achad

Voi darjl, diash darjl

Diash darjl imte achad

 

Lamqavs mikhal desa ari

Diash darjl imte achad

 

Translation:

 

A mother cries for her daughter Darjl –

Where did Darjl go?

I thought she was with the other women,

But she wasn’t  

I wonder where she went

She went to the spring

But now she’s not there

Mother cries for Darjl

K'asletila Ensemble - Lile
+ Song Info

Lile is the ancient Svan word for the Sun God.  This song is thought to be one of the oldest songs from the highland of Svaneti.

 

This song explanation comes from the liner notes of Riho Ensemble's album, Vocal Polyphonies From Svaneti, by Frank Kane and Joseph Jordania:

 

''The song is dedicated to the sun and has some interesting parallels with folk songs of the mountain dwellers of the Balkan peninsula. The meter of the song is variable. Lile is mostly known as a song only, although versions with round dances also exist. Ritual songs such as Lile often have very long texts which were probably improvised and used to comment on the action in progress during the rituals (e.g. preparation of animal sacrifices).''

 

To hear an instrumental version of this song, visit the page of Pirtskhelani Family Ensemble.

+ Lyrics

Lile

(scroll down for English translation)

 

O lile o isgvami didabio

Riligva shileda i

Odi o, lile

 

I shaidi oi lile va

Okvrashi samk’alio didabi

Shileda o odi o, lile

 

I shaidi oi lile va

Didabi didabio

Khoshaamaa gherbatsai

 

O li o, lile o

 

Translation:

 

This translation comes from the liner notes of Riho Ensemble's album, Vocal Polyphonies From Svaneti, by Frank Kane and Joseph Jordania:

 

''O Lile o, glory to you,

Rilgwaia shileda odi vo, Lile o

O di voi, Lile da,

A golden decoration for the Archangel,

O di voi, let us pray for our welfare.''

K'asletila Ensemble - Tamar Dedpal
+ Song Info

This is a Svan round dance song about Tamar of Georgia1.  The text refers to a visit of the Queen's to the highland of Svaneti - the text salutes her troops' victory over the invading Turks.

 

1Tamar 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. 

+ Lyrics

Tamar Dedpal

(scroll down for English translation)

 

Shai rada tamar dedpal tatrish meshial

Shaira rera orera

Shai rada abjar askhmul isgu lashgar

Shaira rera orera

Shai rada lat’pars anghri lamshvenate

Shaira rera orera, shai

 

Riliorudelaivo

Tamar dedipal io i vo

I vo ia, ikheshial ivo

Tatrisha ai

Voidai lashgar o

 

Tamara ghvivo

Dedpala, voia imivo sgveji

Dai voi rero sgveji dai

Voi amivo sgveji

Dai tamara dedpala

/Voi amivo sgveji da/

 

Dai tkhum asad jaiganda

Vosuriro chai dai

 

Voriadela tamar dedpal taiamare

Voriadela vorgelshina taiamare

Voriadela chidmachene taiamare

Voriadela chazhild jirda taiamare

Voriadela kvishmish perish taiamare

Voriadela hungrild jigda taiamare

Voriadela shin okrashi taiamare

 

Delaso deliasavoda da

Odelas delasavoda da

 

Voisa rasha ramaida

Voisa rasha ramaida, ho

 

Translation:

 

The translation below comes from the liner notes of Riho Ensemble's album, Vocal Polyphonies From Svaneti, by Frank Kane and Joseph Jordania:

 

''Your troops are in full armour.

They are coming over Latpar to Svaneti.

Tamar the Queen is fighting the Turks.

Tamar the Queen, be our guest.

You had a decorated crown.

Your hair was the most beautiful.

Tamar the Queen, Tamar met with the noblemen.

Tamar the best, you had a horse.

Your horse was the colour of sand.''

K'asletila Ensemble - Murza I Bekzil
+ Song Info

This song is about Murza and Bekzil, two Svan heroes.

 

The following explanation comes from the liner notes of Riho Ensemble's album, Vocal Polyphonies From Svaneti, by Frank Kane and Joseph Jordania:

 

''This is a heroic soldiers’ round dance and song. The Svans sometimes fought battles with their northern neighbours, the Balkarians. The Balkarians became Muslims in the 17-18th centuries and adopted a Turkic language to replace their original Caucasian language. Despite these facts, Svan and Balkarian cultures have many similarities, including polyphonic singing. Many Balkarian names are of Svan or Rachan origin (Racha is another region of Georgia), and they often refer to each other as relatives. This song speaks of a military campaign against the Jegam valley in Balkaria. Two brothers, Murza and Bekzil, are the leaders. The full text is somewhat longer.''

+ Lyrics

Murza I Bekzil

(scroll down for English translation)

 

Murizari Ovodivoi

Bek’zilzilo khasiguriao ho

 

Odivo m’rzajivoi bek’zilivo da

Rasmai gena

 

Vorivo da khimaraled chegamite zeka m’te

 

Vorivo da khitishured apkhneg mara

Magjavoi namtishv da beksoltansha

Kavkhaivoi genakhivo da bekam’te

Bazishivoi sadgvemivoda imeg gvera

Bazishivoi sadgvemivoda bachar bukvan

Bazishivoi vakhshami voda, igeb gvera

Bazishivoi vakhshami voda, beks’l gvikh’de

Beks’l voi gvikh’de vakhshami voda,

ghvazhash tkhumar

 

Voidai vorira rasha rera

Voisa rasha ramaida

Voisa vorodila ramaida ho

 

Translation:

 

The translation below comes from the liner notes of Riho Ensemble's album, Vocal Polyphonies From Svaneti, by Frank Kane and Joseph Jordania:

 

''Murza and Bekzil are riding wolves.

Murza and Bekzil are preparing to go to Jegam.

They choose from among their fellow fighters,

Taking the bravest of them.

They went beyond Svaneti

Where shall we stay the night?

Under the cliffs of Berejiani.''

K'asletila Ensemble - Shaira Mikheil Khergianze
+ Song Info

Mikheil Khergiani (1932-1969) was a legendary Svan mountaineer. He was the most popular sportsman in the former Soviet Union when it came to wall climbing and mastering alpinism.  He created new routes to the peaks in the Caucasus and saved many climber's lives during rescue missions.  He died in a climbing accident in the Italian Alps.

 

The liner notes of Riho Ensemble's album, Vocal Polyphonies From Svaneti, by Frank Kane and Joseph Jordania, also say about this song:

 

"The author of the text is V. Sagliani. The song is striking as an example of creating a song about a contemporary hero using the traditional musical form."

 

To hear other songs about Misha Khergiani, listen to ''Misha Khergianze'' by Dato Naveriani & Mate Pitskhelava and ''K'ojre Makhvshi'' by The Pirtskhelani Family.

+ Lyrics

Shaira Mikheil Khergianze

(scroll down for English translation)

 

Shaira da imsha betkil mikhvi mishas

Shaira rera vorera…

Shaira da k’ltkhi ushba zhi mik’visha

Shaira da mehad k’varem mehad uch’ba

Shaira da chvens migena k’ltkhi ushba

Shaira da voi leshkhiak dolomit’ar

Shaira da dagra mar i mi echa t’ar

Shaira da chukhedzgburikh tak’v i talar

Shaira da lemesgmatskhip’ meshkhikh ghalar

Shaira da k’mrals aharekh k’ojash dalar

Shaira da imkhan ankhadkh amchu alar

Shaira darild makvind lakhvbad mishgu

Shaira da zhakhir ant’ikh mama mishgur

Sharia da imsha betkil mikhvi mishas

Sharia da k’ltkhi ushba zhi mik’visha

Sharia rera vorera, shai

 

Translation:

 

The following lyric translation comes from the liner notes of Riho Ensemble's album, Vocal Polyphonies From Svaneti, by Frank Kane and Joseph Jordania:

 

''I am not Betkil,1 I am Misha.

I’ve gathered the strongest men.

Ice and snow all the time.

I’ve blazed many untrodden paths.

I brought high Ushba to its knees.

The Dolomite Alps,

They caused my death.

The rope and spikes failed.

My wings are burning.

Dali2 is crying on the cliff,

How did they get here?

Sing Zari3 for me, brothers.

I am returning famous, I am not ashamed.

I am not Betkil, I am Misha.

I brought high Ushba to its knees.''

 

1Betkil is a hunter who appears in Svan mythology and in folk songs such as ''Bail Betkili.'' The comparison here is that because Betkil dies by falling from a cliff as a result of angering Dali.

2Goddess of hunting

3Funeral dirge

K'asletila Ensemble - Qansav Qipiane
+ Song Info

An antiphonal Svan round dance song, praising a fighter.

 

 

 

+ Lyrics

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

 

Qansav Qipiane

 

Qansav qipiane da qansav qipiane (ho die)

Umtschai udgare da umtschai udgare (ho die)

 

Khochai ghvazhare da khochai ghvazhare (ho die)

baჴas ishialekh da bakhas ishialekh (ho die)

 

Khodrai ghvazhare da khodrai ghvazhare (ho die)

T’vibras z’zdandakh da t’vibras z’zdandakh (ho die)

 

Namtsa i topare da namtsa i topare (ho die)

Barjas jasdandakh da barjas jasdandakh (ho die)

K'asletila Ensemble - Shina Vorgili
+ Song Info

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

+ Lyrics

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

 

Shina Vorgili

 

Shisha da gergilsivo tskharvasha

Vo di vo tskharvash

 

Shisha da i sgimldivo jishanda

Vo di vo tskharvash

 

Shisha da i echnar shivo, mabzara

Vo di vo tskharvash

 

Shina sheda geergilsivo tskharvashi

Vo di vo tskhaivoda

 

Shina sheda sgiimldivo jishani

Vo di vo tskhaivoda shina sheda

 

Shina sheda echnoshivo mamzari

Vo di vo tskhaivoda shina sheda

 

Shina vorgili vorgili voisa

Vo shina vorgege

 

Voisa rero ramaida

Voisa vorodila rambaida

K'asletila Ensemble - Shaimadi
+ Song Info

A Svan dance song.

+ Lyrics

Shaimadi

 

Shaimadi shamarera voisa shamarera

Shaira vorera voisarera

K'asletila Ensemble - Meskhuri Mravalzhamier
+ Song Info

+ Lyrics

Meskhuri Mravalzhamier

 

/Mravalzhamier,

Mravalzhamier kartvelno da mravalzhamier/

 

/Inebos ghmertma,

Inebos ghmertma kartvelno da chveni sitsotskhle/

 

/Ara chvengnita,

Ara tkvengnita kartvelno da ghvtis shets’evnita/

 

Mravalzhamier,

Mravalzhamier kartvelno da mravalzhamier

 


Many Years Of Life

 

Many years of life

Many years of life, Georgians

Many years of life

 

God grants us

God grants us, Georgians

Our lives

 

Not from us

Nor from you, Georgians

Only by God’s help

 

Many years of life

Many years of life, Georgians

Many years of life