Monday November 5, 2012

WESTMINSTER WEST -- Sokhioba Ensemble, from Tbilisi Georgia, will perform at the Congregational Church in Westminster West on Sunday at 7 p.m., as part of the ensemble’s three-week U.S. tour.

Performances of the Sakhioba (which means "sweet sound") Ensemble include rousing polyphonic folk songs, liturgical chants, folk-dances and traditional instruments from the various regions of Georgia. It has one of the world’s most ancient and arresting singing traditions, featuring dark, sonorous vocal qualities and startling, unexpected harmonies.

Georgia’s unique polyphony vocal music, folk and sacred, is said to be more than 1,000 years old, evolving through the centuries into a complex vocal practice still considered a national treasure in Georgia.

But the 20th century was devastating for Georgian religious music. Soviet authorities banned the music, and only a few individuals continued the ancient tradition. "It is extremely important to support the current generation of chant revivalists, who are resurrecting this important music system from archival transcriptions and pre-Soviet recordings," said John Graham, tour organizer. "Sakhioba represents the best of this generation, and will thrill audiences with their performance."

The Sakhioba Ensemble was founded in 2006, and is currently led by director and ethnomusicologist, Malkhaz Erkvanidze.

"The choir is very excited to be performing our music for American audiences," said Erkvanidze who has guided the ensemble since 2008. "These aren’t just songs for us. This is the soul of our culture. To truly understand the Georgian soul, one must hear and understand our songs and chants."

In conjunction with its first U.S. Tour, Sakhioba is releasing two new albums. The tour is being managed by www.georgianchant.org, and co-sponsored by Village Harmony, a world music organization based in Vermont. For more information and the schedule of workshops and performances, visit www.georgianchant.org/sakhioba. For information on the concert, call 802-387-5694.