Thursday, June 14, 2012

Regional Music: Gogom Ghimili Machuka

Iveroni: Gogom Ghimili Machuka


The Republic of Georgia was in the headlines in 2008, and it wasn't in regards to their music. An album from Iveroni arrived in my mailbox at the very same time that Russia was aggressively invading the small, independent, pro-Western democracy to subordinate it and remove its freely elected President. I immediately put on the album and said a prayer for the refugees who were being forced to flee from their homes in the South Ossetia and Abkhazia regions.

Regardless of the tense situation in their homeland, Iveroni is a group of five young talented musicians (Roman Lashkhia, Gieorgi Chikovani, Davit Batiashvili, Davit Gogitishivili, Beka Tcertcvadze). Their instruments are the panduri, bass panduri, salamuri, and changuri. Their traditional songs emphasize vocals, and they relate stories of love, heroism, and brotherhood. Producer Nathaniel Berndt traveled to the old city of Tblisi to record Iveroni on location. Their album includes 26 different tracks that range in length from one to three minutes each. Additional liner notes would've been nice to explain more about this group, their music and traditional songs. I don’t know what the song “Gogom Ghimili Machuka” is about, but I like its mixture of vocals and instrumentation. And don’t these four guys look cool in those outfits with those Russian dirks and kindjal daggers at their side!

Back in 2008, the war with Russia left Georgia's countryside scorched by bombs and tank fire, and I wonder if Iveroni has songs that would be appropriate in such a circumstance. The war most likely put a damper on their performances. I hope that they are back out singing them now that peace has been restored to the Caucasus Mountains and Russian forces have withdrawn.

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