About Voices of the Ancestors – The Podcast
Your hosts, Holly and Susan, take a gentle stroll with lovers of Georgian polyphonic songs (the one in the Caucasus mountains). Pausing with inspiring teachers to admire the view of the past and future of this deeply rooted aural tradition. In Georgia’s traditionally patriarchal society the podcast takes time to admire the perspective of folklore from a female viewpoint.
The hosts are based in the UK whilst the list of guests spreads across the globe, wherever folks have been smitten by the harmonies of Georgia.
პოდკასტ (ციფრული.აუდიო ფაილი ინტერნეტში) „წინაპართა ხმები”-ის ფარგლებში ჰოლი და სიუზანი ესაუბრებიან ქართული მრავალხმიანი სიმღერების ქალ შემსრულებლებს, როგორც საქართველოში, ისე მის ფარგლებს გარეთ. ისინი ერთად განიხილავენ სიმღერების მოგზაურობის ისტორიებსა და მასთან დაკავშირებულ ამბებს. პოდკასტის მასპინძლები დიდ ბრიტანეთში ცხოვრობენ, სტუმრები კი მსოფლიოს სხვადასხვა ქვეყნიდან არიან მოწვეული. ყოველი მხრიდან, სადაც ფოლკლორის მოყვარულებს ქართულ ჰარმონიებთან აქვთ შეხება
About your hosts and Voices of the Ancestors pre-pandemic
Before the Pandemic, your hosts were working on a performance piece. It was performed at the Croydon Unfinished Things Festival, before live theatre became a thing of dreams. Following the mantra – ‘What can we do?’ Voices of the Ancestors, the Podcast, was born. As @WillTribble kindly said ‘The Xmas edition (Episode 6) covers the life of Magda, who was the centre of their beautiful performance piece at the Croydon Unfinished Things Festival’. While Episode 7 with Joan Mills, it a great place to start listening. Her story covers the moment Georgian Folk Songs were first taught in Wales.
Creating for the Croydon Festival, London
About your Hosts
Hi there! We are Holly Taylor-Zuntz and Susan Thompson, one an actor and one a charity professional – drawn together by a shared passion for singing Georgian multi-part folk songs (in Episode 7 you can hear how we met at a Maspindzeli choir rehearsal in London).
In the Prelude we have a playful, spontaneous, unscripted chat about our hopes for the project when it started last year. In the podcast we explore Georgian polyphonic songs, and the women who sing them. We ask each guest what ‘Voices of the Ancestors’ means to them. We have received great responses, both from experts within Georgia and listeners new to the genre.
Voices of the Ancestors Podcast launched in October 2020 at Festivals in Georgia. For 2021 the podcast will be published on the first Thursday of each month.
Holly is a theatre maker and singer, who loves to learn songs from all over the world and share them with others. She is a graduate of the European Theatre Arts (BA) Programme at Rose Bruford College, London’s International Drama School of Theatre & Performance. She trained in ensemble theatre and devising. Since then she has been researching Georgian polyphonic songs and teaching singing. She is co-artistic director of Planet B Productions, an Oxford-based immersive political theatre company.
As Holly says in Episode 7 – “When I was training in Gardzienice in Poland, I was introduced to Georgian songs, and I was just completely blown away and fascinated. Later that year I went to Georgia and of course fell in love with the country and the folk songs.”
Susan is a Georgian polyphonic folk song enthusiast. Her moment of discovery was while singing with ‘Woven Chords’, a community choir in Stamford, UK. Joining Maspindzeli in 2004 and performing both in Georgia and the UK, Susan has travelled widely in Georgia. She attended many of the International Symposia on Traditional Polyphony in Tbilisi and the Giorgi Garakanidze International Festival of Folklore and Spiritual Music in Batumi.
In 2019 Maka Khardziani interviewed her for the Bulletin of the International Research Centre for Traditional Polyphony of the V. Sarajishvili Tbilisi State Conservatoire: Voices of the Ancestors – An English Woman’s Journey through Georgian Folk Songs and Singers Bulletin 27.