Preserving Heritage?

Preserving heritage – is this what happens when we make a podcast episode? When we share thoughts and feelings about the folk music of Georgia?

Business coach, Iain Crighton, heard about my presentation at the University of Westminster (35th Annual Georgian Studies Day). I was struck when he held up the mirror and reflected back two phrases –

‘preserving heritage’ and ‘building community’.

Somehow ‘preserving’ brings to mind jars containing dubious specimens on dusty museum shelves. Feedback from listeners suggests that the podcast is more ‘celebrating heritage’ than ‘preserving’ it, but I’m glad to know many of you feel part of the Voices of the Ancestors community. I asked Joan, a singer from London, why she supports Voices of the Ancestors

I think it’s wonderful that you and Holly are creating a network, a kind of backdrop, a connection to the communities whose music we sing and love to hear.
I feel this particularly in the third episode where you speak to Nino Naneishvili. She speaks of a recording made some time ago in a village, where an ethnomusicologist was visiting to hear and record songs that are part of the community’s history and traditions, but which are in danger of being lost as the older generation dies.

The episode is about batonebi, songs sung to entrance spirits who are occupying a child who has become ill. This genre of songs are for me the most touching and memorable of the songs we have learned over the years. In this field recording a single male voice (Vepkhia Antia) sings. Nino explains how she has incorporated his singing into a version for three voices. When he heard her version she was worried that he might not like it, but he was touched and pleased to know that a new generation would hear it. Also the ancestors would be pleased to know that their songs were continuing.

Joan, monthly Ko-fi supporter

I’m glad to see the theme of community coming through together with an appreciation of an ‘active’ approach to heritage. I just hope the audience at the University of Westminster took away the feeling of ‘active’ heritage and give the podcast a listen.

Meanwhile in Tbilsi

As I was busy presenting in London, Holly was busy being interviewed in Tbilisi. She is a guest on travel blog and vlog From Rust to Road Trip.

Ben films Holly in Tbilisi for From Rust to Road Trip

Holly reflected on some of the memorable travel experiences we have had while making the podcast. Like the time a wolf crossed the road on the way to interview Khatia Turmanidze in Merisi, Adjara.

The audience at Georgian Studies Day knew exactly which Georgia was being talked about. I suspect that Rust to Road Trip‘s audience may need to go through the various other Georgia’s before they settle on the Georgia the country.

Susan T.

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