Transcripts have been made for you, thanks to Each transcription is rich in additional information with links to the Georgian music, people and places talked about in the show.

  • ა – Trailer – A brief introduction to the podcast. Trailer on Youtube.
  • ბ – Prelude – How ‘Voices of the Ancestors’ came into being.
Photo of the  Voices of the Ancestors podcast studio with  Holly and Susan on the computer screen, keyboard, mic, and popguard.
Yes that’s an actual keyboard in the studio!

Transcripts of Episodes

1 – Connection and Isolation – singing through Covid-19 lockdown. Guest – Jen Morris, USA, founder and director of Seattle’s Georgian choir onefourfive.

2 – Shepherds and Bear Prints with Jenny Barrett – ever wondered what the difference between a city song and folk song is? Or how songs vary through the different regions of Georgia? Jenny, singer with choirs Maspindzeli and Chela in the UK, takes you on a whistle-stop tour of Georgian singing, while telling tales of traveling in Tusheti and Svaneti and hosting Gigi Garakanidze in the UK.  With music by Ialoni, Mtiebi, Kimilia, Maspindzeli, the Chamgeliani sisters and Levan Bitarovi, Sakhioba and Mzetamze.

3 – Healing Songs and Circle Dances with Nino Naneishvili – “It’s one of the most valuable feelings, when your ancestor, your old generation hears his own songs. And when you perform it in your variation, improvisation and when they are happy. It’s I think the biggest gift a performer can feel.”
Nino Naneishvili, ethnomusicologist and musical director of women’s ensemble Ialoni ( tells us how she collected a healing song from a tiger and adapted it into her own style.

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4 – Living and Singing in Georgia with Zoé Perret

Singer, instrumentalist and teacher Zoé Perret talks about finding a ‘common soul’ between Georgian polyphony and medieval French music.

How did french singer Zoé become so entwined with Georgian songs?
“So for the first couple of years, I think, I was listening only exclusively to old Georgian folk songs. And you know, even though you are not born in the country, I think, if you listen to it constantly, then you, in the end, kind of get the feeling that there is something that sounds natural or not natural”

Susan and Holly chat with Zoé Perret, leader of mixed ensemble Kimilia

5 – Reflecting Back and Looking Forward (Live Recording)

Our first ever live episode, recorded on zoom. We were joined by two of our past guests, Jen Morris and Nino Naneishvili, as well as some of our community of listeners. We take New Year as an opportunity to reflect on the highlights and lowlights of 2020, what and who we are grateful for, and what we are looking forward to in 2021. Everyone came up with suggestions for attracting sponsors to create a sustainable podcast. So many ideas bubbling up from our pool of creative and clever listeners. We all had fun fantasising about dream guests for the podcast. With music by Tamar Buadze’s Young Tutarchela Choir, Turtachela, Sakhioba and Ialoni.

6 – Christmas and New Year with Magda Kevlishvili

Magda, leader of Amer-Imeri children’s ensemble and co-leader of ensemble Mtiebi, tells us about the ancient tradition of Alilo, which was revived by her father-in-law, Edisher Garakanidze.

Music used: Ialoni, Mtiebi and Kimilia

7 – Joan Mills on the Continuum of Theatre and Song

Joan Mills, Voice Director at Centre for Performance Research, talks about tending the flame of living traditions – influenced by her recent interview of Sam Lee and reflections on Sheila Chandra’s music ‘Weaving My Ancestors Voices’.

8 – From Georgia to Great Britain and back with Tamara Vepkhvadze

We talk about passing on the flame with Tamara Vepkhvadze, founder of Gonieri Georgian Art Studio in North London. She has taught at the First Georgian Supplementary School in the UK and trained as a puppeteer at the Little Angel Theatre. She now lives in Georgia and passes songs from Amer-Imeri back to her kids in the UK through online lessons.

9 – Behind the Scenes with Ialoni in Adjara

An audio journey through the mountains of high Ajara, following ensemble Ialoni as they film for the American Library of Congress

The Ialoni Homegrown Concert is available for free on The American Folklife Center Youtube link

10 – Musical Games in a Folk Family with Nana Mzhavanadze

Georgian musician and ethnomusicologist Nana Mzhavanadze was born into a musical family. She says her future was predicted by her grandmother:- 

when I was bought from the maternity house, my grandmother met me at the door, that was the first thing that she did, she put me on the piano and she said she is going to be a musician.”

Nana Mzavanadze

This episode is a significant event for their family, as it brought Nana, her uncle Rebuli and his daughter Marekhi together to sing for the first time in over 10 years.

It was such a pleasure to meet with Nana, her uncle Rebuli and her cousin Marekhi, and to hear them sing together on location at General TSO fusion cafe, Kobuleti, Georiga.

In the interview, Nana tells us about her musical upbringing, and how she was part of Sathanao, the first women’s group in Georgia to chant in the church. Nana and Rebuli dare each other with improvised phrases and we hear how Rebuli exploded his own hand off, yet still plays the piano. She also tells us about being (not) taught by Edisher Garakanidze and how his light-touch approach helped make her name as an ethnomusicologist.

Whether you’ve heard Nana before, with Sathanao or Sisa Tura, or this is your first time, you’re sure to enjoy this playful hour where Nana experiments musically with her family.