Transcripts have been made for you, thanks to and descript. Each transcription is rich in additional information. There are 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 in Series 1

1 – Connection and Isolation with Jen Morris

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, Georgia.

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.

11 – Khatia Turmanidze Finds Her Voice

  • Let us transport you to the village of Merisi, in the mountains of Ajara in West Georgia. 
  • In April we travelled to meet 17 year old Khatia Turmanidze and her singing family.
  • Her father – Jemal; grandfather – Amiran, and brothers Beso and Revaz are all singers in the Merisi village ensemble Moqvare. (Moqvare itself was started in 1950 by another of Khatia’s ancestors – Revaz Turmanidze). Moqvare is active in keeping alive the folk knowledge of the village, transmitting this treasure to future generations. Until recently Khatia preferred to dance rather than sing. Until one of their guests encouraged her to try….

Despite living, at 700 meters above sea level, with a 2 plus hour drive to the nearest city, Batumi, Khatia is not cut off. She has many friends both local and overseas. Because her whole family are renowned for their hospitality, Khatia has had the chance to chat and learn about the world from the guests. Her mother Manana’s cooking and warmth, together with the chance to learn songs around a convivial feasting table, has won their guest house Moqvare repeat visitors from Melbourne Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Austria, Ireland, UK and beyond.

12 – Following the Stories…

Your hosts, Susan and Holly, chat about Tamar Buadze’s community initiative in Rustavi with ensemble Turtachela. After Rustavi, join them in Shilda where they unearth the start of a fascinating story linking the women’s ensemble Nelkarisi with Magda Kevlishvili from Mtiebi and Sagalobeli a pleading/begging song. And finally take a mini visit to the Folk School in Telavi, sharing Tsintskaro with ensemble Mze Shina. This is the final episode of Series 1. help shape the future of the podcast by completing the survey.

12a – Singing Landscapes – From Georgia to the Balkans

Guest editor edition.

Briget Boyle, vocal coach and singer with Kitka chats with Jen Morris bringing the west coast USA perspective to ‘Voices of the Ancestors’. They chat about:-

  • working with powerful female teachers like Tamar Buadze, in Georgia and Svetlana Spajić in Serbia.
  • How to sing ‘folk music’ from a grounded, rooted place in your own landscape.
  • Briget’s insight into what ‘Voices of the Ancestors’ means for her, describing three types of ancestors – genetic, spiritual and ‘humanity’.

Briget shares experiences with Georgian songs in ‘Temple of Light’ Choir directed by Kristine Barrett (a sort of Kitka community choir) and in ‘True Life Trio’. Jen shares experiences of her Georgian choir ‘onefourfive’ and Seattle’s balkan women’s ensemble Dunava.

Transcripts of Episodes in Series 2

Voices of our Grandmothers parts 1 and 2 with guest Tamar Buadze 2.1 & 2.2

On folk instruments with Nino Razmadze 2.2

Nino Kalandadze Makharadze Remembered 2.3

Rituals of the Singing Village – Chamgeliani Sisters 2.4


Myths & Stories of Svaneti 2.5