Monday, December 18, 2006

Grinnell College, IA (part 2)

Dec. 2 - Today we had the full workshop, followed by an evening concert / presentation, during which Sarah gave a summary of her project. It was entirely delightful! Everyone had a great time and I was quite impressed with Sarah's work & what she had to say. Grinnell purchased three Georgian folk instruments, which I helped obtain from Georgia: a chonguri, panduri, and chunir. I taught one song for each instrument and we performed them in the evening, formally presenting the instruments to the college at the same time. Following the concert, John Rommereim invited us back to his house & we had a lovely evening - especially when our visiting Georgian guitar player from Iowa City, Tariel Barimelidze, began singing Tsangala. It certainly helped warm everyone up - and boy, did we need it! As Alan & I departed the next morning the Bank displayed 6 degrees Fahrenheit. A cold time made warm by lots of great singing & good hearts. Thanks, Sarah, John, and everyone who made this visit possible for Alan & me.

Friday, December 1, 2006

Grinnell College, IA

Today Alan Gasser & I did the first part of a 2-day workshop at Grinnell College in Iowa, arranged by our good friends Sarah Burghardt and John Rommereim. We had a great time, despite the freezing weather outside! (Good thing the workshop was indoors). Prior to the workshop, Sarah, Alan & I did a teaser outside the dining hall - we sang 3 Georgian songs as a trio. It was great fun! Sarah sang the middle voice & had a great sound. Tomorrow we have a full day of singing, followed by a concert/presentation in the evening. We're hoping to be joined by a Georgian guitarist who is currently living in Iowa City. More to follow!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Latest Workshop: Oberlin College

On Nov. 18, 2006, I did a one-day workshop at Oberlin College, arranged by my old friend & fellow Georgian singing lover Avery Book. I taught 5 songs at the workshop and then we had a brief performance in the evening, joined by the Experimental Course ("ExCo") which Avery co-directs with Stefan Amidon. It was a fun time for all. Afterwards, we were invited by Amanda Blasko from the Russian Dept. (who helped sponsor the event) for some khachapuri - Georgian cheese bread, along with more great singing and fellowship. The most interesting thing I discovered from Amanda was that the late Dmitri Pokrovsky and his ensemble actually taught a Georgian folk song at a workshop she had attended. She even lent me the cassette and let me listen to the Pokrovsky Ensemble singing Okro Mchedelo, a song from Georgia's province of Meskheti. I was proud to know that Pokrovsky sang Georgian music - since all the Georgians make such a major deal about the fact that "no Russians have EVER sung our songs..." Bravo, Dmitri.