Polyphonic Harmony in Georgia

I mentioned to Rick (Gordon) the other day that I had heard that vocal harmonizing had its roots in Europe, and that I once had a CD with 5-part vocal harmony (but couldn’t find it). Rick, who is a singer in addition to being our book builder as well as tech meister, turned me on to the below. It gave me chills. It led me to exploring Georgian singing.

I wonder if Leonard Cohen has heard this: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a-uK8Ac-rYY

More:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Llfky6cyvpU

If anyone digs up more of this wonderful singing, please leave a comment.

About Lloyd Kahn

Lloyd Kahn started building his own home in the early '60s and went on to publish books showing homeowners how they could build their own homes with their own hands. He got his start in publishing by working as the shelter editor of the Whole Earth Catalog with Stewart Brand in the late '60s. He has since authored six highly-graphic books on homemade building, all of which are interrelated. The books, "The Shelter Library Of Building Books," include Shelter, Shelter II (1978), Home Work (2004), Builders of the Pacific Coast (2008), Tiny Homes (2012), and Tiny Homes on the Move (2014). Lloyd operates from Northern California studio built of recycled lumber, set in the midst of a vegetable garden, and hooked into the world via five Mac computers. You can check out videos (one with over 450,000 views) on Lloyd by doing a search on YouTube:

3 Responses to Polyphonic Harmony in Georgia

  1. Beautiful! However, I notice that there are quite a few bottles on the table. I wonder how well they would sing if they were sober?

    Mind you, after a few drinks I can sing as well as these guys but no one else seems to agree.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Wow, thank you for this. The main video is great, but the first in the list of links, comparing Georgian and Corsican singing, really just wrecks me. Heartbreaking and uplifting in equal measure. Also, the video of the young guys singing on the street is just unreal. There are a lot of Georgians in my neighborhood and i'm going to have to start looking for cultural fairs at the Georgian CHurch near me. The deepest I've gotten into Georgian music before this is Hamlet Gonashvili: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVU9b-po8H8
    Although that's much more somber than any of the links you've posted I love it for the haunting quality that all of these share. I'm so grateful that there are still things in this world that can fill me with wonder and knock me out like this music does. Thanks again.

  3. Nathan says:

    This is beautiful. Thank you.

    You may also enjoy the Bulgarian Women's Choir. They use a similar polyphony. https://youtu.be/-_gm0j1H1kc

    They also did a truly breath-taking collaboration with a group of men that I would now identify as Georgian singers and Huun-Huur-Tu (Tuvan Throat Singers). It's really unlike anything else. https://youtu.be/9RFdMGPXYio

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