CHARISMATIC, EXPRESSIVE, REFINED AND MASTERS OF WONDERFUL SONORITY… THIS IS THE GORI WOMEN’S CHOIR LED AND CONDUCTED BY TEONA TSIRAMUA. THE CHOIR SINGERS WITH THEIR MAJESTIC VOICES HAVE CAPTIVATED MANY AUDIENCES AND THIS YEAR THEY WILL APPEAR WITH GEORGIAN AND LONDON-BASED MULTI AWARD-WINNING SINGER KATIE MELUA ON STAGES IN LONDON, BRISTOL, GUILDFORD, BIRMINGHAM, LEICESTER, LIVERPOOL, SOUTHAMPTON, MANCHESTER AND GLASGOW. MASTERS OF THE ANCIENT GEORGIAN TRADITION OF POLYPHONIC SINGING, THE GORI WOMEN’S CHOIR ARE DESCRIBED BY MELUA AS A ‘COMPLETELY UNIQUE VOCAL ORCHESTRA’. TOGETHER, THEY WILL PERFORM NEW MATERIAL FROM MELUA’S FORTHCOMING RECORDING PROJECT AS WELL AS A SELECTION OF CLASSIC SONGS FROM HER SIX-ALBUM CATALOGUE. ON HER OFFICIAL SITE KATIE MELUA WRITES: “THE LAST 18 MONTHS OF WORKING WITH THE GORI WOMEN’S CHOIR IN GEORGIA HAS BEEN SO INSPIRING. I AM IMMENSELY LOOKING FORWARD TO PERFORMING WITH THEM ACROSS THE UK AND EUROPE THIS WINTER.” TEONA TSIRAMUA DOES NOT SAY A LOT ABOUT THE JOINT PROJECT WITH THE HIGH-PROFILE SINGER, BUT FOCUSES ON THE FACT THE CHOIR IS WORKING REALLY HARD AND GETTING READY FOR FUTURE ACHIEVEMENTS.
TEONA, I HADN’T HEARD MUCH ABOUT THE GORI WOMEN’S CHOIR AND NOT LONG AGO I LOOKED UP SOME OF YOUR VIDEOS ON YOUTUBE. I WAS TOTALLY AMAZED… PLEASE, TELL ME ABOUT THE CHOIR AND HOW YOU ALL MANAGE TO MAKE SUCH MIRACLES ON STAGE.
The history of the Gori Women’s Choir dates back to 1970, when it was established on the basis of Gori’s School of Music by Maestro Shalva Mosidze and Alexander Kacharava, the director of the school in that period. Thanks to this tandem, the Choir became popular for its extraordinary sonority and temperament. In addition, the Choir has taken part in various musical festivals and tours. Regarding your question about “miracles,” I only try to express what I feel inside- it happens naturally and afterwards audiences and people in general feel and praise it.
WHAT IS YOUR PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND?
I graduated the faculty of choir and conducting at the Georgian Conservatory. My master was Shalva Mosidze, who showed and taught me how to treat and feel music. After I got my Master’s degree, he took me to Gori as a so-called “assistant conductor.” I had rehearsals once a week and also sang in the choir and conducted various concerts from time to time. In 2010 our Choir took part in the international festival and competition of choirs “Tonen 2000’’ in Holland, where I had to create the main program in just in a month and a half. The Choir performed a very complicated repertoire with great success and returned to Georgia with three prizes. Afterwards, as a result of generational changes, I was appointed as the Chief Conductor of the Choir in 2013.
IS IT HARD TO LEAD THE CHOIR?
Yes, it is really hard, but somehow I manage to cope with it. First of all, I focus on setting discipline, which is one of the most important things. Maybe it sounds a bit odd, but I always tell my musicians that first comes discipline and then music… After becoming head of the Choir, I also had to deal with financial issues and it’s a lot of responsibility, but I’m surrounded by very good and helpful people in the Choir and I want to express my gratitude to all of them for their support.
When the city of Gori is mentioned, what first comes to most people’s minds is Stalin. Perhaps from now on your choir will be the first to remind people of Gori. How do you describe the city and what is its main charm?
I’m from Tbilisi and my roots lay in my beloved Samegrelo, but I’ve lived in Gori for 13 years and I feel very comfortable here, very at home, mostly thanks to the people I know and work with. In short, I love Gori and it’s a city of grand culture – the first dramatic theater was established here and also some outstanding public figures: Iakob Gogebashvili, Ekaterine Gabashvili, Merab Mamardashvili, Sulkhan Tsintsadze, Alex Matchavariani and many others come from these roots. Me and my choir serve a great and difficult art form and it’s one of our missions to be part of the cultural life here and attract local people to the majestic world of art.
DESCRIBE YOUR TYPICAL DAY.
Every day for me begins and ends with music. But, in general, I’m fond of being at home alone to create my own comfort by drinking tea, listening to music, reading a book and imagining; or by whirling in a kitchen – unfortunately, these things happen really very seldomly. I also love nature, the village and working on the land.
WHICH MELODY COULD BE A SOUNDTRACK FOR YOUR LIFE?
It’s difficult to give a concrete answer as lots of melodies are playing in my head and I think every day runs with its individual soundtrack, but I’d say “Choral” by I. Kechakmadze. As if the shortness of life is hidden in the smallness of this musical piece. And this choral piece is so beautiful and sorrowful, as life is, in general…
WHAT INSPIRES YOU MOST IN YOUR LIFE?
M U S I C!
HOW IS COLLABORATION WITH KATIE MELUA GOING?
We’re right in the middle of it and doing fantastically. I promise our audience that this remarkable project will remain forever in their memories. Apart from this, I wish to do my very best to make interesting plans for the future and to be popular not only in Georgia, but beyond its borders as well. I just hope we deserve it…