Georgia has a rich and still vibrant traditional music, which is primarily known as the earliest polyphonic tradition of the Christian world. Georgian performers are well represented in the world’s leading opera troupes and concert stages.
The folk music of Georgia consists of at least fifteen regional styles, as “musical dialects”. These regions are traditionally grouped into two, eastern and western Georgian groups. Perhaps the most well-known example of Georgian music is the patriotic “Chakrulo”, which was chosen to accompany the “Voyager” spacecraft in 1977.
Georgian folk music is predominantly vocal and is widely known for its rich traditions of vocal polyphony.
Georgian polyphonic singing was among the first on the list of Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity in 2001. Georgian polyphonic singing was relisted on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2008.
Georgian dance is a celebration of life and of Georgia’s rich and diverse culture. The dances perfectly capture the natural gracefulness and beauty of Georgian women and the courage, honor and respectfulness of Georgian men. The male dancers perform spectacular leaps and turns, incredible spins and can also boast a highly original technique for, unlike any other dancers in the world, they dance on their toes without the aid of “block” shoes. The female dancers “glide” like swans. Each dance portrays the characteristics of the region in which it originated. The mountain dances differ from valley or lowland dances.
Georgian National Ballet was founded by Iliko Sukhishvili and his wife Nino Ramishvili in 1945. It was the first professional state dance company in Georgia. Thanks to this company the Georgian national dancing and music has become known in many parts of the world.
Georgian State Academic Ensemble of Folk Song and Dance Erisioni was founded in 1885 and since then has maintained its uniqueness and true Georgian folk spirit, remaining strong through the world wars, Tsarism and other great troubles- never losing its originality and conveys folk masterpieces to generations. It is equally eulogized in Europe and the United States and in 1977, the Americans sent Erisioni’s Chakrulo to the Universe as a priceless art work.