Georgia lies to the south of Russia, bordered by the Black Sea to the west and by Turkey and Armenia in the south and Azerbaijan in the east. Formerly part of the Soviet Union, Georgia is a small, very mountainous and poor country with a population of under five million but with a rich and ancient cultural life, mainly centering around music. Considering itself European, Georgia is at the crossroads of the east and west, a Christian country influenced by its Muslim neighbours.

Songs of Survival is a comprehensive survey of the traditional music of Georgia with well over two hours of mostly vocal music celebrating the three part polyphonies that lie at the heart of its musical life. There is a 28 page illustrated booklet with copious background notes as well as notes on the songs and performances – hymns, carols, lullabies, work songs, wrestling music, wedding songs, healing songs, city songs. Georgia’s male polyphony is one of the musical wonders of the world. Both archaic and modernist, and melding influences from east and west.

Winner of the German Critic’s Award [Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik] inaugurated in 1963 to set the ‘most rigorous standards for the achievement in the field of recording’.

“The Georgians are probably the most musical people of earth: these recordings give a wonderful snapshot of a society in which many musicians would give their right arm to live. Here, the division between professional and amateur becomes meaningless – such is the commitment of the professional and the skill of the amateur. Everywhere we find their staggeringly beautiful three-part vocal polyphony – whether in a wedding song, lullaby or richly dissonant religious chant” Gavin Bryars

“It’s important in that it’s the first collection to try to give an overview of Georgian music – there’s a huge variety here, making this a very good introduction to the world of Georgian music.” fRoots

“Georgian music, with its other-worldly polyphonic singing style, is justly famous for its clashing dissonances and impressive sound, but recordings are few and far between. Highlights include the female choir Mzetamze, the Kesane Quartet and Georgian Voices – on disc two, there are wonderful hymn-like songs of St Panteleimon Chanters with strange unpredictable harmonies” ★★★★ Songlines

“The CD is full of wonderful improvised polyphony. The soul of these songs arise from the fact that the performers feel the pinch of hard necessity, and sing of strong emotions that go beyond the personal. For these people “keeping it real” isn’t a problem: it’s a condition of life.” The Telegraph

CD one: Work, Lament, Celebration
Soinari Ensemble Idjassi
Kesane Quartet Ananuri
St Panteleimon Chanters Odoia
Zedashe Ensemble Makruli
Mzetamze Ensemble Zhuzhuna
Georgian Voices Makruli
Georgian Voices Tamar kalo, kveqnis tvalo
Mzetamze Ensemble Khertlis naduri
9 Mzetamze Ensemble Nai-nai
10 Mzetamze Ensemble Shairebi
11  Mzetamze Ensemble Irinola
12  Tsinandali Ensemble Bindisperia sopeli
13  Zedashe Ensemble Irinola
14  Lela Tataraidze Vertskhlis tasadamts maktsia
15  Kesane Quartet Janghi
16  Kesane Quartet Acharuli
17  Kesane Quartet Ra Iamazia Tusheti
18  Kesane Quartet Mival Guriashi
19  Kesane Quartet Pot-pourri
20  Kesane Quartet Vazhao
21  Soinari Ensemble Bagdaduri
22  New Mtiebi Ensemble Sachidao
23  Detsishi Ensemble Tornado
24  Georgian Voices Shemoqmedura
25  Theatre University Quartet Mepis Qali
26  Georgian Voices Suliko
27  Georgian Voices Saqartvelo Iamazo

CD two: Seasonal, Sacred & Family Life
1 St Panteleimon Chanters Aslanuri Mravalijamier
St Panteleimon Chanters Upalo Shegvitskale
Georgian Voices Chona
Mtiebi Choir Ocheshkhvei
Jokia Gugava Khorumi
Kesane Quartet Mtis Melodiebi
Detsishi Ensemble Alilo
Mtiebi Choir Nabakeuri Aililo
Detsishi Ensemble Batonebi
10  Mzetamze Ensemble Iavnana
11  Georgian Voices Nanina
12  St Panteleimon Chanters Daigvianes
13  St Panteleimon Chanters Gmerti Upali
14  Georgian Voices Aba Darujan
15  Patriarch’s Choir Girso cheshmarito
16  Georgian Voices Tsminda Giorgis tropari
17  Georgian Voices Utsinares mas vadidebt
18  Zedashe Ensemble Raidio
19  Zedashe Ensemble Ghvtismshobelo kaltsulo
20  St Panteleimon Chanters Kakhuri Nana
21  Sioni Cathedral Choir Ttsminda Ninos tropari
22  Sioni Cathedral Choir Upalo Shegvitskale
23  Sioni Cathedral Choir Kyrie Elesion
24  Soinari Ensemble Dilis Saari