THE ZEDASHE ENSEMBLE is based in the medieval fortress city of Sighnaghi, Eastern Georgia, which has been home to the Kiziqian wine growers and warriors since ancient times. Directed by Ketevan Mindorashvili, the current incarnation of the ensemble was founded in the mid 1990s to sing repertoire largely lost during the Communist era. Their repertoire consists of ancient three-part harmony chants from the Orthodox Christian liturgy, folk songs from the Kiziqian region as collected from village song-masters and old publications, and folk dances from the region.
The Zedashe Ensemble also sings repertoire from other regions in Georgia, particularly the high North-Eastern mountain province of Svanetia, where time seems to stand still and the traditional, non-tempered tunings of the old Georgians remain alive in current practice. Folk song genres include field-songs, love songs, historical ballads, war dance songs, and ritual circle dances, and are accompanied by the chunir (Svan lute), panduri (Kiziq lute), chonguri (Gurian lute), doli (drum), chiboni (goat-skin bagpipes), and accordion.
The group's name is taken from the special earthenware jugs — zedashes — that were buried under the family home for the purpose of making wine. The wine made in zedashes was especially for the veneration of ancestors and the tapping of the zedashe every year carried great ritual significance.
Besides numerous appearances throughout the Republic of Georgia, Zedashe has toured internationally with appearances at major festivals and Universities in the UK, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Lithunia and the US. In additional to their performances Zedashe often holds day to weeklong workshops, connecting with other vocal choirs or simply working those interested in their culture. In Georgia, they are also known for the school, which teaches their tradition and in 2013 saw the debut of the children’s choir on the album “Intangible Pearls” (Electric Cowbell Records).
Zedashe is now preparing to record it’s 7th full length album in winter of 2015, and planning dates for their 5th USA tour in Fall of 2015.
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