Maspindzeli choir sings songs from the ancient polyphonic tradition of Georgia in the Caucasus. The choir formed in 1999 in response to the growing interest in Georgian singing, which only became widely known in the west following Georgian independence in 1991, through the work of leading Georgian teachers such as Joseph Jordania and the late Edisher Garakanidze.
The choir frequently studies with visiting Georgian teachers and choirs, exploring styles of singing from various regions of Georgia. “Maspindzeli” means “host” in Georgian; the choir has often sung for the London Georgian community, and has many times travelled to Georgia to study and perform.
Image credit: Elene Pirtskhalaishvili
“Wonderfully gritty.” John L Walters, The Guardian
“On the face of it, the choir is a nonsense – a Georgian choir with only one Georgian person in it. But the sound is wonderful – raw, gutsy, committed, folk-like but sophisticated. A must.” Orlando Gough, Artangel
“Meanwhile, in a church off Lisson Grove – a surprise. Under the direction of their leader Venice Manley, Maspindzeli Choir deliver Georgian songs with enormous panache. Yet there’s hardly a Georgian among them: that strife-torn land in the Caucasus has long cast its spell over Britons, of which this group of enthusiasts is proof. ‘We don’t know what the words of that song mean,’ says Manley, disarmingly. ‘But deep down, of course, we do.’ Shut your eyes and these really are Georgian voices, with the female soloists finding exactly the right hard, bare sound, just as they do in Tbilisi.” Michael Church, The Independent
“Ancient polyphonic sounds of Georgia (bare, beautiful and once heard never forgotten) from this London-based choir.” Time Out