The Chamgeliani Family: Across The Generations:
The Chamgeliani family has lived in Lakhushti, one of the small village hamlets which make up the Latali community, for countless generations. The family tower, dates back to the 12th century.
As village master singer and “Lotbari”, or leader of the Latali choir, Taisev Chamgeliani was a prominent master singer, and highly respected member of his community. He is buried at the heart of the village and we are here at the invitation of the children of Taisev and his wife Sima.
Anna, like her grandmother, is a virtuoso chuniri player. Madona her sister has been working in the Tbilisi Museum of Manuscripts studying her culture. Ecka lives in Latali with her family. Taisev has two surviving sons, Kakha who now lives and works in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, and Murtaz who lives in Lakushdi in the family home.
These are vital and committed young people intent on breathing life back into their village. Intent too, on stewarding ,conserving and sustaining what is left in a mindful way, just as their father did before them.
In this small hamlet 11 out of the 17 families still sing. In the spirit of the ancestors, these young Svans want to share what is precious in their culture, and seek our help to do so.
Article By Madge Bray:
Below are excerpts from an article by Madge Bray, pending publication in Caduceus Magazine.
Now we sit in semi darkness, in the bosom of Taisev’s family, while Eka’s traditional kubdari or meat bread sizzles gently on the stove. Eka is the eldest of the sisters and lives in the next village. Kneeling on the hearth, she stokes the fire with logs. Then, as naturally as breathing, when Uncle Gigo sounds a note, the entire family begins to sing in 3 part harmonies. Sima, Eka, Kakha and his brother, Mursa, older uncle Gigo, an elderly aunt and their young adolescent niece Marika – a timeless blend of voices young and old.
Kakha, the Tamada at our supra [traditional feast] this evening, proposes a toast…
It is to our ancestors that we owe our existence. May their presence be with us in this noble endeavour and may God bring us guests who will come to this village in the spirit of love and friendship!
…To our being together here in Lakhusdi!
The family sing:Tsmindao Ghmerto
The Lidbashi Village Co-Operative:
In January 2011 the villagers formed the “Lidbashi Village Co-operative ” a not for profit union formed with the specific purpose of assisting the development of a sustainable community enterprise in Lakhusdi. Lidbashi means:
“By the grace of God”