Any national culture, its different layers (old and new, traditional and professional, etc), is a universal phenomenon.
One such is Georgia culture – ancient phenomenon – fruit of Georgian man’s cultural activity, the treasure created with the devotion of our ancestors and different generations.
For particular spiritual depth, highly developed artistic forms and diversity, Georgian traditional art (ancient folk music, medieval church polyphony, oral folklore, choreography, fine and applied arts) has generally been acknowledged as unique.
It is well-known that some branches of Georgian traditional art have been recognized on global scale – UNESCO proclaimed Georgian polyphonic singing a masterpiece of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. This fact was greatly determined by the unprecedented triumph of Georgian polyphonic music at many concert venues of the world (thanks to ensembles “Rustavi”, “Gordela”, “Erisioni”, “Martve”, “Kartuli khmebi”, “Tbilisi”, “Mtiebi”, “Mzetamze”, “Anchiskhati”, etc) and scholarly study of Georgian music by the world’s eminent ethnomusicologists. Nowadays, young collectives (“Bichebi”, “Basiani”, Holy Trinity Cathedral Church choir, “Shvidkatsa”, “Didgori”, “Mdzlevari”, “Aghsavali”, “Sakhioba” and others) present Georgian culture on international arena together with the colleagues of old generation.
Art of merited and young ensembles of Georgian national dance (“Sukhishvilebi”, “Rustavi”, “Erisioni”…..) boast international recognition.
Due to the hardships of past epochs and other different objective reasons, oral folklore, fine and applied arts have not been recognized as much as choreography and music, but any encounter with this treasure evokes big interest among specialists and amateurs.
Care about and preservation of Georgian traditional culture, its artistic-creative interpretation, transmission to young generations is chief objective of the State Folklore Center.
State Folklore Centre directs Georgia’s State policy in folklore – elaborates and realizes scientific-research and practical-creative projects, supports figures and collectives of national traditional culture in Georgia.
According to eminent ethnomusicologist and thinker Izaly Zemtsovsky, “folklore is going away and folklorism is coming” i.e. it dies out or live national collective-creative process (most renowned products of which are: “Chakrulo” and “Khasanbegura”, “Shen khar venakhi”, dances “Kartuli” and “Khorumi”, poem of “Tiger and a Youth”….) undergoes profound changes and, in the best case, it is replaced by the process of research and popularization (also very necessary and significant for mankind) of the examples referred to as brilliant, in the worst case by pseudo-culture of low quality and low artistic value.
Lovers, performers and researchers of Georgian song and chant are well-aware that the state of this significant and glorious branch of Georgian traditional art is becoming more and more deplorable in the last decades. Particularly in regions the number of traditional music masters, high quality ensembles, connoisseurs and teachers of song and chant is decreasing. The folkloric movement, commenced in the 1960s (related to the names of Anzor Erkomaishvili and his like-minded people, ensembles “Gordela”, “Rustavi”, “Martve”), took place mainly in large cities of the country, predominantly in Tbilisi. At the turn of the 20th-21st centuries villages were emptied, which aggravated the condition of songs and chants. In Georgia’s regions there are few elderly song masters – good connoisseurs of the folk music of this or that region.
Folk song teaching institutions should urgently be created around these high rank artists for timely documentation of their knowledge and experience and vitally important transmission to young generation.
Responsibility of the State Folklore Centre of Georgia is to document and study the examples of contemporary culture, folk art, even low quality examples. At the same time, on the one hand, chief task of our Centre is to study and popularize the cultural heritage surviving to this day, and on the other hand to create the conditions essential for the further development of traditional art, primarily in its most natural and usual environment - in the villages of Georgia’s different regions.
This is why we consider it vitally important to create the Centre’s branches in different regions of the country, which will care about the development of various fields of traditional culture.
Particular mission of the Centre is further popularization of Georgian traditional culture outside Georgia. We aim to assist Georgian artists, highly professional collectives, merited and young scholars to present their art to wider audience both in Georgia and elsewhere.
One of the objectives of the Centre is to duly present the significance and high spiritual-aesthetic values of other folk art monuments, alongside traditional polyphony, on international arena. For this purpose we also consider their proclamation masterpieces of tangible or intangible heritage of Humanity by UNESCO very important.
To achieve its aims the Centre collaborates with all governmental and non-governmental organizations, funds, scientific institutions and creative collectives, which strive for the preservation and popularization of cultural heritage. We believe that the State Folklore Centre should unite all individuals and institutions in charge of our unique cultural heritage.
Since its inception the State Folklore Centre of Georgia is in the service of traditional national culture. We believe, that thanks to our professionals’ devoted work, we will achieve our goals, will fulfill our mission, and worthily be in the service of our motherland.