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Ensemble biography

Nestled below the Caucasus Mountain range, Georgia possesses the oldest pre-Christian polyphonic musical tradition in the world, one of unusual and striking harmonies that transport us to a different time. It is emotional music – not sentimental or sad, but able to arouse the raw power that lies dormant in all of us.

Sakhioba, a 12-strong all-male ensemble, will be in the US in October 2012, sharing their love of the musical tradition they were born into. Performing both church and folk music, instrumentals and traditional dances, they present a rare opportunity to experience an ancient tradition.

For a full history of performance and tour appearances, please see the Sakhioba CV (Word Doc.)



Out of their great love for the folk and sacred music of Georgia, members of Georgia’s newest generation of musicians created the ensemble Sakhioba.  Founded at the beginning of 2006, Sakhioba is guided by the experience and knowledge of its director, Malkhaz Erkvanidze. The 12 members of Sakhioba all studied Georgian sacred music from an early age, first at the Sioni Cathedral Parish School, progressing to various church choirs as their skills developed. 

As Georgia’s folk singing has close ties its sacred music, the ensemble has also dedicated itself to folklore studies, including the study of traditional folk dances and instrumental music. The word ‘sakhioba’ means ‘sweet singing’, either with instruments or voices. The Sakhioba ensemble is committed to the revival of traditional Georgian music, paying special attention to the intonation, timbre and arrangements of the remaining masters of traditional singing.

Director Malkhaz Erkvanidze is a world authority on Georgian polyphonic music. He has spent his professional life rescuing church hymns and prayers suppressed under Soviet communism. His six books of Georgian hymns have been published with CDs and he has written many articles about the distinctive musical structure of Georgian polyphony. For over 20 years he was leader of the Anchiskhati Choir, dedicated to preserving the authentic Georgian tuning system and traditional singing styles.

Sakhioba has produced five albums, has performed numerous times on Georgian radio and TV and was honoured as the ‘Laureate of the State Folk Festival’ in 2006. In 2007 Sakhioba participated in the 41st Mediterranean International Folklore Festival in Croatia, and in 2009 in the International Festival of chant in Kiev.




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