|Tbilisi Opera House hosts evening of Laz folk music|
|May 16, 2008|
The organizers started this project connected to Laz culture in 2003 when they invited Laz singers living in Turkey to Georgia, who then learned our songs here and took them back to their country and made many hits from them. Today the International Center of Kolkhi Culture studies Laz culture, folklore, and dialects. They have visited Turkey several times in order to collect old texts, words, and learn the grammar structure of their ancestral language. According to Michael Labadze, the translator of nearly all of the songs at the concert and the editor in chief of the Laz Radio “Kolkha”, they “try to feel Georgian spirit there”.
“This project is blessed by the patriarch of Georgia, and our aim is to bring the consciousness of the Laz People who live in Turkey back to Georgian culture. We try to create connecting bridges between us with the language of culture and art,” Giorgi Andriadze, the head of the channel “Iveria” says.
Some estimates claim that today more than five million ethnic Georgians live in Turkey and more than one million of these are Laz people. “For them keeping their language, the Laz dialect, is the way to keep their ethnic identity, and that is why working with their language is so important,” comments Misha Labadze.
In Georgia we have the Laz dialect radio “Kolkha” which tries to popularize Laz folksongs, poems, and fairytales. It is a radio for Laz people to retain their language and culture, and for Georgians not to lose one of the Georgian dialects.
The organizers also presented a new Internet-television site which will broadcast every evening in Laz dialect.
As for the concert itself “its main aim is to show Georgian audiences what we are doing and what we have done,” Labadze explained. ”The songs were performed by everybody who supported us and was interested.”
The number of supporters turned out to be quite large as the Laz sounds in the Opera House lasted for more than two hours.
“It is really pleasant for us to participate in this project as, first of all, it is blessed by Ilia II, and besides we think that with this project a really useful job is being done. It is a subject of real importance to popularize Laz folklore, which is so much forgotten nowadays. And we are sure the project will be a real aid for keeping contact with Laz People,” a member of the popular Georgian pop-group “Rondo” said, after performing the song “Heya Moli”, a song of encouragement during the “nadi”, or in more familiar words, while working in the field.
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