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AMER-IMERI (Georgia)

The children’s folklore and ethnography studio Amer-Imeri was founded in 1991 by the well-known ethnomusicologist, head of the Mtiebi ensemble, Edisher Garakanidze and his wife, the linguist Nino Baghaturia. Mtiebi in Georgia is considered the pioneer of authentic folk music, and Amer-Imeri features the young performers of this music. From 2001−2012, the ensemble was led by Gigi (Giorgi) Garakanidze and is currently headed by Magda Kevlishvili.

The main creative principle of the studio is a syncretic approach to folklore: children learn traditional games, songs, dances, and circles, and they get acquainted with Georgian history, ethnography, mythology, and spoken folklore. They also perform ecclesiastical songs and participate in liturgical rites.

The studio’s members often go on folklore expeditions in various areas of Georgia and learn songs, dances, dance circles, and instrumental works directly from the source. These students perform the programme in a freeform manner, just as their peers in ancient villages once did – by creating improvised song variants, games, dialectical stories, tongue twisters, and mocking poems. Amer-Imeri conveys all this on stage and off of it – the knowledge acquired in the studio often becomes an integral part of the young people’s lives and diversifies it with games, alilo, chona traditions, etc.

In 1994, an international folklore festival in Germany recognised Amer-Imeri as the best folklore studio in Europe. At the invitation of the BBC in 2002, the band visited the United Kingdom, and their concerts, Sakartvelo songs, and a series teaching the songs were broadcast on BBC television and radio. In 2014 and 2018, they participated in the international children’s folklore festival Święto Dzieci Gór (Festival of the Children of Mountains) in the town of Nowy Sącz, Poland. For their sincere performance, the repertoire suitable for the age of participants, and masterful performance of the songs, performances, and dances, the studio earned the highest rating from the festival’s organisers and jury.

Amer-Imeri is a participant in the 11th International Symposium of Sakartvelo and the winner of the 2022 National Folklore Festival.

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