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Instytut im. Jerzego Grotowskiego
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Rynek-RatuszBrzezinkaNa Grobli
Traditional Georgian Songs


Workshop with members of Nanila ensemble/the Pilpani family


Fri–Sun 22–24 April 2016, 10:00–13:00

Laboratory Theatre Space

The workshop will be conducted in English


Contact and application
Please email your completed application form by 3 April 2016 to Ewelina Sochacka at Please include in the subject of the email ‘VoicEncounters workshops’ followed by the name of the chosen workshop. We will get back to you by 5 April 2016. The number of places is limited.


Fee: 50 EUR


Participants of the workshop will be introduced to Svanetian and Georgian polyphonic songs, some of which will be accompanied by traditional musical instruments. There will be also traditional dances presented. Among the songs which will be studied, there is Lile, one of the most popular Svan songs, as well as one of the oldest. A direct translation of this hymn is not possible, as the meanings of many ancient words have been lost, but we do know that this is a hymn to the sun. Another one: Lazhghvashi is dedicated to a religious ritual. It describes a prayer procession in the temple. Workshop will be led by a multigenerational family of Pilpani from Mestia in Svaneti.



Eptime Islam Pilpani, now 82, is the leader of the ensemble Nanila and of the Pilpani family. He is a professional musician and singer who has been performing and teaching Svan folk music for several decades. In 1964, he became the director of the ensemble Riho, which has toured in Europe and recorded several albums of Svan folk music. His son Vakhtang now serves as the director and manager of the group. Vakhtang’s three children, Anano (15), Beshken (13) and Eka (8), are all trained singers and dancers. Islam’s daughter, Nana, graduated from the Tbilisi State Conservatory and is a professional singer, and her son Nikoloz (9) has been studying Georgian folk dance for three years, and is already an accomplished dancer. Vakhtang’s and Nana’s cousin, Giorgi Pilpani, has been singing with Riho for nearly 20 years. The family often sings together, both informally and as Nanila. The repertoire of the ensemble consists of both Svan folk songs (many of which go back to pre-Christian times) and dances – often accompanied with the traditional (and quite ancient) Svan instruments, chuniri (a three-string bowed viol) and changi (an eight-string harp) – as well as folk music from all over Georgia, including some more modern city songs, with guitar accompaniment.


As part of VoicEncounters, practical seminar