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Help support this amazing group of musician + dancers from the Republic of Georgia bring their beautiful polyphonic chants, folk songs + dancing to the world!
Ketevan Mindorashvili
1 Team Member

Intangible Pearls

Intangible Pearls by Zedashe


We are Zedashe choir and dance ensemble based out of the medieval fortress city of Sighnaghi, Georgia which has been home to the Kiziqian wine growers and warriors since ancient times. Directed by Ketevan Mindorashvili, the current incarnation of the ensemble was founded in the mid-1990's to sing repertoire largely lost during the Communist ear.  Our repertoire consists of ancient polyphonic chants from the Orthodox Christian liturgy, folk songs and folk dances from different regions of our country.

Our name is taken from the special earthenware jugs - zed ashes - that were buried under the family home for the purpose of making wine.  The wine made in zed ashes was especially for the veneration of ancestors and the tapping of the zedashe every year carried great ritual significance.

Our purpose is to continue and share the music and dance traditions of our ancient culture.  We research and gather our material from old recordings, manuscripts and by visiting with song masters of different.  

This new album is very special to us. It includes 25 tracks of songs that we rehearsed for nearly two years. It will be the first time one of our albums is officially released into the music world and we are very excited for it to be done right.  We are also making a month long tour of concerts and workshops in the US this April in celebration of its release.

With your contribution you are greatly helping us cover all the expense that have gone into making this dream a reality. You are not only helping us but helping an ancient tradition of music and dance stay alive and gain new life. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts and hope this music takes you on a magical journey through our culture. Gaumarjos!

Zedashe Ensemble
What We Need & What You Get

With every contribution comes a copy of our new album 'Intangible Pearls'.  It was recorded in Sighnaghi, Georgia last December 2012 and is being released by Electric Cowbell Records and Multiflora Productions. There are 25 tracks on this album and there is a vast variety of different musical styles including ancient chants and folk songs.  It also includes a debut of the Zedashe youth choir plus different instrumental songs played on traditional instruements. 

A few gifts options includes win by Pheasant's Tears, which is also based out Sighnaghi.  Pheasant's Tears is one of Georiga's renowned exported artisanal natural wine made according to ancient Georgian traditions. Please learn more about them here. http://www.pheasantstears.com


Other Ways You Can Help

Unfortunately we our campaign got started a little late than we had hoped but because Indie Gogo has no matter if we make our goal your contribution will go through and you will receive your gift! 

Please pass this link along to whoever you feel appropriate. Help us by posting on facebook and sending to any blogs you think should know about us and our cause.  

Even if you can not contribute we hope you take listen to our album via our website

Thank you so much again for your contribution and we hope to see you on our tour this April or if you do find yourself visiting Georgia you'll be sure to find us at Pheasant's Tears Winery in Sighnaghi. Please stop by and say hello! 


US Tour Dates + Info 


April 3 -  7
Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota

April 8 - 11
Seattle, Washington 

April 12
Olympia, Washington 

April 13 - 14
Damascus, Oregon
Weekend Song + Dance Workshop + Traditional Georgian Supra plus Wine at Still Meadow Conference and Retreat Center

April 16 - 19
Eugene, OR

April 20 - 21
Ashland, Oregon

April 22 - 25
San Francisco Area

April 26 - 29
Los Angeles Area

Official Press Release 

Unburied Treasure: Georgia’s Zedashe Takes a Deep Drink from a Nearly Lost, Intoxicating Polyphonic and Instrumental Tradition

The village may be gone, but the wine jars are still there. A people faced with frequent invasions, wars, and cultural disruptions, the Georgians, renowned as farmers and vintners even in the ancient Mediterranean world, were often forced to pick up stakes, disassembling their simple houses. But they could not take the clay jars, buried in the ground, where they made wine.

These vessels, still dotting long overgrown forests of pomegranate trees, became family shrines, places of gathering and offering, even when an entire village had disappeared from the landscape. Named for these vessels, Zedashe engages this legacy of hardship and hospitality, of quiet, clandestine continuity.

With songs, tunes, and sacred music from across Georgia’s dramatically varied musical landscape, Intangible Pearls (Multiflora/Electric Cowbell; release: April 9, 2013) shares Georgia’s treasures with the rest of the world, through lively arrangements, rarely heard pieces, and an aesthetic that sees music as inseparable from Georgians’ way of life.

One of the first ensembles to spearhead the post-Soviet revival of the Caucasus nation’s stunning, diverse song and instrumental music, Zedashe formed from a small circle of friends who hailed from musical families. Learning first to sing Georgian liturgical chant together, they evolved into a dedicated multi-generational, multi-instrumental musical and cultural hub, dedicated to restoring and nourishing their homeland’s rousing songs, spirited dances, and invigorating its nearly lost lifeways—including its dazzling local wines.

{full story below}

In the 1990s, after the former Soviet republic of Georgia won its independence and struggled with daunting civil wars, an unexpected lost treasure was unearthed. Hidden in old chests, buried by heartsick Georgians in the early 20th century, were precious manuscripts. They captured the centuries of musical development, the devotional and liturgical music that rampaging Soviet authorities deemed a pernicious, poisonous influence on Georgian society.

These uncovered gems of Georgian musical culture could not have surfaced at a better time for young Georgian artists like the musicians who eventually formed Zedashe. Based in the idyllic, ancient Eastern Georgian village of Sighnaghi, a small town dominated by artists, winemakers, and carpet weavers, the small group of dedicated singers and artists were determined to bring Georgian chant back into the churches and monasteries that had been dominated by Russian Orthodox music, sung in Church Slavonic with Slavic harmonies, for decades. By hand-copying precious manuscripts and talking with every well-informed elder or scholar they could, they began unburying their sacred past.

“Georgian chant was an almost lost tradition,” explains Zedashe founder Ketevan Mindorashvili, whose striking alto voice lends a unique richness to the group’s arrangements. “We started this huge thing by bringing liturgical music back into the church, and we were very proud, and then we got into folk music. It’s so similar. Everyone wants to prove that one came first, but no one really knows. It’s the same root and harmony.”

The manuscripts, along with the still-living remnants of vocal, instrumental, and dance traditions nurtured by elders in remote mountain settlements, allowed the group to access this root, characterized by two- or three-part microtonal harmonies, complex and fluid ornaments that vary from region to region, and sprightly, joyful dances. Setting aside the stadium-friendly Soviet-style folk music, with its ballet-inspired choreography, manic athleticism, and single-gender singing ensembles, Zedashe capture the spirit of a family (albeit a particularly talented, vivacious one) at a festive feast or solemn occasion.

John Wurdeman, a visual artist and long-time friend and supporter of the group, recalls,“We asked an old man, last of the great bards of Kakheti, if the work songs were all sung by men,” as the Soviet-era arrangements would lead a listener to believe. “‘No, he told us, ‘we worked and then feasted and drank together.’”

Flowing from that togetherness—the shared work and play, the joys and sorrows—Georgian sacred and secular music cannot be disconnected from the tasks and celebrations, the devotions and conflicts that made up the warp and weft of everyday life. “Elesa,” sung as men carve a wine trough, repeats a shortened version of the Greek call for mercy, “Kyrie eleison.” Deeply romantic love songs vibrate with a startling passion, like the intense “Kalo Kalta Mzeo,” the lovely “Si Vardisi” or the rollicking yet bittersweet “Mzechais Mogisaklise.” The martial glossolalia of “Ierishi,” a song used to get young men psyched up for an approaching battle, and the homage to brotherhood and comraderie, “Dzmao Ra Sjobda,” reflect Georgia’s complex political past and frequent struggles. The wide variety of instruments, from the chiboni (bagpipes) to the garmoni (wooden accordion), reflect Georgia’s regional diversity and full sonic palette. Drums and intricate, joyous dance steps fill out the portrait of a vital celebratory culture.

Though Zedashe has been able to collect material and traditional music and dance technique from elders, and gather great amounts of insight and music from written documents, they have faced a uniquely daunting task. Even the best preserved manuscripts and the best informed singers may have lost vital information—that one page, that harmony line, those final stanzas—that would render pieces impossible to perform. Yet Zedashe’s members, deeply versed in tradition, have taken the plunge and composed both new parts to incomplete works, as well as original songs based on old forms (such as singer, instrumentalist, dancer, and furniture designer Shergil Pirtskhelani’s “Agzevani-Kartli-Kakheti”).

“Reimagining or composing new music is difficult,” concedes Mindorashvili. “If you don’t know the older songs, you can’t mess with new ones. You have to know the poetry, the style to sing it, and you have to have a lot of experience.”

But Zedashe had the experience, and took on the challenge, in hopes of breathing more life into their beloved traditions. “There’s been a greater push to preserve the old songs, by recording and popularizing them. But you also have look forward to the future,” Wurdeman reflects. “You go to a village, say, and they can only sing two parts of a song because their buddy died who sang the top part. You can let that song die, or you can recreate it, based on historical context.”

Rebuilding and bringing to fruit the old ways did not stop with the music. Elders kept demanding why Zedashe, Mindorashvili, and Wurdeman neglected the viniculture, with more than 500 local grape varieties, tradition of fermentation in beeswax-coated clay jars, and 8,000 years of history. “Despite being overrun by all sorts of different empires and cultures, there has never been an account of a year without a harvest,” comments Wurdeman. “We got involved in winemaking as an extension of the music.” The result was Pheasant’s Tears, a small-scale winery that has begun to have a significant impact on local producers, the small growers in secluded spots who have been growing grapes their families cultivated for generations.

“There’s a whole lot of talk about how ancient these songs are, and all this talk about ancient roots of wine,” muses Wurdeman. “What’s truly amazing is that it’s still alive, not how old it is. Little kids love the songs and dances. People still prefer to drink from traditional clay vessels, though you’re starting to see these wines showing up in hip wine bars, as Georgians become part of the modern world.”

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This campaign ended on April 14, 2013
Select a Perk
  • $15USD
    Digital Download!

    A download link to our new album 'Intangible Pearls'. Available in a variety of formats including MP3 and high quality .AIFF files.

    10 out of 200 claimed
    Estimated delivery: April 2013
  • $25USD
    Get the CD!

    A copy of our new CD 'Intangible Pearls' mailed to you or available for pick up at one of our upcoming shows in April 2013. Please add $5 for mailings outside of US.

    13 out of 200 claimed
    Estimated delivery: April 2013
  • $50USD
    Share with a friend!

    Same as above but includes 2 copies of our new album 'Intangible Pearls'. Please add $8 for mailings outside of the US!

    5 out of 100 claimed
    Estimated delivery: April 2013
  • $150USD
    CD, Download + Tickets

    Copy of our new album 'Intangible Pearls' + Digital Download of previous release + Pair of tickets to one of our upcoming shows taking place this April 2013.

    1 out of 20 claimed
    Estimated delivery: April 2013
  • $200USD
    Minnesota Package

    Admission to all events taking place in Minneapolis + St. Paul, MN between April 3rd -‐‑ April 7. Plus copy of new album and digital download link to previous album.

    0 out of 10 claimed
    Estimated delivery: April 2013
  • $225USD
    CD + Bottle of Wine

    Copy of our new album plus a bottle of authentic all natural Georgian wine by Pheasan'ts Tears! Available for pickup at one of our upcoming shows or mailed to you. For US shipping please add $25. For international orders a shipping fee will be added based location and availability.

    1 out of 10 claimed
    Estimated delivery: April 2013
  • $325USD
    Retreat in Damascus, OR

    Weekend Retreat with Zedashe includes Lodging + Workshops + Concert + Traditional Georgian Supra with Wine + Copy of new album + Bottle of Pheasant's Tears to take home. Taking place April 13th - 14th at Still Meadow Conference and Retreat Center in Damascus, Oregon. Includes lodging, room with private bath. Schedule Highlights: Saturday April 13th : Daytime Vocal + Dance Workshops Evening Georgian Supra (Feast) + Performance Sunday April 14th: Breakfast + Lunch + Evening Concert

    0 out of 5 claimed
    Estimated delivery: April 2013
  • $450USD
    Two for two.

    Two copies of our new album plus two bottles of authentic Georgian wine from from Phesant's Tears - Selected from Amber and Red varieties. Pickup at show or shipped directly to you. International orders could incur additional shipping fee depending location and availability.

    0 out of 5 claimed
    Estimated delivery: April 2013
  • $1,500USD
    CD + Wine Sampler

    Same as above but includes case of wine!

    0 out of 2 claimed
    Estimated delivery: April 2013
  • $1,500USD
    Sighnaghi Package!

    $1500 - Sighnaghi Pacakge: Great opportunity to experience Zedashe in their hometown of Sighnaghi, Georia. Includes special Georgia Supra (feast) for you and your friends (limited number) held at Pheasant's Tears winery with private performance by Zedashe + walking tour of the vineyard. Plus two copies of the new album mailed to you (all shipping included). Guaranteed to be amazing!

    0 out of 2 claimed
    Estimated delivery: April 2013
  • $2,000USD
    Sighnaghi + Horseback Riding

    All of above plus half day horseback riding trip for you and two friends in Sighnaghi that includes tour of Pheasant's Tears vineyard and lunch. Extra amazing!

    0 out of 1 claimed
    Estimated delivery: April 2013
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