Ilusha Tsinadze is a singer, guitarist, composer, and arranger born in Tbilisi, Georgia. After studying jazz in college, his passion shifted to the music of his homeland. In 2011, Ilusha released his debut album, Deda Ena (Mother Tongue), which featured his own distinctly personal interpretations of Georgian folk songs along with compositions of his own. The music video for his song “Mokhevis Kalo Tinao” went viral in Georgia and has since won him wide acclaim and national fame in the country. He has performed with his Brooklyn-based band around the world, allowing audiences to experience his emotional renditions of Georgia’s beautiful and little-known musical traditions.
The country of Georgia, situated at the border of Asia and Europe, is home to one of the oldest known polyphonic traditions: a style of three-part harmony, traditionally sung a capella by choirs. As Georgia’s folk music evolved, instruments were added into the mix. Musical performance is largely a part of social activities; for example, songs are regularly sung as toasts at large feasts, or supras. There are more than a dozen regional styles of folk music within Georgia, each with its own musical trademarks and identity.