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Musical Explorers for Families & Kids

Georgian Folk with Ilusha

Meet Ilusha!

A singer, guitarist, composer, and arranger, Ilusha creates music that includes personal interpretations of traditional Georgian folk songs and his own original songs.

Step by Step

Sing “Shina Vorgil”

  • Listen to “Shina Vorgil,” Track 3. The form of the song is call and response with one group or choir echoing the other.
  • Learn the lyrics using “Shina Vorgil” pronunciation, Track 4.
  • As you listen to “Shina Vorgil” call and response, Track 5, sing the response part. Please note that the learning track includes each call and response only once.
  • Notice how the tempo of the song gets faster and faster.
    • Tempo is the speed at which music is played.
    • When music gets faster and faster, it is called accelerando.

Sing “Shen Genatsvale”

  • Listen to “Shen Genatsvale” version 1, Track 7.
  • Learn the lyrics using “Shen Genatsvale” pronunciation, Track 9.
  • Learn to sing the refrain (“shen genatsvale”) throughout the verse and the chorus of “Shen Genatsvale” sing-along, Track 10. Notice that the words of the refrain remain the same but the melody changes.
  • A refrain is a phrase that keeps coming back within a song. In this song, the phrase “shen genatsvale” is repeated after every line in the verse, and repeated twice in the chorus.

What is Georgian Folk?

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.

Ilusha has taken this Georgian tradition and transplanted it to Brooklyn. He was born in Tbilisi, Georgia in 1983. His family immigrated to the US when he was eight, as the Soviet Union was collapsing, and Georgia was slipping into civil war. He studied jazz in college but soon circled back to the music of his homeland. A singer, guitarist, composer, and arranger, Ilusha creates music that includes both distinctly personal interpretations of traditional Georgian folk songs and his own original songs. Ilusha’s music pushes the boundaries of what it means for a folk song to be relevant outside of its original context and asks the question: What happens when ancient musical traditions from a little nation on the Black Sea find refuge in New York City?

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