Newest trend in Georgian music that emerged just before the pandemic is traditional qalaquri music treated with electronic.
Qalaquri (Georgian for “urban”) is perhaps the oldest popular style of Georgian music still played today. Starting in the 19th century as the music of dukans and canteens, it emerged as one of the most socially charged music movements just before October revolution.
In the Soviet times, qalaquri found itself increasingly approaching the “estrada” mainstream. In modern times, it is still being a regular feature on Georgian supras and restaurants and its influence is still much evident on much of music created in the country today.
So it leads us to the newest trend in Georgian music that emerged just before the pandemic. Several young musicians are doing a certain kind of post-modern take on qalaquri, subverting the age-old conventions with ideas that come from rock, electronic and worldbeat scenes.
Although this approach still has a way to go before it wins over all the audience, it is definitely gaining popularity among the young listeners, and the project called Tamada, among others, has been on the forefront of it all.
It is a project created by Lasha Chapel, the musician with a decade-long experience in both rock and electronic music fields. The first full-length album by the project, called “Dionysus vs Tamada“, released on Souq Records, features qalaquri music treated with electronic means that can be traced to Lasha’s electronic records of a few years ago.
While wailing vocals being backed by synth-heavy accompaniment and beats straight out of the club is understandably bound to have its share of naysayers, the music video taken from this album has struck a quarter of a million views on YouTube alone.
So to sum it up, Tamada’s debut album is a step forward into this status quo-challenging trend and it is very interesting to observe where this all will lead Georgian music to a couple of years down the road.
Stream “Dionysus vs Tamada” LP on Spotify and Bandcamp.