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Sandro Kavsadze & Ensemble

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Biography

Sandro Kavsadze (Georgian: სანდრო კავსაძე; 1874 – 1939) was one of ’s greatest singers. Born in 1874 in the village of Khovle (in the Kaspi district of Western Georgia), he was first taught to sing by his father, Grigoli Kavsadze, a priest. Later, Sandro continued to study song at the seminary in the town of Gori. His teacher there, Simon Goglichidze, was a renowned singer himself, and within a few years Kavsadze had become an expert, and had been designated Goglichidze’s deputy and substitute. (A certain Iosep Djugashvili, later known as “Koba” and “Stalin”, also studied in the seminary in Gori, and was a contemporary of Sandro’s.)

In 1893, after finishing his clerical studies, Kavsadze formed his own choir and performed concerts for charity; he also formed choirs in Tbilisi (in 1896) and Poti (in 1897). In 1911, Sandro left his group under the direction of his brother Mikheil, and moved to western Georgia. He formed several choirs there, in Satchkere, Tkibuli, Chiatura, Zestaponi, and Kutaisi, and Kavsadze also taught Georgian folk music in schools and high-schools. In all, he spent twenty years in the region of Imereti, where he made an enormous contribution to the revival of traditional music and folklore.

Almost twenty years later, in 1930, Sandro was given the (rather Soviet) title of “Artistic Figure of Merit”, and the thirtieth jubilee of his work was celebrated. In 1935 he was asked to move to Georgia’s capital Tbilisi, where he was commissioned to set up and prepare an Eastern Georgian Folkloric Ensemble for the “Decade of Georgian Culture”, an art and folklore festival which was to be held in Moscow.

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