Ensemble “Rustavi” Administration Press Release, December 5th, 2019
Connecting with the 50th anniversary of the Ensemble “Rustavi”, there has been published a very important anthology – “400 Georgian Folk Songs”.
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Brothers from “Rustavi”, Brother Anzor!
True people, Heaven has granted you the ability to spread truth and honesty.
The word “rustavi” means “source of the brook.” The settlement that emerged at this place was given the name Rustavi. The settlement grew into a town, and the ensemble born in this town was also called “Rustavi”. At the source of this brook, Anzor Erkomaishvili found a place to bring their astoundingly grand and refined artistic and organizational talent together with a dozen of other talented compatriots.
In this brook and riverbed flows the song that has greatly contributed to the formation of Georgian people’s morals. The existence and spiritual influence of this collective has led to the formation of other ensembles. When I say morals, I mean the Georgian’s nature and attitude toward the universe.
Our nation has never lacked song, verse or melody, and they have been so powerful that I am sure what I am saying now must have happened in past centuries, as well.
There was a brilliant man – Amiran Morchiladze – a doctor by profession, but a singer by vocation, and my close friend, both before I was imprisoned, and afterward, when I was back to Tbilisi. He worked at Hospital N9 in Tbilisi, and he was friends with Hamlet Gonashvili. Once he took me to Gonashvili’s house. A bottle of wine, some bread and cheese, and boiled chicken immediately appeared on the table. Soon a friend of Gonashvili’s joined us and about 20 songs were sung in three-voices with Gonashvili’s subtle changes and variations. This was an evening of analytical performance of Georgian folk song.
Later this happened to us: Amiran had brought a car from the town of Inta in the far north of the USSR. In that town he worked as the chief doctor after 10 years of imprisonment. Once, as we were returning home from a party, we were stopped by the police. Amiran’s driving license was confiscated because we were tipsy, and we were taken to the Tbilisi police station. There we met Shalva Chkhatarashvili. Shalva and his brother Nestor were renowned footballers, and the founders of Tbilisi’s “Locomotive” football team. They lived on Ninoshvili Street, where my family also lived, so we had known each other from the neighborhood. I often carried their sport bags from Ninoshvili Street to Lenin Stadium, and for this I was allowed to watch the matches for free. Years later Shalva became the chief of Tbilisi Police. So there Amiran and I stood in front of him. He recognized me and asked me where the party had been. He scolded us for driving the car in our intoxicated state. He asked me about my imprisonment. I told him that Amiran and I had been friends since childhood and that we’d both been convicted for being members of an anti-Soviet counterrevolutionary organization, and that we’d remained friends after regaining our freedom. We talked a bit more, and then he asked a militsiaman to drive us home. The next day Amiran told me that Shalva was Chakrulo. When I asked what he meant, he explained: each Georgian man resembles a song by his character, nature and personality – and Shalva was Chakrulo.
I thought a lot about this generalization and later I myself associated people with Mravalzhamieri, Daigvianes, Metivuri, Alilo, Zamtari, etc. There is hardly anyone among my friends and acquaintances without a song name.
Perhaps I’ve gone on a tangent, but I just want to say that by being at the source of the brook, Anzor Erkomaishvili and a group of equally talented singers have greatly contributed to the formation of the character, spirituality, and human aspect of the Georgian nation. This group of singers isn’t just the source of a brook, but a wide river that flows passionately, and which has enabled the Georgians to survive many hardships. In your song we find our race, our future, our generations, and our ancestors’ unshakeable spirit. Without this we would have had nothing to pass on to future generations.
Anzor and distinguished men of Ensemble “Rustavi”, your noble work is a balm for the suffering of our homeland. Long live and be Happy!