14 марта 2024

What modern Georgia sings about. Ten leading musicians—critics’ choice

Whom to listen to understand contemporary Georgian music, what bands are considered the most influential, and why young performers are reviving old Georgian songs? Niko Nergadze and Vakho Khvichia, Georgian leading music critics, have selected for Paper Kartuli ten key modern musicians.

Niko Nergadze, a music critic, journalist, blogger, and podcaster, is known for co-authoring the shows “ნიკო ნერგაძე vs” (“Niko Nergadze vs”) and “განკითხვის დღე” (“Judgment Day”). Since 2016, he has hosted “Niko’s Podcast.”

Vakho Khvichia, a music critic, TV presenter, and author of articles on world and Georgian music, is also a member of the team working on “Akustika,” a musical project of the Georgian public broadcaster.

This is the translation of a text published in Paper Kartuli on Feburary 7, 2024. Read the original text in Russian here.

Eko & Vinda Folio


The post-punk duo emerged in 2012, its founders being writer and vocalist Erekle Deisadze and musician Temo Ezugbaia. Their debut single, “Sistema Unda Daingres” (“The System Must Be Destroyed”), addressed socio-political issues and gained recognition from audiences. Soon the duo’s work was noticed by the French record label Talitres, leading to the release of their single “Shen Anateb” (“You Shine”) in 2018. A year later, Eko & Vinda Folio released their debut album Therapy, and for 2024, the album Tavshekaveba (“Self-Control”) is planned. Their primary themes are socio-political issues, as well as generational, personal, and relationship complexities.



The band emerged in Rustavi in August 2008. The collective positions itself as one of the first bands in the South Caucasus to perform reggae. Band’s frontman Lasha Nozadze sings about life, freedom, God, love, patriotism, and cultural roots. REGGAEON is a regular participant of the well-known Georgian art festival Art-Geni, as well as other regional and international festivals. REGGAEON’s discography includes five albums: Amoanate (“Radiate Light”), I’M GEORGIAN, Free, Aguna, and Me Vitsi (“I Know”).



TAMADA is a popular singer, songwriter, and producer who sings in both Georgian and English. The project’s name (Tamada “თამადა”—traditional master of ceremonies at banquet in Georgia) largely determined its direction: the songs are dedicated to Georgian traditions, wisdom, philosophy, and hedonism. Recognizable folk motifs are combined with electronic and club rhythms. All TAMADA tracks are highly experimental, with lyrics that resemble toasts addressing contemporary social issues.



The experimental hip-hop duo formed by designer Maxim Machaidze (aka Luna) and writer Zurab Jishkariani (aka Dilla) emerged in 2017. KayaKata describes itself as a reflection of urban subculture and the social situation in modern Georgia. They sing about physical, social, and psychological liberation of the individual, as well as the traumas endured in conditions of civil war and economic upheavals.

KayaKata’s uniqueness lies in their eclectic sound, synthesizing musical experiments with intricately written lyrics rich in urban themes, slang, and youth issues. The musicians participated in Tbilisi rallies against police brutality and, inspired by the spirit of protests, released the album Sadaa, which was nominated for European Independent Album of the Year Award.

Bedford Falls


“We’re a band and we write masterpieces, nothing special,” modestly say the members of the Bedford Falls. The band creates music inspired by indie rock and dream pop. Musicians named their band after the fictional town from the 1946 film It’s a Wonderful Life.

Bedford Falls is one of the most promising projects on the modern Georgian music scene. The band was formed five years ago in Tbilisi and consists of four musicians: Dato Jikia (vocals, rhythm guitar), Miho Kalandarishvili (lead guitar), Giorgi Migriauli (bass guitar), and Sandro Diasamidze (drums).

Bedford Falls’ creativity stands out with its genre diversity and characteristic nostalgic melodies; in their lyrics, the band welcomes change. The musicians combine noise with melody and melancholy, akin to bands like Hüsker Dü, Buffalo Tom, Dinosaur Jr., Superchunk, and Teenage Fanclub.



33ა (33a) is a band founded in 1994, led by the renowned folk singer Niaz Diasamidze. As a poet, musician, and multi-instrumentalist, Niaz managed to make Georgian folklore popular even among the youth. Besides him, the band consists of Achiko Tsimakuridze, Ramaz Khatiashvili, and Levan Kikvidze.

The band’s music combines Georgian and French folk influences with elements of pop music and reggae. Additionally, there’s a blend of Tbilisi music, rock, and Gypsy songs. This mixture makes their creativity simultaneously peculiar and fascinating.

The collective’s name originates from the address—Paliashvili, 33a, where Diasamidze himself resides. Over time, the group achieved success with compositions like “Game da tsvima” (“Night and Rain”), “Noes kidobani” (“Noah’s Ark”), “Dro” (“Time”), “Galaktion,” and others. 33a collaborated and performed with artists such as Nino Katamadze, Zumba, Pancho, and Otar Ramishvili. The band is respected in the country for promoting national identity, Georgian culture, and love for the homeland.



SKAZZ is a Georgian post-punk band from the city of Kutaisi, which is often referred to as the birthplace of Georgian punk rock and alternative music. Formed in 2021, the group consists of Saba Vashakmadze (vocals, bass) and Nodar Kuprava (vocals, guitar).

The audience grew fond of their modern yet nostalgic album, Memorial. Their charming grunge and experimental performances are primarily dedicated to political and social protest. The duo of Saba and Nodar is considered to be the voice of the periphery, although they hail from the second-largest city in the country. SKAZZ is described as the romantic and sincere voice of modern Georgia.

With their punk rock and post-punk sound reminiscent of the 80s, SKAZZ has garnered attention abroad. Their latest album, Hysteria, is dedicated to the themes of time and events that nothing can change.



Quemmekh is an industrial-punk-metal project formed in Tbilisi in 2015. Currently, its lineup includes Sandro Kerauli (vocals, guitar) and Dachi Dodashvili (bass guitar). The band’s tracks reflect Georgia’s underground, art, and social life, and depict the country’s socio-political issues.

Quemmekh embodies the protest spirit of Georgia’s youth (“How long will kings rule over you? How long do you need to close your eyes?”). The band sets itself an ambitious goal: to captivate people’s consciousness and amaze them through music. In Quemmekh’s songs, you can hear irony and anger, with their music reminiscent of the rock from the 90s and early 2000s.

Lela Tataraidze


Lela Tataraidze is a 75-year-old singer and songwriter from the village of Zemo Alvani, Kakheti. Thanks to her, the world gets acquainted with the most beautiful melodies of the picturesque region of Tusheti. Lela Tataraidze, who plays the accordion and panduri, is also the founder of the folk ensemble Tusheti.

A graduate of the conducting and choir faculty of the Sergo Zakariadze Traditional and Modern Art College in Tbilisi, Lela successfully combined work in her native Alvani with a creative life in Tbilisi. She worked in the culture department of her native municipality and performed at the Georgia Philharmonic and the Folk Instruments Orchestra.

Lela Tataraidze is a beloved performer in Georgia, the recipient of many awards. She skillfully creates beautiful arrangements of the songs that are full of love for life and homeland. On April 14, 2019, a star dedicated to Lela and her sister Eter Tataraidze was unveiled in front of the Philharmonic building.

Gori Women’s Choir


The Gori Women’s Choir was founded in 1970 in the city’s music school. Shalva Mosidze, the choir’s conductor, helps the collective to shape its unique vocal style, turning it into a precise instrument made of human voices.

The repertoire of the Gori Women’s Choir ranges from Renaissance music to the present day, with particular emphasis on the works of contemporary Georgian composers. These include Iosif Kechakmadze, Otar Taktakishvili, and others. In recent years, the choir has become known for its collaboration and live performances with the famous British singer of Georgian descent, Katie Melua. Together, they breathe new modern life into old Georgian songs.

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Авторы: Бумага
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