Georgian Sisters Ana, Eka and Madona Chamgeliani come from a long lineage of singers from the mountainous and isolated province of Svaneti, where they grew up. The sisters sing their ancesters’ songs, many of which are believed to be more than thousands of years old and can’t be heard anywhere else. The village they come from (Lakhushdi) calls itself ‘The Singing Village’, and here the villagers continue to perform these ancient songs, so rich in the local tales and legends steeped in the surrounding enthralling landscape.
The Chamgeliani Sisters are not only incredible singers, but also possess deep knowledge of the contexts and traditions that surround the songs they perform. Ana, who is also a member of ensemble Sathanao, is a virtuoso on the chuniri, a 3-string bowed viol. Madona is an ethnographer and expert in Svan folklore, and her research includes finding and recording ancient songs about the forest queen Dali (who many people in Svaneti believe in). Eka is a housewife and plays an important role in hosting guests at their home in Lakhushdi. all three sisters are at the helm of the effort to preserve and continue the singing traditions of Svaneti.
Svan music, like most Georgian music, is based on 3-part polyphony, bass, middle and top voices. Thus, the Chamgeliani sisters are a wonderful trio, able to cope with a fairly wide repertoire of Svan music. In addition, Ana and Madonna sometimes perform with the Adilea Ensemble, with which they also recently released the album “From the Singing Village”.