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Annette Sanger
The WholeNote

"These two beautifully sung CDs of Georgian vocal music provide a broad sample of the rich, diverse, and exhilarating repertoire of traditional songs from this relatively little-known country. Situated on the Black Sea between Russia and Turkey, Georgia is quite unique - its languages are unrelated to any others, it is one of the world­Ýs oldest Christian countries, and the ancient tradition of part-singing contrasts markedly with the many monophonic music cultures in that region. Its harmonic system is based on tuning by fifths (rather than octaves) and includes many 'dissonant' intervals such as seconds, fourths and ninths. So, although some of the songs are more than a thousand years old, they have quite an avant-garde feel about them.

On the CD O Morning Breeze, the trio, Kavkasia, presents twenty-five songs recorded in a Benedictine Monastery in New York City in 1999. The three singers - Alan Gasser and Carl Linch, tenor; and Stuart Gelzer, bass - perform a variety of songs for different occasions and from distinct regions. These include, among others, liturgical music, hearty ritual toasting songs, work songs and poetic love songs. Although many songs are unaccompanied, there is also effective use of three indigenous stringed instruments - two long-necked lutes (panduri and chonguri) and a three-stringed viol (chunir)."

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