And Georgia's always on my m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-mind
April 3, 2021 5:20 AM   Subscribe

Trio Mandili are three Georgian polyphonic singers - Tatuli Mgeladze, Tako Tsiklauri, and Mariam Kurasbediani - creators of weapons-grade cute music videos, including videos with a reluctant co-star, a sassy chef , and what might be the best day a grandmother's had in a long time.

No, they're not going to rock your world, but if they can cheer me up, they might be able to put a smile on your face. Follow them (slYouTubevlog) as they sing, dance, and raid the neighbour's lemon tree.

(Previously on the Blue)
posted by Mogur (15 comments total) 41 users marked this as a favorite
This is utterly charming. The third video, where the older lady joins in, is my favorite.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:19 AM on April 3 [1 favorite]

Thank you for posting. I lived in a Georgian village for a year and that last video took me right back.
posted by nestor_makhno at 7:11 AM on April 3

This is wonderful! I really appreciated the singing in the Parts Unknown ep about Tbilisi, Georgia, and this scratches that itch nicely.
posted by xedrik at 8:36 AM on April 3

Here they are on the Jimmy Kimmel show.
posted by sammyo at 8:49 AM on April 3 [1 favorite]

sammyo, I think that video is from Night Show.
posted by xedrik at 9:55 AM on April 3

My bad, was sure ღამის შოუ was kimmel in Georgian. (no really I posted as a joke but the first few seconds I legit thought that it was Kimmel, seemed like a sthick he'd go for and it just looked like that show at a glance)

Really cute and talented group!
posted by sammyo at 11:46 AM on April 3

I’ve been bingeing their YouTube videos for a few days now. At first, I was sure they must be sisters because a harmony blend that tight usually comes from family singing!
posted by The Underpants Monster at 12:57 PM on April 3

Correction: I think they might have been stealing medlars, not lemons.
posted by Mogur at 2:37 PM on April 3

I think they might have been stealing medlars

Not to disappoint, but they’re vanilla persimmons (the kind that don’t need to blet ;-)
posted by progosk at 3:22 AM on April 4

One of just a few positive things about music making during lock-down, has been the realisation that it is possible to reach a large global audience with just a smartphone and enough raw talent. Such niceties as a studio, a producer, professional instruments or a video production company - are not barriers.

Not only that - but the raw performance captured on the farmyard with the donkeys - and not the polished one - becomes the canonical take that everybody loved.

Barcelona's Stay Homas - previously mentioned in the Blue and who have just released another bunch of songs recorded on roof garden with a plastic bucket as a drum - like MF Homas Again and Colegas en el Río- are another great example.
posted by rongorongo at 1:09 AM on April 5 [1 favorite]

This crossed my radar (ethnomusicology twitter is a thing) last week and as a fan of Georgian music and people, 100% endorsed as joyful.

My italian musician buddy saw it and, knowing nothing of Georgian music, exclaimed “they’re like Italians but more so!”

Nailed it.
posted by spitbull at 2:54 AM on April 5 [1 favorite]

The first one I came across is my favourite
I like the way it's the product of an era and timeless at the same time.
posted by labberdasher at 9:03 AM on April 5

Not only that - but the raw performance captured on the farmyard with the donkeys - and not the polished one - becomes the canonical take that everybody loved.

While I have no side in anyone's authenticity war, and generally find the whole idea of authenticity misguided, it may be worth noting that Trio Mandili have come in for significant criticism, over the years, for presenting a caricature of Georgian life and an anaemic version of Georgian music. The apparent rawness of the presentation is very much a cultivated aesthetic here, and I can understand why some people within the Georgian folk community feel somewhat aggrieved. Even though I think that accessible versions of folk traditions tend to sustain the whole tradition more than purists care to admit, I can also appreciate the concern that presenting something fairly modern and commercialised with strong signifiers of authenticity might result in other parts of a folk tradition being overlooked and neglected.

None of the above is a criticism of the artists or their work. They're making the same decisions about content and presentation any working musician has to make, particularly given the profound competition for attention in the modern world.
posted by howfar at 11:45 AM on April 5 [1 favorite]

They're not polyphonic--they sing harmony (nicely!).
posted by Obscure Reference at 2:26 PM on April 5

Kinda depends on where you're drawing the line. Here, "polyphonic" is being used in the very literal sense of having multiple voices. That's not a mistake, just a difference of usage due to context. While this would be a weird way to use it in the Western Classical context, "polyphonic" (or, more precisely speaking, its cognates) is very commonly used as a self-descriptor of southeast European (most notably Balkan, but Georgia is just next door) multi-part folk singing traditions.

"Polyphony" is always going to have fuzzy boundaries if you (as we do) use it for purposes other than distinguishing music which is not strict monophony, so it's mainly a question of what's appropriate in context. Here I think it does usefully indicate the type of tradition we're listening to, although admittedly only if one has prior knowledge of that usage.

There are examples where the reasons for calling this tradition "polyphonic" are clearer. I believe that the relative homophony of the parts is one of the reasons Trio Mandili have attracted criticism from some people working in the Georgian tradition.
posted by howfar at 5:37 PM on April 5 [2 favorites]

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