Vocal and dance ensemble Zedashe
ZEDASHE Ensemble is a vocal and dance group based in the eastern medieval fortress city of Sighnaghi, Caucasus, Georgia. Directed by Ketevan Mindorashvili, the ensemble was founded in the mid-1990’s to sing polyphonic chants, unique to Georgia, that were largely lost during the Communist era. The complex three-part melodies date back to pre-Christian times and comprise music sung for the Orthodox liturgical services. ZEDASHE’s initial inspiration is drawn from the songs of Kiziqian region, where their hometown Sighnaghi is located. Over the years though they have expanded to also include song and dance traditions of various regions in Georgia, including Rach’a-Lechkhumi, Guria, Kartli, and Abkhazia. They preserve the unique musical and dance techniques of each region, as well as a variety of instrumental traditions: panduri (Kakhetian lute), chonguri (Gurian lute), ch’iboni
(goat-skin bagpipes), accordion, diplipito (drum), and doli (drum).
The group’s name is taken from special earthenware jugs – zedashes – that were buried under the family home for the purpose of making wine. The wine made in zedashes was especially for the veneration of ancestors, and the tapping of the zedashe every year carried great ritual significance.