“The stellar Ensemble Basiani... exquisitely rendered... hauntingly beautiful.” — The New York Times
Ensemble of Georgian folk song Basiani was created in 2000 at the Georgian Patriarchy. In 2013 it was conferred the status of State Ensemble.
Since the day of its inception Basiani has been actively involved in the popularization of Georgia traditional polyphony – has travelled to different regions of Georgia with expeditions and concerts, restored and revived many forgotten examples of folk songs and church hymns, participated in renowned festivals and symposia, held concerts in many world-prestigious concert halls and universities, such as Auditorio Nacional de Musica – Madrid; Concertgebouw – Amsterdam; Gulbekian Great Hall – Lisbon (joint concert with renowned Georgian pianist Aleksandre Toradze); UNESCO Head office a joint concert with famous Georgian pianist Eliso Bolkvadze in the framework of the 100th anniversary of the First Republic of Georgia. D. Shostakovich Grand Hall of St. Petersburg Philharmonia; Frankfurt Radio hr2kultur; The Church of Saint Mary the Virgin (White Light Festival - Lincoln Center), New York (2012, 2019); Stanford Live’s Bing Concert Hall, CA; Cal Performances, CA; The Town Hall, NY; Krannert Center For the Performing Arts, IL; festive opening of the Exhibition “Georgia-Homeland of Wine” in Bordeaux (France) and Tokyo (Japan). Finally, one of the most important events for the ensemble – participation in Mostly Mozart Festival of the famous Lincoln Center in New York (Alice Tully Hall, 2010), where at the concert “Bach and Polyphonies” Basiani presented Georgian traditional polyphony together with the works of prominent Wets European composers such as Bach, Ligeti, Xenakis and others. This event can be referred to as absolutely special not only in the history of Basiani, but also in the history of Georgian traditional music!
Basiani’s successful performances have been repeatedly covered by the American and European press, such as The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, New York Music Daily, Herald-Tribune, etc., where Georgian Polyphony is considered the sound from Heaven and the performance of Basiani – otherworldly mesmerizing performance! This is what one article writes: “But it was the male Ensemble Basiani from the Republic of Georgia, singing two sets of Georgian polyphony descended from an ancient tradition that stole the main show at Tully against strong competition!” - August 15, 2010, "The New York Times".
Along with concerts the ensemble conducts workshops and master classes at various universities all over the world, for instance the Universities of California, Texas, Princeton; Petersburg and Beijing Conservatories; Basiani actively cooperates with Georgian and foreign choirs in different countries.
Parallel to traditional direction Basiani periodically implements various avant-garde projects; in which Georgian folklore is sort of merged with contemporary musical directions. In 2012-2018 together with Giorgi Mikadze, a Georgian pianist working in the US, Basiani implemented the projects “Voisa” and “Georgian Overtones” and successfully presented them in Beijing, Berlin, New York and Tbilisi. Noteworthy is the joint project “Chela” (a combination of Georgian traditional polyphony and modern electronic music) of Basiani and Beste Aydin, Turkish musician working in Germany. The project was presented in Berlin in 2020.
The ensemble has recorded up to 300 examples of traditional songs and hymns included in different albums which are distributed all over the world.
Basiani is the name of one of the regions in Southwest Georgia (in what is now modern-day Turkey, northwest of the town of Erzurum). In 1203, Georgian royal troops defeated the enemy there with the victory consolidating Georgia’s position in Asia Minor.