Singing and dancing are a crucial part of life for the people of Guria. The Ozurgeti Folklore Centre is not just a place for documenting Guria’s cultural history, but also for the celebration of Georgian culture as a whole.
It was in the city that one of the founders of Georgian opera lived and worked. Philimon Koridze was Georgia’s first professional bass singer, and the first Georgian musician to transcribe Georgian hymns into musical notation so that they could be experienced by later generations.
The Gurian folk style, Krimanchuli, is truly unique, and Guria itself is the birthplace of several famous conductors. Gurians are very proud of this fact, and today there are hundreds of children studying folk songs and dances at the folklore centre.
In fact, the history of Krimanchuli is connected to children. According to folk tales, children who went into the woods alone would make strange sounds to give themselves courage and ward off evil spirits. Those sounds were similar to the ones used in the Krimanchuli today.
There is a recording studio in the Ozurgeti Folklore Centre, exhibition and concert halls, and a conductors school. The centre hosts music nights, exhibitions of traditional artwork, and even hosts the Black Sea International Folklore Festival.
The original musical notation of Georgian folk songs and hymns are kept in the center’s archives, along with concert recordings and photographs.
If music and its influence on a nation’s culture fascinates you, a visit to the Ozurgeti Folklore Centre will be an invaluable expansion to your understanding of world music.