DER Documentary

Duduki of Tbilisi: Eldar Shoshitashvili and His Students

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by Hugo Zemp and Nino Tsitsishvili
color, 21 min, 2012

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While the rural polyphonic songs of Georgia (Caucasus) are internationally appreciated and have become a national symbol, the urban instrumental music of the eastern part of the country is less well known. The Georgian duduki, a double-reed wind instrument of the oboe family, is known by different names in neighboring countries such as Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran and Turkey.

In the 19th century Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, had a large multi-lingual population composed mainly of Georgians, Armenians, Azeri and Kurds, who practised and listened to duduki music. Traditional duduki music, performed by a soloist, a drone player, and a doli drummer who is also a singer, is derived from Middle Eastern styles and repertoires. Georgian musicians in the 20th century developed westernized local styles recalling the famous three-part polyphonic rural singing.

At a rehearsal for an upcoming concert, master musician Eldar Shoshitashvili and his students perform traditional oriental repertoires as well as modern westernized songs.

“Like many of Hugo Zemp's other films, this collaboration with Nino Tsitsishvili is not to be passively consumed. Unmediated by interviews or voiceovers of elaborate cultural histories or musical techniques and practices, the film invites the viewer into the heart of the transmission process and affords a direct and visceral experience of the tradition.” — Andrea Kuzmich, York University, Toronto
“This first film about the Georgian Duduki is a complete success. With carefully selected means it situates the musical instrument in its historical and social context, and visualizes and makes audible the fascinating musical dialogue between teacher and students. Beautiful music, beautifully filmed, highly recommended for teaching courses on organology and learning processes.” — Nona Lomidze, Phonogrammarchiv of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna
“An audiovisual gem highlighting a splendid musical tradition that remains alive through emotion and learning. Besides showing us one of the many musical treasures of Georgia, two essential factors emerge masterfully in this wonderful film about the Duduki of Tbilisi: Tradition seen as a true process of transmission, and the figure of the 'Maestro' as model and symbol of learning through praxis.” — Polo Vallejo, Universidad Complutense (UCM), Madrid

This film is also available as part of the Music of Georgia (Caucasus) Series.

Related Resources
Read also Nino Tsitsishvili's article on the Duduki on her website.

View more photos on

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