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Thursday, 26 April 2018


Melodies of the memory

26.01.2010  |  12:11

The melodies of Alexander Basilaya that sounded at the end of last week in Moscow International House of Music seemed to be the forerunners of the coming inevitable thaw between the countries. One should remember that Iveria musical ensemble set up by Alexander Basilaya was Georgia's visiting card in the 70s of the last century, when the hearts of the people living on one sixth of the land were filled with peace, friendship and love.


The well-known "Iverists" came from Tbilisi to Moscow to pay tribute to the memory of the maestro of the Georgian jazz. Many of them are now living and working in Russia, like Manana Todadze, Temur Tatarashvili, Soso Pavliashvili. Besides, Alexander Basilaya's melodies at the memorial evening were also performed by Diana Gurtskaya, Nutsa Shanshiashvili, Shorena Karkarashvili, Georgi Melikashvili, Leila Todadze and the Shtar group.

The hall in the House of Music was full. It was not only the representatives of the Georgian expatriate community that came to listen to their favorite songs that evening. Russian intelligentsia that has grown tired of the politics in the Georgian-Russian relationship and has been longing to hear and see something really Georgian, like dances, songs and throaty voices of the singers caressing the ear also came to listen to the concert.

Mayor of Moscow Yuri Luzhkov, RF Presidential aide S.Prihodko and Minister of Culture of Russia Alexander Avdeev sent welcome letters to Union of Georgians in Russia, which was the initiator of the evening. Vladimir Spivakov, conductor of the main National philharmonic orchestra of Russia, who has always felt great love for Georgia and its culture, welcomed the guests in Georgian. President of Union of Georgians in Russia Mikhail Khubutia promised to make every possible effort to strengthen humanitarian connections between Georgia and Russia in his welcoming speech and stressed the following: "Alexander was my friend, and not only mine. His melodies are immortal. There are people of various nationalities here: Georgians, Abkhaz, Ossetians, Russians. We also have the American Embassy officials as our guests. Basilaya's works are beyond politics. His melodies are dear to the people all over the world regardless of their nationality. Such events have become traditional for us".

Georgian spokesman for the Union of Georgians in Russia Arno Khidirbegishvili announced: "I have brought love and warmth from Tbilisi to Moscow. I am happy to be on this stage and I feel deep sympathy for those who see any anti-Georgian or political notes in this event. I am sure they would change their attitude if they were with us today". The entire evening went on in an atmosphere of harmony and mutual understanding. Leaders of the evening, Manana Todadze and Nugzar Kvashali (the leading actors of Basilaya's first musical The Wedding of the Jays) told about the musician's life and work. Following the tradition, they called the maestro Butkhuz just like they did in old good times (this nickname was given to Basilya for his fatness when he was a child). During the evening, melodies from immortal musicals were performed, such as The Wedding of the Jays, Pirosmani, the Argonauts. The official Tbilisi had no grounds to believe that the evening consecrated to the memory of the famous composer had any political touch. 

Unfortunately, even a touching memorial evening consecrated to the memory of the famous fellow countryman raised great passions in the composer's native country. Regrettably, some of the performers did not venture to come from Georgia to Moscow to the evening consecrated to the memory of their teacher, being afraid of politicizing. The Georgian TV channels broadcasted reports that practically accused the initiators of the evening and the Georgian performers of the betrayal of Georgia's interests. It hurts and makes one feel pain, and it is a sin from the Christian point of view.

However, those who sang Argo together with Soso Pavliashvili at the evening and who record their fellow countrymen's performances in Moscow hardly heard any criticism from Tbilisi: the ill-will and criticism were killed by applause and appreciation. During the commemoration dinner our correspondent got some comments from the leading participants of Alexander Basilaya memorial evening. 

Soso Pavliashvili: No matter where this concert takes place - at any spot of the planet - it belongs to our teacher Alexander Basilaya. He left his music for us; and neither time, nor borders, nor politics have got any power over this music. Each time I perform Argo the applause never fades. I would go to Tbilisi to a concert like that.

Nugzar Kvashali, Honored Artist of Georgia: I could not help coming. Alexander Basilaya is not only my teacher, my friend and my godfather. This is my first performance in his honor when his portrait is hanging here but he is not here longer. But his music is with us. I am very grateful to the initiators for this evening and for an opportunity to pay the tribute to the memory of our great fellow countryman.  

Yuriy Ryashentsev (a poet, the author of the texts of the Argonauts musical): Today, me and everyone felt sadly happy. I felt that Alexander Basilaya is with us today. Butkhuz, as me and his many friends used to call him, with his talent, generosity and his fine soul is the embodiment of Georgia for me.


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