“Georgian music is considered by some to be the geographical cradle of polyphonic chant” it is also declared as part of UNESCO, and is described by them as “a masterpiece of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity”
Zarebi, women’s Georgian choir are based in Hebden Bridge and was established in September 2015 by the musical director Helen Curtis- who at the time was new to the area. Zarebi has a love of the songs and therefore authenticity at the heart- the aim being to respect and create that wonderful unique sound created by Georgian harmony and specific voicing. Ultimately Zarebi is folk music sung by folk people.
Zarebi’s collection of songs are from various regions of Georgia and include two choir folk tale songs, nursing songs, laments, celebration songs and seasonal songs which have come mainly through direct lineage of Georgian singing masters.
The name ‘Zarebi’ means bells- the name was chosen because the Georgian style of singing is described as like the striking of a bell- If you strike hard then the energy will rise further and the earth and spirit will connect.
Helen works as a professional musician, performing and teaching, she was first introduced to Georgian music in 2006 and thus began the love affair! Helen has performed in Georgia as part of the Chvenaburebi festival with her previous choir Samzeo and also supported The Warsaw Village Band at The Howard Assembly Rooms in Leeds, where they received a standing ovation. She has performed for the Patriarch of Georgia and also at the Georgian Embassy in London. Over the years she has made connections and friendships in Georgia, of which she feels blessed.
Zarebi began as an open group but after a year a decision was taken to close the group, to benefit group and musical development. Zarebi practice fortnightly with a Georgian Sunday Big Sing once a month, and about twice a year the group hold a supra (feast with songs) where Zarebi get together to cook, feast, celebrate and sing around the table. A tamada (toast master) is chosen and throughout the meal toasts to meaningful aspects of life and choir life.