Christ has Risen • A Svanetian Orthodox Easter Chant
In Georgia, Svaneti is a remote region in the Caucuses Mountains with a rich history and unique folkloric traditions. Svan is it's own unique language within Georgia, and few speakers remain today. Svaneti and Svanetian people are regarded by many Georgians as the most original, fierce, and hardcore of all Georgians because their intensely challenging way of lives in the high mountains and history as the defenders of Georgia on the Caucuses border with Russia has made them incredibly tough. They also tend to be more traditional, as the deep remoteness of many Svanetian villages has meant minimal access to the outside world and slower modernization post Soviet collapse.
This song is part of a genre of traditional Georgian sacred folk-style chants. This style of singing came about after Christianity was introduced into the area and blends imagery and oration from the Christian tradition with pre-Christian folk musical scales and other attributes.
Across Georgia, there are many, many versions of this song. It's traditionally sung on Midnight at Easter with all congregants gathered in a big circle around the church holding candles. I first heard this song sung at a funeral for the late Larry Gordon, director of Village Harmony. Village Harmony learned this song from the Zedashe ensemble in Georgia, who learned it from Pirtskhelani family in Latale in 2001. In the source recording, you may note how Svanetian music is characterized by its more circular, heavy sound which match it's sturdy mountain people.
Krist’e aghsdga mk’vdretit, sik’vdilita sik’vdilisa
damtrgunveli, da saplavebis shinata
Christ has risen from the dead,
trampled death by death
and gave eternal life.