Alexander Basilaia - composer, people’s artist of Georgia, founder and group leader of vocal ensemble "Iveria".
Iveria: Celebrating Forty Years of Creativity
“I am amazed that there has been such a great love between the audience and our ensemble. This is an incomparable merit.
Thank you all for this.” These were the opening words of Alexander Basilaia, Artistic Director of the ensemble Iveria at a
series of concerts held on January 12-18 at the Tbilisi State Concert Hall (Philharmonic) to celebrate its 39th anniversary.
The organizer of concerts is the Lomisi Company.
It has been almost 40 years since Iveria first took the stage. This is the ensemble that has traveled to nearly 60
countries and held over 700 solo concerts. Davit Abuladze, Nugzar Kvashali, Avtandil Sharashenidze, Temur Tsiklauri,
Vakhtang Tatishvili, Viktor Laliashivili, Manana Todadze and others are the current members of this ensemble that
unfortunately has not appeared actively in the last years. However, there was a time when, for years, Iveria was the
unanimous number one ensemble for all Georgians.
Iveria is often associated with the two dwarfs who were favorite New Year’s figures for Georgian children some 20-15
years ago. The dwarves gave a lot of friendly pieces of advice, told joyous stories and presented many New Year gifts
and surprises. Then the scenes from two very famous musical films featuring Iveria were screened as a memory of the past
years. These were “The Wedding of Jays” according to the namesake story by Vazha Pshavela and “Pirosmani” about the self-taught
painter Niko Pirosmanashvili who was nicknamed Nikala. The “dwarfs” Vakhtang Tatishvili and Nugzar Kvashali sang their famous
song of “Two Pals”.
Alexander Basilaia soon declared the name of Jemal Baghashvili, the co-author of the musicals and the organizer of many
concerts, his constant companion in art and a faithful friend in life. “He has always been the catalyst for many concerts
and ideas, being very active, while I, being a calmer person, was the tranquilizer,” Alexander Basilaia said.
Jemal Baghashvili came to stage with his son Gia Baghashvili and performed their famous compositions on guitars in a
duo. “I want to thank all the public who has stayed as faithful and affectionate to us as in the first years of our
acquaintance,” Baghashvili Senior noted.
The tradition of Iverielebi is continuing. Keti Tsiklauri, daughter of the leading singer of the ensemble Temur Tsiklauri
was the next to perform. She, like her predecessors, deserved a stream of applause because of her peculiar performing style.
Temur Tsiklauri who is often called “the Eagle of the ensemble” because of his voice, sang many songs including “The Heart
Never Gets Old”, “Feasting from Early Morning” and many others. “Iveria is family for me. And if it is so, why not call my
wife now?” said Temur Tsiklauri and Lili Zghvauri appeared on stage and this famous and experienced life and stage couple
sang the love song to prove that neither their mutual feelings nor their care for the stage has faded in spite of so many
In the middle of the concert, as a pause between the solo performances, Vakhtang Tatishvili, Temur Tsiklauri and Nugzar
Kvashali held a competition between themselves. The main condition was to sing a song about a woman that should include at
least one private female name. The Eagle (Tsiklauri) was the winner and was symbolically conferred the title of the wood’s
knight, while the second prize went to “the Owl” (Kvashali). Tatishvili’s hero was the mouse who lost the game.
“Iveria” has promoted and served as a trampoline for many ensembles like “Mkholod Shen Erts”, the children’s folk
ensemble “Mzlevari” and many solo singers like Manana Todadze, Tamuna Amonashvili, Gocha Loria and many others. Manana
Todadze came for this day from Moscow where she and her daughter currently work.
Finally, Alexander Basilaia invited his wife, the singer Luiza Kobaladze and they performed the famous duet “Then
Everything Gets Harder”. The concert was capped by the famous “Gza Dagvilotse” (Bless Our Way). They promised to come
back again and celebrate the 50th anniversary too.