Music together

Andrea Kuzmich (as a member of Ori Shalva)

Traditional, World, Folk

Andrea Kuzmich

May 08, 2020

Ori Shalva & co (pronounced Oree Shalva) Over the centuries, family ensemble singing has played a significant role in keeping traditional Georgian polyphonic singing alive. And true to this preserving nature, Ori Shalva (aka the Makharashvili family) continues this practice despite being based halfway around the world in Toronto. Georgian polyphony, a millennia old tradition, is known for its distinctive and haunting harmonies and is recognized by UNESCO as an intangible masterpiece of humanity. The 3-part form defies Western conventions and comes in a plethora of musical dialects, reflecting the diverse geographical and cultural makeup of the country - a mountainous region of the Caucasus, in the crossroads of Europe and Asia. The Makharashvili family started performing in private settings, for family events, but as the children aged and developed more skills and repertoire, the family found themselves in more performance opportunities, whether they be in cameo appearances on stages in Toronto, NY and Georgia, or in more recent features such as Harbourfront’s 2017 Body Percussion Festival, Toronto’s Annual Black Out Party 2018, or Toronto’s First Georgian Cultural festival, Sept 30 2018. At the end of 2019, Ori Shalva also recorded for the television show “Sounds of Canada” to represent traditional Georgian polyphony among the talent of Canada’s mosaic cultural communities. Today, Georgian-born singer/multi-instrumentalist Shalva Makharashvili and his Toronto-born partner, Andrea Kuzmich, represent Canada’s foremost experts in Georgian polyphony. Andrea is an academic (PhD ABD) who has presented and published papers on Georgian music to international audiences. Both Shalva and Andrea were featured soloists in Darbazi; founded the award-winning trio ZARI; led Georgian workshops and/or have collaborated with many groups in Canada, including VIVA Youth Singers, Aradia Ensemble, UofT Vocal Jazz Ensemble, Young Voices of Toronto and Folk Camp; and have exposed many in Toronto (enthusiastic amateur singers to professional musicians and composers) to the intricacies of Georgian polyphony through workshops they lead out MusiCamp, their Toronto-based home studio. Visit for more info. By the way, “ori” in Georgian means 2. Shalva is a traditional Georgian name. Ori Shalva & Co. consists of two Shalvas (Shalva Makharashvili and Shalva-Lucas Makharashvili), Gabo Makharashvili and Andrea Kuzmich.