Summer School - Chechen and Georgian Musical Folklore and Chechen Language, 22-31 August 2016, Pankisi, Georgia

Publish Date: Jul 11, 2016

Visit Pankisi this summer!

Learn Chechen and Georgian musical folklore and Chechen language with full-immersion cultural programmes developed by professionals in their field! 

The Pankisi Ensemble invites everyone to the village of Joqolo in Pankisi valley, Georgia, to take part in a ten‐day Summer School on 22–31 August 2016. The Summer School is divided into two full‐immersion programmes for those interested either in traditional musical forms of expression in southeast Georgia or the Chechen language and culture.

The Musical Programme will allow participants to explore Kist, Tush, and Pshav living musical folklore from the mountains of northeast Georgia.

The Language Programme will allow participants to learn the basics of the Chechen language, one of the major indigenous languages of the Caucasus and the language of daily communication in Pankisi valley, Chechnya, and parts of Daghestan.

Musical Programme

The teaching programme is flexible and will be adapted to the individual needs of the participants. In its most basic form, the programme includes becoming acquainted with traditional Kist, Tush, and Pshav instruments (balalaika, dechigpondar, doli, garmon, panduri, and others), the main musical correspondences and differences between the musical traditions of Pankisi, Tusheti, and Pshavi, and daily musical practice with an expected outcome of mastering 3–5 songs.

There is a possibility of conducting a separate course for participants interested only in vocal music, including the chant genre of sagalobeli. The expected outcome of such course is mastering two songs.

After morning and early afternoon musical sessions, the participants will be offered to meet local performers in Pankisi and its vicinities, including other Kist and Chechen musicians as well as few remaining Tush and Pshav performers residing in neighbouring villages. The musicians will interact with the participants and perform examples of critically endangered living musical folklore.

The programme also includes daily sightseeing trips in and around Pankisi, including the example of Georgian cultural and religious heritage of the Alaverdi Monastery and the natural monument of Khadori waterfall deep inside Pankisi valley.

Language Programme

The course will be taught by a specially invited native speaker of Chechen from Grozny in Chechnya, who is also a fluent speaker of English and has an extensive experience in teaching Chechen to foreign students. The intensive course will include becoming acquainted with Chechen spelling and pronunciation, basic grammar information, and acquiring basic practical communication skills. The expected outcome of the course is to be able to hold a basic conversation in Chechen including being able to introduce oneself, talk about one’s family and interests, make inquiries such as asking for directions, shopping, and others.

The participants will be staying with local host families who will be specially instructed to try to communicate with the participants in Chechen. This will give the participants an additional chance to practice their newly acquired skills and to take advantage of the exclusively Chechen‐speaking environment.

The participants will also meet with local elders, religious figures of different Islamic denominations, artists, and journalists and will have a chance to interact with them freely. They will also become acquainted with the basics of Chechen etiquette and aadat — the customary law.

The course also includes a cultural and recreational component. The participants will be offered to join the participants of the Music Programme and meet local music performers in Pankisi and its vicinities. The musicians will perform examples of living Chechen and Kist musical folklore.

The programme also includes daily sightseeing trips in around Pankisi valley, including the example of Georgian cultural and religious heritage of the Alaverdi Monastery and the natural monument of Khadori waterfall deep inside Pankisi valley.

The Price

The price for a 10 day summer camp is ₾1000 (approximately €390 or $430).

The price includes:

  • Transport from Tbilisi to Pankisi and from Pankisi to Tbilisi;
  • Accommodation with local families in Joqolo;
  • Full board (three meals a day) with vegetarian and vegan options available;
  • Full‐time interpreter from Chechen, Georgian, and Russian into English;
  • Daily music instruction with local experts in Kist, Tush, and Pshav folklore (Music Programme);
  • Daily language training with a qualified teacher from Grozny, Chechnya (Language Programme);
  • Daily trips around Pankisi valley and its vicinities to meet and listen to performances of local performers;
  • Meetings with local elders, religious figures, artists, and journalists;
  • Sightseeing tours focused on local historic, cultural, religious, and natural heritage.

Accommodation & Board

Each Participants of the summer school will be hosted by the family of Bela Mutoshvili herself or by another host family in the village of Joqolo in Pankisi Valley. The participants will be offered three meals a day. Separate vegetarian and vegan menus are available.

Each meal will consist of traditional Georgian, Chechen, and Kist dishes such as jizhggalnash,cheepalgash, khinkali, or dambalkhacho which are endemic to the area and prepared exclusively from local organic produce. The dishes are based on a variety of ingredients, including meat, dough, dairy, and fresh herbs and vegetables. The meat used for all meals is halal.

How to Apply

In order to apply for the Summer School, please send an email to with a scan of your passport and a brief description of your expectations from the course. The organisers will take your expectations into account while preparing a detailed teaching programme for the participants.

Further Official Information

Link to Original

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