I just found round trip airfare on Turkish Airlines from JFK for $900, which is quite good.
Looking forward to seeing you in Georgia!
Come with us to ancient and enchanting Georgia!
Dance, Music and Cultural Tour with Carl Linich and Helene Eriksen to the Republic of Georgia
APRIL 10 - 21, 2010
Nestled in the Caucasus Mountains, the tiny nation of Georgia has a rich and diverse culture. As far back as any history recalls, the Georgians have been right there. Jason and his Argonauts went to Georgia in search of the Golden Fleece - and there is strong evidence to indicate that Georgia is the birthplace of wine. Georgia adopted Orthodox Christianity as the state religion in the 4th century, and there are churches there from that epoch. Amazingly rich in natural resources, Georgia is also strikingly beautiful and diverse, from its snow-capped mountain peaks, to its citrus and bamboo growing in the flatlands along the Black Sea coast, and arid desert to the east - all packed into a very small territory. The Georgian language is related to no other - even the simplest of words that a child might first speak: "mother" is "deda," and, yes - it's true - "father" is "mama"! Once you start exploring the endlessly fascinating world of Georgia, you'll find it hard to stop.
The enchanting and lush province of Achara (also spelled Ajara, Adjara, Adzhara) is one of Georgia's gems. Nestled in the southwesternmost corner of Georgia, it is a center of trade due to its Black Sea ports. Historically, Achara has been a provider of tea, citrus, and fish. It has also been a prime vacation spot, thanks to its lovely beaches along the Black Sea coast. Since Achara was Turkish territory for about 250 years (1614-1878) there has been much cultural mixing, still evident in modern-day Achara.
Our tour will introduce you to the wonderful world of Achara. We will stay near the resort town of Kobuleti, and will have opportunity to visit many of the wonderful sights nearby, such as the 6th century Petra fortress at Tsikhisdziri. Of course, there will also be lots of amazing Georgian food, and time to relax on the beach! But the main focus of our tour will be traditional song and dance, as taught by local masters. Songs will be taught by ear, so all levels of musicianship are welcome (you don't need to read music). Dance will be for all levels. In addition to our classes it will also be possible to arrange extra private classes with our music and dance masters.
At the end of the tour, we will have time to see Georgia's beautiful capital city of Tbilisi, with its many architectural monuments, museums, and other attractions. In Tbilisi we will stay in a guest house and in Achara we will be staying with local families.
The tour will be led by Carl Linich and Helene Eriksen.
Carl Linich is a scholar, teacher, and performer of traditional Georgian polyphonic singing for 20 years, and member of Trio Kavkasia (see: kavkasia.org). Carl lived in Georgia for about 10 years, speaks fluent Georgian, and has led numerous singing tours in Georgia since 2001. In recognition of his work in promoting and preserving Georgian folk song, Carl has been honored as a Silver Medal Laureate of the Georgian government (1995) and has been awarded Georgia's prestigious Order of Merit award (2009).
Helene Eriksen is an internationally active dancer and dance ethnologist who has been studying and teaching dances of the countries between North Africa and Central Asia for over 30 years. She has been leading dance and music cultural tours to Turkey, Morocco and Armenia for many years. Her tours always focus on a cultural experience beyond the beated toursit path. Because her first exposure to Georgian dance in 1978 was one of the main inspirations that launched her career, Helene is very excited to collaborate with Carl for the first time and to take you to experience the firey dance and music culture of Achara.