Project Description

Polyphony, Prose and all that Jazz.  Zurab Karumidze in conversation with Boyd Tonkin


Sunday 28 February – 16.45- 17.30

Zurab Karumidze won Georgia’s highest literary award, the Saba, for his history of jazz music,  The Life of Jazz, and his novel Jazzmine traced the clandestine cultural invasion of Georgia when the CIA launched the Voice of America jazz program at the height of the cold war in 1956. Yet for him, jazz has affinities with Georgian polyphonic singing, which – like Georgia’s winemaking – has Unesco status as an intangible heritage of humanity. His novel Dagny or a Love Feast, which he wrote in English, revealed other cross-cultural correspondences through the Norwegian poet Dagny Juel, modernist muse to both Munch and Strindberg,  who was killed by a lover in a Tbilisi hotel room in 1901.

On the centenary of the Soviet invasion that ended the first republic of 1918-21, and the 30th anniversary of the restoration of Georgia’s independence, he talks about his polyphonic life in music and prose with literary and music critic, and Benson Medallist, Boyd Tonkin in London.

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