Keti Paresashvili / ქეტო ფერესაშვილი

She was born on April 8, 1972.

Her past could seem ordinary and extraordinary. Her childhood was like anyone else’s, with special feelings and emotions perhaps and a unique approach to things…

…An ingeniously arranged stage, an imaginary microphone, three or four chairs and the smiling faces of relatives… a child on stage, dancing and singing, having fun and entertaining others. Later she walks out onto the stage to an ovation and the curtain falls on this one girl show.

Keti Paresashvili had an extraordinary passion for singing. As soon as she heard a tune she could reproduce it at once. She was particularly fond of foreign songs and made her own special interpretations of them. It was obvious that she did not lack an ear for music and voice (they say her grandfather was quite talented in this respect too).

The years passed by and Keti grew older. She received her musical education at a secondary school for the gifted, but her desire for getting on stage still continued… and so there were always concerts on the stairs of her school. Sometimes she sang by herself, sometimes – to the saxophone accompaniment of her friend Dato Loladze…

…Everyone suggested that Keti should get on the real stage and sing in front of an audience, but this seemed so unreal to her…

She graduated from the Institute of Foreign Languages but still sang, listened to others and sang even more…

“…and one day Dato gave me a tape to listen to. It was Tanya Maria and suddenly, it was like a miracle – I wanted to sing her songs. I was particularly enchanted by Bom Bom Bom (Chi Chi Chi)  – Tanya Maria’s composition based on a Brazilian dance…”

Keti did everything herself, preparing the song, working on it and finally recording the composition all on her own.

Tanya Maria sings in Portuguese, and Keti did not speak or understand the language. She would grasp the meaning according to the language of the music and later would make her own interpretations.

…Keti was really fascinated with Portuguese. She would ask people for dictionaries and would spend days looking for words to help her understand a song. This was a hard time for her but her desire and love for this music gave her strength… Eventually she found a professional teacher of Portuguese, Vano Tsagareishvili, and began to make some progress with his help…

And then a wonderful (or was it extraordinary) day came. Keti, singing a song by Tanya Maria, faced an audience for the first time on the stage of the Big Philharmonic Concert Hall in 1995. It was such a success that at last she realised that she belonged on stage…

This was followed by “Khelebi” (Hands) Festival and later by “Margarita”. Keti won one of the main prizes of the latter festival – “Miss Margarita 96”. “It is an awesome crown   – absolutely gorgeous. “ she enthused.

You might be interested to know that in 1997 Keti was the first to sing for the Georgian version of a Coca-Cola commercial recorded in Istanbul.
But taking a wider perspective – what does she sing?

99 per cent of Keti’s repertoire is made up of foreign songs: “I have several compositions based on Tanya Maria’s songs. This was like an impetus for me. But many jazzmen sing sambas and I just make my own interpretations.”

The natural question is – why not Georgian songs?

“Georgian folk songs and table songs are marvellous. I am really sorry that contemporary songs do not meet this standard…” she remarked.

But yet there is a composer that Keti likes a lot -Giorgi Tsintsadze, whose songs she is planning to sing in the future.

I am sure everyone would be interested to find out how Keti got involved in the Ayeti TV commercial and what made the actor Zurab Kipshidze appear in a new role?

“The music is by Giorgi Tsintsadze, the text – by Niko Gomelauri and costumes were designed by Ika Bobokhidze. The director of the video is Niko Marr and photography by Giorgi Beridze. It was the latter who decided on my participation in the project. Later all of us sat down, gave it some thought and concluded that Zura had to sing along with me. Zura has multiple talents, so singing presented no problem for him. He has a wonderful timbre…”

Keti was popular before the advert but the video made her universally famous. However, Keti has never made any special effort to gain popularity, it just came naturally: “It is nice being popular but it does not change my attitude towards things.”

Keti’s schedule is heavy, especially on holidays. Normally she sings at “Dato’s Club” and “Elite”. She performs at Dato’s on Thursdays and Saturdays and it is very much like a school for her. She has learnt a lot here “trying to grow professionally”.  The manager of “Dato’s Jazz Soul Club” Gia Manjgaladze and the wonderful piano players Dini Virsaladze and Gia Rakviashvili are helping her in this process of professional growth.

Keti is proud that such great musicians as Tamaz Kurashvili, Dato Mazanashvili, Dato Japaridze, Nukri Abashidze, Zurab Ramishvili, Guliko Chanturia and Michel Petrucciani among others have performed at “Dato’s Club”.

Another singer that currently performs at the Jazz Soul Club with Keti is Maya Baratashvili.

Keti is in love with music and singing but above all others she loves jazz.  She thinks that to sing jazz means that you can think and do whatever you like and become absolutely free, yet you have to do this gracefully.

Perhaps all artists dream of composing their own songs and then proudly introducing them to the audience. I may be wrong but I still think that’s the way it is.

What is Keti’s opinion about this?

“You cannot force yourself into writing a song. It has to happen naturally, but so far I have never experienced anything of the kind. I can certainly concoct a simple melody, because I studied harmony at school, but that is not something I want to do, although I will certainly be happy if one day I discover that I have this gift.”
Keti works hard, really hard: she wants to achieve more. Sometimes she even punishes herself, but this is determined by her devotion to her profession: “I am usually not content with what I do, I am very demanding of myself. I always have the feeling I could have done better.”

It is always hard to talk about oneself. In Keti’s case, however, it’s undue modesty:  “I think I will become a real singer, meaning I will not feel uncomfortable performing anywhere in the world. But that’s only what I think…”

She thinks hard and finally concludes:

“Well, I’m definitely not a negative person, I love kindness and worship freedom.”

Keti never plans anything beforehand. She does not know what she will do tomorrow. All she knows is that she will sing and live her life and … yes, she will record an album…

Keti’s most severe judge is herself. But she would like people to judge her work too, for they can also be harsh judges…

Like anyone, she has her dreams – some realistic and some ideal. But anything can happen…

“I want to sing jazz, sing it in my own style”…

She has other dreams too… She dreams to sing with Tanya Maria and her biggest dream is, of course, Brazil… Rio… the stage…

And this will all come.

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