Trio Zari

Zari is a new and exciting trio of singers/ instrumentalists who specialize in the music of the Georgian Republic. In early 2003 Shalva Makharashvili, Andrea Kuzmich, and Reid Robins, members of Toronto’s 12 voice Georgian choir, DARBAZI, joined forces to concentrate their efforts on the exquisite harmony and complex polyphony of this ancient music. By turns exotic, lyrical, and powerful, ZARI brings to the stage three accomplished artists who embody the tradition and improvisational interplay of one of the world’s most beautiful musics in it’s most transparent form; the vocal trio.

Shalva Makharashvili

A Georgian native, has been performing the music of his homeland for 20 years. Starting with the panduri (a 3-stringed indigenous lute) at the age of 4, his musical education included training in voice, tradition and classical choral repertoire, classical guitar, and traditional dance. As a young man he toured Georgia and the former Soviet Union as a soloist in the choir Chakrulo. In 1997 he was invited to join Hereti, considered by many critics to be the foremost musical ensemble in the Caucasus. Featured as a vocal soloist, panduri and guitar player, he regularly performed to sold-out concert halls for the public, for diplomats, politicians, and visiting dignitaries. Shalva’s contributions as a soloist and an instrumentalist have won him national acclaim. Due to the political and social unrest in Georgia after the fall of the Soviet Union Hereti disbanded in the late 90′s: Six of its members found their way to Toronto, received political asylum, and regrouped to make their Canadian debut in December of 1999. Since that time Hereti has performed in concert and on radio, most recently for CBC’s Fresh Air, This Morning, and Sounds Like Canada (with Sheila Rogers). In 2001 his love of Georgian music, and his respect for the Canadians who sang it, led him to accept an invitation to join Darbazi, Canada’s only Georgian Choir. He has shared his expertise and been a central contributor ever since. In ZARI, Shalva has found two ‘foreign’ colleagues with whom to share Georgia’s technically daunting, majestic trio music, a fact that has filled him with joy, surprise, and pride.

Reid Robins

He has had a long and varied career as a singer, composer, and instrumentalist. Formally trained at Berklee College of Music, California Institute of the Arts, and Harvard University, Reid began his love affair with singing at the age of 10 on the stage of Toronto’s Massey Hall with the award winning children’s trio Owen Boulevard. A precocious fascination with polyphony, harmony, and composition soon took root in the study of Bach, North Indian classical music, the Beatles, jazz improvisation, and electronics. Reid has had the privilege of collaborating with some of the finest musicians in contemporary, modern jazz, and world music. Among these are saxophonist/composer John Zorn, guitarist Brian Katz, percussionist/pianist Bill Brennan, bassist/composer Jack Vees, saxophonist/composer David Mott, vocalist Susan Judy, composer John Oswald, tabla master Taranath Rao, trombonist Vinko Globokar, composers Steve Reich, Iannis Xenakis, and Louis Andreissen. Reid’s compositions for the concert stage have been performed across NorthAmerica, in Great Britain, France, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Switzerland, Holland, and Japan. He has also been a recipient of many awards.

Andrea Kuzmich

Her eclectic musical activities defy her conventional classical beginnings. By the age of 16 she had sung in four different Canadian Opera Company productions and performed as a cellist with the McMaster Symphony Orchestra. However, it wasn’t until she discovered vocal jazz that her genuine musical personality began to emerge. Hungry for all forms of musical stimuli, she sang with a Congolese Gospel Choir, studied Bulgarian and Macedonian folk music, performed with a Jazz band in Toronto’s inner city streets, busked in the subways, and discovered the haunting, ancient harmonies of Georgia. Her formal education at York University won her the Ella Fitzgerald award for Performance in Jazz, as well as the Saint Thyagaraja award for performance in South Indian music (studies with Suba and Trichi Sankaran). On the free jazz scene Andrea has performed with Cecil Taylor’s long standing trumpeter Raphe Malik, the late Glen Spearman, and New York’s Sabir Mateen. In 1999 she participated in the Banff International Jazz workshop, singing with such greats as Joe Lovano, Dave Douglas, Hugh Fraser, Dave Holland, and Kenny Werner. She’s regularly heard on jazz radio as the featured singer of Swing’s Mistress, Whitney Smith’s Big Band CD, as well as her own CD entitled Kooz’s Blues. Andrea performs in a variety of jazz combos, teaches voice, and leads a children’s world music chorus. Her long standing love and excitement for Georgian music has been deepened considerably by the emergence of ZARI as a performing ensemble.

Comments are closed.