33ა

33ა (33a) is a Georgian folk-rock band based out of Tbilisi. It was founded in 1994, during the troubled “dark 90s” of post-Soviet Georgia, led by Niaz Diasamidze. The name of the band, in fact, comes from the address of Diasamidze’s Tbilisi Apartment – 33a Paliashvili Street. All of the band members are Georgian. Diasamidze performs lead vocals and plays guitar, keyboard, and a traditional stringed instrument called a panduri, Spartak Kacharava plays drums, Achiko Tsimakuridze is lead guitar, and Ramaz Khatiashvili is on bass guitar.

33a’s musical genre can be best described as blend of folk, blues and soft rock. Drawing from Georgian and French traditional music styles, 33a fuses classic sounds with influences of pop, funk, and reggae. 33a’s best songs feel connected to an ancient rhythm, embedded in the core of the small Caucasian country. 2005’s New Album (ახალი ალბომი / Akhali Albomi / The New Album) conjures images of an early 20th century French troubadour stumbling through Georgian hillsides. There is a quiet confidence and maturity in the 2012 album Saperavi (საფერავი – named for a common variety of Georgian wine), which incorporates smooth reggae-inspired funk. The song “Shota Blues” layers a breezy chorus of Caribbean rhythms over Diasamidze’s rough French vocals, threaded with harmonicas and island drums. Another track from Saperavi, “Long Life,” (მრავალჯამიერ / Maravaljamier), takes quite a different tone, as Diasamidze speaks in Georgian over a track of French accordion and traditional Georgian melodies and drum rhythms.

The 2013 album Usakhelouri (a quite rare variety of Georgian wine) has many tracks featuring Diasamidze’s rough spoken words, musing on Georgian traditions and daily life, and has one song in Russian (Я знаю / Ya znayu / “I Know”) and one in French (L’Aigle  / “The Eagle”). One of the most popular songs on the album is “Dew Valley” (ნამი ველს / Nami Vels), which was featured on the TV show Tiflisi. The meandering guitars and occasional vocals of 33a are often the perfect accompaniment for an evening of Georgian wine or an afternoon in the mountains – drawing the listener inextricably towards the land, culture, and history of the band’s native country.

33a is well known for soundtracks to films and TV shows, including the 2013 film Tangerines (Mandarinebi) about the 1992-1993 War in Abkhazia, which was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at both the Academy Awards and the Golden Globe Awards that year. Niaz Diasamidze also composed soundtracks for the TV series Tiflisi (2014-present), and the 2014 film in the Cities of Love series – Tbilisi, I Love You.

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“Meskhuri” is an instrumental 2012 release. The name in Georgian, მესხური, is an adjective meaning something from the Georgian area of Meskheti.

 

“C’est la Vie” is a 2007 song titled in French and sung in Georgian

Lyrics for “C’est la Vie”

წლები დავთვალე, აზრი გავთალე,
წყალი დავლიე, სხვასაც ვაცალე.

წერა მომინდა, გზები დავხატე,
ხმა ამოვიღე, რითმი დავთვალე.

მიწა გავრეცხე, ცრემლი დავღვარე,
ნისლი ვატარე, მზე ავაფარე.

ერთი ვიწამე, სახლი ვაშენე,
ოქრო ვიპოვნე, ვერ დავითვალე.

კარი გამიღო, კარი გავუღე,
გზა დავინახე, ლექსად ვაქციე.

მიწა გავრეცხე, ცრემლი დავღვარე,
ნისლი ვატარე, მზე ავაფარე.

წლები დავთვალე, აზრი გავთალე,
წყალი დავლიე, სხვასაც ვაცალე.

წერა მომინდა, გზები დავხატე,
ხმა ამოვიღე, რითმი დავთვალე.

ერთი ვიწამე, სახლი ვაშენე,
ოქრო ვიპოვნე, ვერ დავითვალე.

კარი გამიღო, კარი გავუღე,
… გზა დავინახე, ლექსად ვაქციე. [x2]

მიწა გავრეცხე, ცრემლი დავღვარე,
ნისლი ვატარე, მზე ავაფარე.

ისევ გზა, ისევ მზე,
ისევ შენ, ისევ მე, ისევ შენ.

ისევ გზა, ისევ მზე,
ისევ შენ, ისევ გზა, ისევ გზა, ისევ გზა

 

“Я знаю” is the band’s singular Russian-language track to date. Lyrics are currently unavailable.

 

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This entry was written by SRAS Graduate Samantha Guthrie from the University of Virginia, class of 2016. She is a double major in Foreign Affairs and Russian and Eastern European Studies. A Boren Scholarship recipient, she plans to work for the US government in a career related to national defense intelligence or international aid. Her research focuses on the relationship between Russians and Caucasians. She spent spring and summer 2014 in St. Petersburg with SRAS Russian Studies Abroad and Russian as a Second Language.

SRAS specializes in study, research, and travel abroad to Russia and Eurasia. SRAS also maintains this site and provides free info for students studying Russia and Eurasia. Explore our resources to find out more!