Saturday, July 10, 2010

The National Anthem of Georgia

"Tavisupleba" (Liberty) is the current national anthem of Georgia. The anthem, whose title means "Freedom", was adopted in 2004, along with the new national flag and coat of arms. The symbols' change was brought about upon the successful overthrow of the previous government in the bloodless Rose Revolution. The music, taken from the Georgian operas Abesalom da Eteri ("Abesalom and Eteri") and Daisi ("The Nightfall"), by the Georgian composer Zakaria Paliashvili (1871-1933), was adapted to form the anthem by Ioseb Kechakmadze. The lyrics were composed by David Magradze.

The new Georgian anthem was adopted by the Parliament of Georgia on 20 May 2004, exactly 5 months after the resignation of President Eduard Shevardnadze in the Rose Revolution. A bill was introduced in the first plenary meeting of the 6th convocation of the Georgian Parliament on April 22, 2004. The bill to adopt Tavisupleba as the anthem was presented by the Minister of Culture Giorgi Gabashvili; in which the music was played for the deputies soon afterwards. The law does not give any regulations, but refers to the corresponding Presidential Decree.

"Tavisupleba" succeeds the old anthem Dideba zetsit kurtheuls, which was in use by the Democratic Republic of Georgia from 1918 to 1921, and again by the newly independent (from Soviet Union) Georgia from 1990 to 2004.

The new anthem quickly gained popularity in contrast to its predecessor, whose lyrics were somewhat archaic and difficult to memorize.

During U.S. President George W. Bush’s visit to Georgia, on May 10, 2005, when he along with President Mikheil Saakashvili were addressing tens of thousands of Georgians in Tavisuplebis Moedani in Tbilisi, a recording of "Tavisupleba" failed to play properly. Saakashvili then motioned to the choirs, and thousands in the crowd joined the singers in singing the anthem, a moment which was described by media as "the most powerful moment of the day".

The music of the anthem were adapted from two Georgian operas, "Abesalom da Eteri" (1918) and "Daisi" (1923), composed by Zakaria Paliashvili, the father of the Georgian classical music genre.

The above stamp issued by the USSR in 1971 features the composer, Zakaria Paliashvili