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HomeBTA Activities

Young Talanted Georgian Pianist Played in the Bristol Jazz and Blues Festival

by Nina Bendukidze

Beka GochiashviliBristol and Tbilisi City Councils have agreed to jointly sponsor an exchange of Jazz musicians in 2014. In March the Beka Gochiashvili trio from Tbilisi played in the Bristol Jazz and Blues festival. It began with a Gala Dinner at Bordeaux Quay on 6th March at 7pm. BTA hosted a table with the Georgian musicians as guests as the BTA's contribution to the festival. Tickets for the Gala Dinner available from BTA included a three course meal at Bordeaux Quay, wine and coffee, live entertainment plus VIP tickets to all the Jazz and Blues Festival concerts. The tickets for the Gala Dinner were £85 each which is a lot but it was a fantastic evening. Beka Gochiashvili's concert was a fantastic opportunity to hear this wonderful pianist live. 




BTA - Author Meg Clothier Initiaitve 2014

March 2014
By Alix Hughes

Girl KingOliver Bullough, top Caucasus journalist, recommended Meg to us but it took over a year for her to finally make it to Bristol for World Book Day and International Women’s Day. When her historical novel the Girl King came out, Meg was pregnant and not available for a UK book signing tour. Eventually given her close connections to Bristol, she was born here, and Taunton where her family live, she agreed to speak at Foyles in Cabot Circus on the 7th March. She also kindly agreed to run a schools workshop during the afternoon.


From the school newsletter: 
“Year 10 and 11 celebrated World Book Day with the unbeatable combination of good company, a visit from published author Meg Clothier, and free biscuits! 
Having worked for both the Guardian and Reuters in Moscow, Meg has moved on to penning historical fiction. Her debut novel 'The Girl King', published by Century, is described by the Independent as 'glittering' and the follow-up, 'The Empress', has been equally well received by critics. Meg tells us that she is now working on a third novel which centres around a male protagonist. 
As well as being an accomplished writer, Meg also proved to be a highly entertaining and inspiring speaker. We were given a masterclass in plot construction, characterisation and use of dialogue - all delivered with great humour, energy and self-effacement. And whilst we were keen to know more about the writer's craft, Meg was just as interested in our own reading and writing habits. It turns out that we have a number of talented would-be authors in our midst, who were given very sage advice on being published and making (or scraping!) a living in the literary world.   
Perhaps the most important advice Meg gave us, though, was that we should all 'READ!' (Meg's capitals!). So on that note, we're off to the library . . .  

Click  here  for full version and photos





March 2014

by Alix Hughes

The 2013 holders of the Paul Garland Trophy, the Bristol-Hannover Council, organised the 2014 BITA Pub Quiz. It took place on THURSDAY 13TH MARCH in the evening upstairs at the Bavarian Beerhouse near the Theatre Royal. http://www.bavarian-beerhouse.co.uk/index.php/aboutus/bristol

The results:

BOA……  ……….42

 A big vote of thanks must go to Gerard (BHC Hon Sec) for compiling the questions despite having to move to London to start a new job and also to Ann (BHC chair)for being such a good quiz mistress.

Pub Quiz BTA team web

BTA team and the new holders of the Paul Garland trophy, the victorious BCP team from left to right John, Summer, Tony, Eric, Trish and Peter.


A Bridge of Friendship between Mtkvari and Avon

March 2014

by Nina Bendukidze


Sevdia Ugrekhelidze First Deputy Mayor of Tbilisi Nino Beglarishvili Tbilisi City Hall International department Officer

The presentation of the book dedicated to the 25th Anniversary of the twinning links between Tbilisi and Bristol took place in the City Hall in Bristol on the 7th of March 2014. The Acting Mayor of Tbilisi, Sevdia Igrekhelidze said: "The purpose of this book featuring the longlasting friendship between our cities is to take a brief look back over the past years. The book is based on the reminiscences of those people who have been involved in twinning and successfully maintaining links of friendship between the cities. Thanks to their dedication, we have such a remarkable friendship and tight links; especially I would like to single out the links between the Tbilisi State University and the University of the West of England, and also those in cultural exchanges, public health and matters concerning the environment. I am extremely grateful towards the people who contributed to the development of our mutual cooperation and for their valued friendship. Thanks to their personal determination, relationship between Bristol and Tbilisi goes far beyond formal cooperation and encoutages communication between a variety of professions."


Mayor presents BTA contributors with copies of book celebrating 25 years of friendship between Bristol and Tbilisi 

by Rebecca Megson

Colstan HallThe Acting Mayor of Tbilisi, Sevdia Ugrekhelidze, celebrated the publication of Tbilisi City Council commissioned book on Saturday 8 March with a presentation ceremony at the Colston Hall in Bristol. The book ‘A Bridge of Friendship – Between Mtkvari and Avon’ is filled with the personal stories of a number of people who have been involved in twinning links between Bristol and Tbilisi.    

At the presentation the mayor met with a number of people who have contributed both to the relationship between the two cities over the past 25 years and to the content of the book.

Speaking to the group Mayor Ugrekhelidze said: “The most important thing is the friendship between the citizens of these cities…..the personal relationships are the spirit and soul of the connection. It is very hard for any book to adequately reflect such friendship.”

The mayor explained the book is an attempt to catalogue the projects and initiatives between the two cities over the past 25 years.  

IMG 0301 webShe said: “I was personally keen to meet all the people involved in twinning links between Bristol and Tbilisi. The book is as a result of the contributions of all of you present and a number of other people who could not be with us today.” Mayor Ugrekhelidze highlighted the work of Professor Henry Parry and Paul Garland. She described them as: “pioneers….who laid the solid foundation for what has become a 25 year long relationship.”

The mayor concluded: “My hope is for many more good pages and chapters to be added to this friendship in the future.”

IMG 0320 webThe book presentation occurred during the Bristol Jazz Festrival, after a busy couple of days in which the Tbilisi delegation had met with, amongst others, Bristol elected Mayor George Ferguson. Ferguson has said he is very enthused about the relationship and has in principle committed to a return trip in October to Tbilisi when the city hosts their own jazz festival. 

The delegation met with Andrew Kelly Director of the Bristol Festival ideas and John Hirst Chief Executive of Destination Bristol as well as key people involved in the Harbour Festival, Balloon Festival and the Arts Council. Ideas were shared and discussed about potential cultural and economic collaborations between organisations in Bristol and Tbilisi.

Mayor Ugrekhelidze’s words were translated by Nino Beglarishvili, Chief Officer of the Department of International Relations in Tbilisi’s City Hall.

Rebecca Megson is a freelance writer. She is in the final year of her MA in Journalism at the University of the West of England.

2013 Short Season of Georgian Films

October 2013  
by Colin Evans

The first event in the BTA’s short season of Georgian films at the All  Hallows Community Cinema in Easton was well received.

putins20mama20filmlegacyIneke Smit’s documentary ‘Putin’s Mama’ raised not only the usual questions  about who might have been kidding who but it opened a window onto life in a  typical remote Georgian village. The cast of colourful characters, helped by  seemingly inexhaustible quantities of home produced alcohol, revealed the  renowned Georgian ability to live life to the whatever the circumstances.

‘Legacy’, produced by Temur and Gela Babaluani, revealed a darker side of  rural life in the country but in a story told with humour and tenderness.

The audience seemed enthralled by this insight into a unique country and  its customs and were also hugely impressed with the quality of the venue. It is  comfortable and the very sophisticated equipment showed the films to great  advantage.

Georgian film ain’t Hollywood and it is all the better for that!

The next screening will be on Tuesday 3rd December when the films will be  the documentary ‘Bandits’ and ‘The Lighthouse’ which was ‘the standout debut of  the year’ at the 2007 London Film Festival.




A Taste of Georgia

September 2013

by Nina Bendukidze

2013-09-14 11.35.23-website2013-09-14 12.36.29-websiteThis event was an introduction to Georgian culture and was  the launch event for the celebrations of the 25th anniversary of the twinning between Bristol and Tbilisi.

Special guest was Peter Nasmyth, who gave two free illustrated talks: “Adventure Tourism in Georgia” and “Tbilisi’s Old Town Development”. Writer and photographer Peter Nasmyth has been travelling in the Caucasus for the past 25 years, writing on the area for most major UK newspapers. This month sees the launch of the 2nd Edition of his walking guide to Georgia, 'Walking in the Caucasus‘ which he presented at the talk. His familiarity with Georgia began during the late 1980s when he worked as a journalist in the Soviet Union during its dramatic collapse. In 1988 he was instrumental in organizing the first live musicians TV satellite bridge between London and Leningrad (now St. Petersburg), and since then has blended broadcasting and writing with a variety of culturally based projects. He has been nominated for the United Nations Media Peace Prize, and his books including "Georgia: In the Mountains of Poetry" are a must read for any fans of Georgia. 2013-09-14 11.09.06-websiteMore recently he has published two architectural books and co-founded the Tbilisi Heritage Group - dedicated to preserving the city's historic character.

The audience could test the traditional Georgian food - khachapuri, lobiani and tkemali, and see books and artefacts from Georgia

Venue THE STATIONSilver St, Bristol BS1 2AG.

The venue is the old Fire Station building, now a thriving centre for young people, near the former Bridewell Police station. Part of BRISTOL OPEN DOORS day, Supported by THE STATION,  http://www.thestationbristol.org.uk/

This event was kindly sponsored by Regent Holidays http://www.regent-holidays.co.uk/  




BTA at the Bristol Harbourside Festival in 2013

July 2013

Written by Wenjing Huang

derek websiteBristol Tbilisi Association volunteers attended the exciting Bristol Harbourside Festival on 27th July, 2013. The location of the BTA’s display stand was in the twinning zone in Cathedral Walk just off Hannover quay.

The BTA Chairman, Derek Pickup, actively introduced Georgian music, artifacts and books. Dressed in a traditional Georgian hat he spoke with hundreds of people about the activities of the BTA and links with Tbilisi. Some of the BTA executive members came to help as well and they gave out the newly-designed postcard at the event, showing a fantastic night scene in Tbilisi.

AlixThe display stand with a colorful banner with images of Tbilisi, attracted many people to the BTA. They learned about the Bristol- Tbilisi link as well as about Georgian cities and Georgian culture. On the day of the event, THE BTA also informed people about the 25th anniversary of the Bristol-Tbilisi twinning, especially the 14th September open day ‘A Taste of Georgia’, which will be held at the Station near Broadmead.

The Harbourside Festival event will help BTA to promote friendship and understanding between the people of Bristol and Tbilisi.




Georgian Choir Iadoni performs at Womad Festival in July 2013

July 2013

by Novvy Allan

DSC02136IADONI (canary, in Georgian) a well known Georgian choir not only sang but cooked in Womad’s fantastic Taste the World tent on Sunday 28th July. The singers, all from Guria province, are mostly quite aged now, and this was the first time any of them had ever been out of Georgia! They were brought over by the Art Gene Group NGO “Union of Art Gene”, whose main aim is to promote Georgia’s traditional folk culture www.artgeni.ge.

Unusually IADONI includes women singers expert in krimanchuli reminiscent of Alpine yodelling and specific to Guria, which we hadn’t heard in Georgian singing before and was amazing. Throughout the performance in front of a packed audience, one of the eldest men stood on the cooking stage and, assisted by one of the women singers, made Chakapuli stew - lamb, onions, coriander, parsley, tkemali (sour plum sauce) and lots of wine - instructing the enthralled onlookers in Georgian at the same time! DSC02147

Taste the World at Womad is the brainchild of Bristol based Annie Menter her idea to extend the experience of different world cultures by sharing cuisines.

After the performance people were invited to sample the Chakapuli washed down with a small glass of delicious Georgian Tsinandali white wine kindly donated by the Bristol Tbilisi Association.

“IADONI ... digging deep into the polyphonic traditions of Georgia that prompted Igor Stravinsky to declare it the music that most affected him in his lifetime”






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