Nargile Mehtiyeva hails from the Caucasus state of Georgia, that geographical junction where Europe, the Middle East and Russia converge. As you’d expect, its an area of much physical, cultural and political traffic so its fitting that Nargile is part of that regional culture of asiq bards (hence the prefix) who would travel through the region sharing news, ideas and, of course, songs.
In accordance with bardic style, Nargile’s repertoire is based around her region’s epic folk poems – so, like Shirley Collins, her music focuses on the recalling of her culture’s folk tales and songs, delivered in her own personal, arresting style. In Nargile’s case, that is her soaring, impassioned voice accompanied by her virtuosic playing of the saz.
Nargile first came to UK attention following an invitation to appear at Newcastle’s TUSK Festival and a subsequent UK tour with Richard Dawson and she makes the kind of sound that stops you dead in your tracks, time utterly suspended.