The material for this blog is based on research I conducted for one of my PhD’s comprehensive exams: A Survey of the Musics of the Caucasus. (My area of specialty is in Georgian polyphony.) Unfortunately, this was a rather extreme task since the number of ethnic groups populating this small region is reported from being just under 60 to over 100, each with its own language, customs, and traditional musics. Moreover, it is difficult to access material, especially when dealing with the North Caucasus, and Dagestan in particular. Without the means to travel to all these countries, I am acting as something of a virtual armchair anthropologist, finding many recordings (commercial and field) on YouTube and on various websites (for example http://www.kavkazmusic.blogspot.ca, http://www.ossetians.com, http://www.waynakh.com, http://www.alazani.ge, http://www.caucascapades.wordpress.com, www.polyphony.ge, http://iccs.synthasite.com).
The initial posts on this blog will be a presentation of my comprehensive exam – a concise and manageable overview of the musics of the Caucasus, which out of necessity must simplify the musics and cultures in question. It is my hope that this blog should generate discussion and hopefully lead to future posts (or links to other blogs/websites) which provide more substantial material on the amazing music of the Caucasus. Thus, I welcome all comments and insights, an corrections!
Aside: the blog’s name is a play on my nickname “kuz” and the short phonetic leap between “Kuz in the Caucasus” and “Cruisin’ the Caucasus”. .