ZARI is Shalva Makharashvili, Andrea Kuzmich and Reid Robins
Shalva Makharashvili, a Georgian native, has been performing the music of his homeland for over 30 years. Starting with the panduri (a 3-stringed indigenous lute) at the age of 4, his musical education included training in voice, tradition and classical choral repertoire, classical guitar, and traditional dance. As a young man he toured Georgia and the former Soviet Union in a number of choirs as featured soloist and instrumentalist (panduri and guitar player). Besides panduri, Shalva plays changi (harp), chonguri (a 4-stringed lute) and chiboni (bagpipes). Since his immigration to Toronto he has received a number of awards and featured on CBC radio. He also chants numerous times per week in services for the Georgian Orthodox Church. He maintains close ties with the traditional singing community in Georgia, where he is highly respected as a singer as well as for his work in disseminating Georgian folk songs.
Andrea Kuzmich‘s eclectic musical activities defy her conventional classically oriented childhood which included performances with the Canadian Opera Company and as a cellist with the McMaster Symphony Orchestra. Singing in a Congolese Gospel choir, studying Balkan music, African American shouts, and exploring Ukrainian polyphony with Kosa Kolektiv are just some of her diversions. Her formal education at York University won her the Ella Fitzgerald award for Performance in Jazz, as well as the Saint Thyagaraja award for performance of South Indian music. Andrea has performed in and led numerous ensembles and choirs, from mainstream big band jazz to church choirs to contemporary improvised music. Most recently her focus has been directed to the ancient polyphony of Central Eurasia’s Georgia: singing with her family and the award winning ensembles Darbazi and ZARI, leading Georgian singing workshops, pursuing her PhD in Ethnomusicology at York University (on the embodiment of ancestry in the performance of Georgian polyphony), and travelling often to Georgia to study with singers there. She also runs MusiCamp, an ethnomusicologically inspired music camp for kids in Toronto.
Reid Robins has had a long and varied career as a singer, composer, and instrumentalist. Formally trained at Berklee College of Music, California Institute of the Arts, and Harvard University, Robins began his love affair with singing at the age of 10 on the stage of Toronto’s Massey Hall with the award winning children’s trio Owen Boulevard. A precocious fascination with polyphony, harmony, and composition soon took root in the study of Bach, North Indian classical music, the Beatles, jazz improvisation, and electronics. Robins has had the privilege of collaborating with some of the finest musicians in contemporary, modern jazz, and world music. Among these are saxophonist/composer John Zorn, guitarist Brian Katz, percussionist/pianist Bill Brennan, bassist/composer Jack Vees, saxophonist/composer David Mott, vocalist Susan Judy, composer John Oswald, tabla master Taranath Rao, trombonist Vinko Globokar, composers Steve Reich, Iannis Xenakis, and Louis Andreissen. His compositions for the concert stage have been performed across NorthAmerica, in Great Britain, France, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Switzerland, Holland, and Japan. Robins has also been the fortunate recipient of many awards.