Mingrelian Lullaby

(QuickTime Video 7.9MB)

Music by Roger Mills and Medea Tsulaia
Video by Mac Dunlop


Mingrelian Lullaby is a traditional song from the Mingrelian province of the Republic of Georgia, This country's northern border is the Caucasian Mountain range while to the west its coast meets the Black Sea. Medea Tsulaia is a singer and musicologist of Georgian songs, and this is one of many she learnt in her childhood growing up in Mingrelia.

Its lyrics refer to a mother or grandmother cradling a child in her arms, but who knows that she cannot forever protect this child from the world in which they live.

Roger Mills and Medea began working on this track before they actually met. They were able to work together briefly at Lemon Lane Studios in Bristol (UK) for a few days in January 2000.

Medea was staying with us at the time, and our house was full of her singing out loud to some of the tracks Roger had quickly put together. She decided that this song - Mingrelian Lullaby- went best with the music and atmosphere that Roger had been working on, even though she had changed it
considerably from its traditional format.

After we had all spent an evening filming the two of them for Here Nor There, Medea talked about what the song meant for her. She said that she had been thinking about flight, as we all had at that time, trying to use it as a metaphor for what Here Nor There was - a place between borders.

She had been thinking about a different kind of flight, that of refugees, in her case, Georgian refugees from a place called "Abkhazia" at the north-west tip of Georgia, where war had broken out some years before between Russians, Chechen mercenaries, and the newly independant Georgian state.

Hundreds of thousands had left their homes and lives to flee across the Caucasian mountains into Georgia, and head for the capital, Tbilisi, where many of them remain to this day.

Around the time that Medea was here in Bristol, Here Nor There had been collecting video footage, some from driving around at night in Tbilisi, some from doing the same in Bristol, some from flying from Liverpool to Geneva, and a great deal from the televised war in Kosovo, between Nato
ally states, and the former Yugoslavia, where again, hundreds of thousands were being forced to flee their homes.

The use of all these images were inspired by Medea's interpretation of meaning in this traditional Georgian folk song.

"Perhaps in flight, some fear of flying begins".

Mac Dunlop