Ilusha Tsinadze was born in Georgia. When he was 8 years old he and his family moved to USA. Since then Ilusha has maintained strong ties with Georgian culture, especially Georgian music. Tsinadze was 13 years old when parents bought him his first guitar, and that’s when his journey began. After a graduation from high school Ilusha was accepted to William Paterson University, where he studied jazz. In 2005 Tsinadze visited Georgia and discovered his musical heritage. He met several musicians in Georgia and decided to learn some of the songs. Ilusha began to collect stories and songs from his relatives and became inspired to share Georgian music with an American audience.
Ilusha Tsinadze created a band that features Richie Barshay (drums), Chris Tordini (bass), Rob Hecht (violin and bass clarinet), Liam Robinson (accordion), and guest vocalist Jean Rohe (Ilusha’s girlfriend). Currently they’re working on their first project called Mother Tongue (Deda Ena). The album will feature 8 Georgian traditional songs and 2 of Ilusha’s own compositions.
Not long ago Tsinadze posted his first video on YouTube. It is a clip of the band’s first released track Mokhevis Kalo Tinao, which is a bluegrass interpretation of an old Georgian folk song.
In a couple of days the video has been viewed and shared several thousand times. Georgians loved it.
I had a chance to talk to this impressive young man who loves Georgia and wants to perform there this summer.
– Ilusha, what were you expecting when you posted Mokhevis Kalo Tinao on YouTube?
– I had a feeling that Georgians would like the song, but I didn’t expect for it to become popular so quickly.
– When did you decide to become a musician?
– I decided to be a musician when I was finishing school. I knew I wanted to study music more than anything else. That’s when I applied to study jazz guitar.
– What were your impressions of Georgia when you visited it for the first time after 15 years?
– When I came back there were 10 people waiting for me at the airport. They had two cars and they had an argument about whose house they would take me too. It felt so good to be there. My Georgian was still pretty bad, when people talked fast I didn’t understand most of what they would say, I would just nod and smile. Since then I have been in Georgia four times.
– Are you planning to have a concert in Georgia?
– My goal is to visit Georgia with my band next summer and have several concerts, I want to participate in festivals like Art-Gene, Chveneburebi, I would also like to perform in Batumi, Svaneti and other parts of Georgia.
– Who is your favorite band/artist of all time?
– My favorite singer is my partner Jean Rohe and my favorite band is the guys that play with me on the CD. Not only do they play with heart but they are really warm and sweet people.
– When are you planning to release Deda Ena and will it be sold in Georgia?
– Around the end of February or beginning of March. It will be sold in Georgia and also on my website.