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INBOX- a New Innovative Product by Bank Constanta to Support Georgian Ethnographic Culture

Published: August 6, 2012 | 11:35 am
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In the beginning of August Bank Constanta will start a new project, which envisions studio recordings of amazing representatives of Georgian folklore. The recordings will be sold through the Internet. The project is implemented together with the folk ensemble Shavnabada. This is the very first large-scale precedent when these people are given an opportunity to promote their work on international markets online. In the frame of the project, Bank Constanta will open its new type of savings account INBOX for them.

Ilia Datuashvili, band master of Gurjaani ensemble was the first of the project participants to get his own INBOX account.

“My friend David Tsintsadze, artistic director of Savnabada ensemble, informed me about this unique project. Until today, the national folklore representatives never had this type of large-scale promotion. I believe our songs as of individuals or ensembles will be a success on international markets, making Georgian folklore more famous worldwide. It’s also important that along with public awareness, the project offers commercial benefit to the participants. Thanks to Bank Constanta, our national folklore is in good hands and is taken a subsequent care of,” declared Datuashvili.

The COMMERCIAL TIMES interviewed representatives from Bank Constanta and Shavnabada ensemble.

Keto Giorgobiani, Public Relations Manager of Bank Constanta

- Bank Constanta is strongly focused at supporting national ethnographic culture. This commitment has been obvious in the bank’s involvement in the projects like Art Gene festival. What is unique about the new initiative and what will be the benefit the participants will get?

- This year we’ve been intensively working on supporting Georgian ethnographic culture. Starting from August 3 we’re launching a regional tour. Shavnabada ensemble has selected several old bandmasters to record, like Andro Simashvili, 92. The tour will start from Kakheti and will cover the whole country. Hopefully, by September we’ll hold a special presentation dedicated to the results of the regional tour. I’m especially grateful to the Catholicos Patriarch of all Georgia Ilia II for giving his blessing to this project.

The project is unique since the recordings will be sold on the Internet on the famous commercial websites legally. Money attracted from Internet sales of the songs will be transferred to the INBOX account of the concrete participant. In addition, volunteers will be able to financially support their favorite folklorists and transfer desired amount of money on their INBOX accounts.


INBOX is a flexible product since, different from other banking products, it has simple six-digit account number (INBOX number), which is selected by the consumer. In order to open INBOX account or transfer money to the account, consumers do not need to visit the bank, they can use 24-hour fast-payment box instead. What’s most important, no minimum amount is required. The bank adds annual rate on the account. Consumers get SMS after each operation, thus they can better manage their accounts.

We held INBOX action during the Art Gene 2012 festival. Guests were able to open INBOX accounts at special counters. It appeared that the demand was so high we almost ran out of INBOXes. Similar counters will be launched throughout the entire city in future and INBOX consumers will have to visit the bank only once- when taking out the money.

- Why did you choose Shavnabada ensemble as the partner of the project?

- Bank Constanta has been cooperating with Shavnabada ensemble for a long time. Together with this ensemble we’ve been working on the project Meet Georgia, devoted to the country’s folk culture. 16 documentary films are already completed, out of which 12 is already uploaded on our YouTube channel. The films have already been aired on regional televisions. Meet Georgia is a scientific-cultural project, exploring links between these two directions. For instance, the documentaries describe how wine and Mravazhamier song are related.

In parallel to the Art Gene 2012 regional tour, we’ve travelled around all the regions of Georgia and visited live legends of the national folklore like Andro Simashvili in Kakheti, Polikarpe Khubulava in Samegrelo, Islam Pilpani in Upper Svaneti, etc. In the frame of the project, histories and photo portraits have been created of these people.

- As for the commercial value of the project, why is it important for the bank to support non-commercial ideas?

- Bank Constanta has no commercial interest in this project as the money collected through the Internet sales are directly and fully transferred to the accounts of the participants.

It’s important that young generation gets access to the folk music created by their ancestors.  The main focus of the bank’s social responsibility strategy is supporting national ethnographic culture and this project is the one we’re committed to make a big success both locally and internationally.

These types of projects, supported by Bank Constanta, are aimed at implementing the primary goal, which is to make old Georgian folklore representatives and their work popular among youth and urban population.

David Tsintsadze, Artistic Director of the folk ensemble Shavnabada

- For you, as a representative of Georgia’s folklore, how important is this project? What is the main expectation?

- My relations with the elderly of the Georgian folklore counts many years as folklore is my profession. One day, when time passes, I might be in their place and it is important that I have all this unique information to pass to the new generations.

It is the first time that these people are given an opportunity to sell their works online in the frame of such a large-scale project. However, it’s not the finances that they’re interested in primarily. The main issue for them is that the cultural heritage is passed to the young generation.

- Despite the fact that lots of samples of the old Georgian folklore is lost, would you say there is still much material left to promote both locally and on international markets?

- Folklore material that we have in hands is quite big and absolutely unique. However, in the frame of the project, 30 songs will be recorded in the first phase, which is less than one third of the material of a single region. The pilot project has already been tested on my ensemble; Shavnabada songs are sold on iTunes for a year already. Revenue from sales is not big right now but when other ensembles will also join the Internet sales, the demand on Georgian folklore will rise.

There are around ten top bandmasters in Georgia; each region has its own representative to pride with like: Polikarpe Khubulava, Tristan and Guri Sikharulidzes, Andro Simashvili, Islam Pilpani, Odila ensemble. These are the people who represent their regions best.

- Do you expect the project to make the national folklore market more competitive since commercial interest is included?

- When it comes to commercial benefit, the ensembles who will sell more quality products will have more revenue. This, indeed, will raise demand on quality improvement, which will be the next best step for the further development of Georgian folklore. Everyone will do their best to remain competitive on the market.

Copyright issues should be handled strictly. We often see that songs by Georgian ensembles, including mine, are sold illegally on the Internet. The project participant folklore representatives will be the only authorized persons for the songs uploaded.

What’s also important, people who are into folklore and value the elderly will be able to transfer desired amount of money on their INBOX accounts through fast-payment boxes.

-  How successfully has your partnership with Bank Constanta been developing and what are the new projects planned for future implementation?

- I’m really grateful to find the company in Georgia, which is interested in supporting Georgia’s ethnographic culture. A set of documentary films that we created thanks to Bank Constanta is something very special to watch and it’s interesting not only for Georgians but for a broader foreign society. Meet Georgia is the project that enabled us to shoot these documentaries. I was pleasantly surprised when the bank suggested continuing the project. I’m happy to see that Bank Constanta sees and appreciates the unique value of promoting Georgian folk culture, despite its non-commercial value for the bank.

There are also other new projects that will be implemented in near future, again related to Georgia’s ethnographic culture.



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