Zoe Perret arrived in Georgia in 2006 for the first time. Before that, she studied ethnomusicology in France and she already had information about Georgian polyphonic music. Zoe sings in a Georgian ensemble “Ialoni” and is a founder of the bar “At Zoe” on Leselidze Street in Tbilisi.
In 2006, I worked as an organizer of festivals which was about the music of south Caucasus. I met Georgians back then and they invited me to visit them. I arrived in Georgia and stayed here. I have heard a lot of good thing about Georgia and Georgians. I was working as a volunteer in the beginning. Later, I decided to learn Georgian music and I decided to stay. I have been living here for 10 years already.
What do you think; did you finally settle in Georgia?
I can’t say I settled for ever. I was not going to stay here for so long but its a fact I have been living in Tbilisi for 10 years.I opened the bar 2 years ago. I sing in the ensemble. I am connected to Georgia with a lot of things but I can’t tell if i’m going to stay forever. I want to engage all my time with music in the future.
What do you like and don’t like about Georgia?
I like that relationships and friendships are unlimited here. Solidarity and support among people is strong. There is respect between generations. Generations are more separated in France. There are lots of generous people living in Georgia. They don’t have much money but they help each other as much as they can.
Georgia has a difficult history which has a lot of specific characteristics. New generation should not forget this. I mean the culture, traditional dance and music. But there is one problem. They appreciate their music but they also should respect others. They should not offend others and say they have the best music. There is another side that some young people totally refuse their cultural heritage and they think its remains of previous centuries.
Did you have to deal with some difficulties as an ethnic minority?
I am from Europe and it is easier for me to adapt to a new society, but sometimes I had to deal with gender stereotypes when people think that I cannot do something because I’m a woman. I’m trying not to pay attention to it.