Fluent in Azerbaijani, Georgian, and Russian, Nargile represents the cosmopolitan heritage of old Tbilisi, a city once known as a meeting point for multilingual aşıq bards who would travel through the region serving as conduits for news, ideas, music and culture. A powerful solo performer, her vocal recital of epic folk poetry is by turns ecstatic and deeply expressive, and is interspersed with bursts of virtuosic, highly ornamented saz.
Born in Tbilisi and now based in the Borcali region of Southern Georgia, Nargile Mehtiyeva aka Asiq Nargilehas been playing saz (long-neck lute) and singing since the age of 15.
Equally comfortable performing moving laments or upbeat folk dances, Nargile is currently the only female aşıq living and performing in the ethnic Azeri region of Georgia, and has been teaching the art to new generations. Thanks to the efforts of The Sayat Nova Project, a non-profit group aiming to help preserve and promote the diverse musical dialects of the Caucasus, European audiences can now experience the elusive, hypnotic beauty of Nargile’s music for themselves. A recording of her live performance at Cafe OTO was released in 2016, following a successful UK tour with kindred folk channeller Richard Dawson, and further adventures at festivals including WOMAD, Supernormal and Eastern Daze in Gent have followed.