The Bum ‘Scandal’!
17 July, 2014
The Bum ‘Scandal’!
A recent episode of “Apartment 18” show by GDS TV has caused outrage among local human rights activists. The video was a peculiar piece indeed - Georgian folklore band “Bani” played a folk melody of “Rachuli” on two female models’ rears. Hosts Levan Gogoreliani and Kotiko Toloraia met the performance with an ovation.

The video quickly went viral in social networks, attracting attention from Georgian human rights activists. They were outraged and promised to complain to women’s rights protection groups
about this episode.
“This will be the demise of this Company!! It will not be able to buy its way out of it!” – writes human rights activist Tamar Gurchiani in the comment section of the video.
Georgian Journal contacted the parties involved in the performance to find out further details of the controversial story.

Mari Babeta (exotic dancer), one of the main “culprits”, sees nothing to be appalled at playing folk songs on women’s behinds:

– I knew what I was doing and had no qualms and troubles about it at all. This was a deliberate step.

– Many say that discrimination of women took place…

– There was no discrimination. I had a lot of fun, just like all others. I would like the people who blew it out of proportion to refrain from speaking on my behalf – I am not the one who made a problem out of this. Whoever considers this a problem should mind their own business and their own rears too.

– Still, this show has prompted an extremely negative reaction from our society. What do you think was the reason?

– Some people interpreted it as a mockery of Georgian folklore. This is absurd. There was not even an intention to mock anything. Unfortunately, people failed to look at it as a form of art, and this was our mistake. We were not perceived as drums, giving way to depraved and indecent thoughts instead. What exactly was insane or shameful about two girls posing as drums?! By the way, they did something similar abroad, and no one perceived it as discrimination. If they want to resemble Europeans, they should try to resemble them in art, not in depravity. Personally, I liked it a lot when I watched it.

– Mari, your face is barely visible in the video. Can it be said that your rear is now more popular than your face, and if yes, does it cause you discomfort?

– No, quite the contrary. My face is already quite famous and it’s no big deal if my rear becomes popular as well. I don’t see anything bad about this.

On the other hand, the members of the band “Bani” were quick to apologize to the audience:

“Naturally, we regret this, since it isn’t nice to see people whom we value and love regard us with such a negative attitude… Everyone makes mistakes, and we are no exception, but everything can be corrected.” – says Mate Pirtskhalava, lead singer of the band “Bani” in response to the outrage that followed their performance of “Rachuli.”

– We really didn’t expect our performance to cause such a backlash. It was just an entertaining show, nothing else. We didn’t even think it might be insulting to anyone. On behalf of the entire band, I want to apologize to the people.

– They say that first and foremost, it was an insult to Georgian folklore…

– It didn’t even occur to us that we might insult Georgian folklore by our actions. Don’t look at everything in such a negative way. Once again, it was an ordinary entertaining show which was taken by the audience in a completely wrong way.

– Now that people’s opinion of you has changed, do you regret what you did?

– Of course we do, since it isn’t nice to see people whom we value and love to regard us with such a negative attitude…

– Many people do controversial things with the purpose of becoming popular. But you were popular already, weren’t you?

– We didn’t do that for popularity’s sake… As I mentioned already, it was a show, meant for entertainment, and we did exactly that. How could we have expected the outrage that would follow?!

One of the most popular faces in Georgian dancing and folklore, Jemal Chkuaseli, the man behind “Erisioni” ensemble, saw no need to hide his indignation at this “blasphemous” performance.
“I call upon your colleagues to unite and combat this depravity together… I, for one, would have preferred to die rather than witness this day. I almost went insane when I saw what I saw and heard what I heard. My heart aches so much that I don’t think I’ll survive…” – says Chkuaseli.

– When a man dances a Georgian dance to Chechen music or music from American movies, he sets a bad example that many might follow…

– Who do you mean by that?

– You know perfectly whom I mean. “Sukhishvilebi” , of course. Since people go to this band’s concerts en masse, it means that everything this band does is well liked. When Georgian dance is danced to foreign music, it means death of folklore. And when a famous band does this, they must be stopped as soon as possible.
As for Bani, what they did is unimaginably horrid, to the point that I still doubt they really did it. What else has to happen for us to wake up?! The very thing that we treasure the most, the one we amaze the world with, we lost it without even realizing it. I once said that in 15 years Georgian song and dance will be no more, and I was sorely mistaken – it is already lost. People, do something against this madness!

Authors: Manana Gabrichidze, Lado Gogoladze
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