Barbare /Varinka/ Machavariani-Tsereteli

1874-1948 / composer, public figure

Varinka's exceptional musical talent stood out from early childhood. Akaki Tsereteli was among those enchanted with her. In 1895 Akaki's famous poem "Suliko" was published and the author himself asked Varinka to write the tune to go along with it. Thus was created the legendary song.

In 1909 Varinka became the chairperson of the Qvirila (Zestaponi) chapter of the Society to Promote Literacy among Georgians. Several years later, she opened a reading room in her own house in the village of Tskhratsqaro. She also opened a small school which served 10 or so nearby villages.

In 1937 the A. Megrelidze Women's Folk Ensemble performed "Suliko" during the Days of Georgian Literature and Art in Moscow, but presented it as a folk song, instead of a composition by Varinka. Varinka had to work for years to gain recognition as the author of this extremely popular song. The Union of Composers ultimately acknowledged her authorship, but nonetheless, none of the published sheet music of the song bears her name.