Joan Mills


Mid/ West Wales but works throughout UK and beyond


Developing expressive voice both speaking and singing, Georgian polyphony, traditional song.

Additional information

Joan Mills co-leads K’ak’ali (The Walnuts), a community choir that only sings Georgian polyphony, and is also the editor of Edisher Garakindze’s collection of traditional songs ‘99 Georgian Songs’, a workbook for singers in the west. It was from Edisher and his colleague Joseph Jordania that Joan learned many of the songs in her repertoire. She also founded and taught the Heartsong choir for many years and later, The Enthusiasts.  Joan is also a voice practitioner, theatre director, and the Centre for Performance Research’s Voice Director. For 12 years, she was the Fellow in Voice and Performance at the Department of Theatre Film and Television Studies, Aberystwyth University following 8 years as Head of Voice and Movement at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.

Joan has taught workshops in voice, acting and writing throughout the UK, Europe and the USA and has recorded 3 CDs in collaboration with Frankie Armstrong, as well as her own teaching CDs. She has directed a wide range of theatre over the past 40 years, from new writing to TIE, classical text to visual performance, and has created a number of original theatre pieces, many of which included collaborating with members of her choirs. Her work is influenced by her understanding of voice practice from various cultures, particularly since 1990, through her curation of the ‘Giving Voice’ international festival for the CPR.

My choirs

K’ak’ali choir (The Walnuts)

‘K’ak’ali’ is a community choir based between Aberystwyth and Machynlleth that only sings three-part harmony songs from the Georgian Folk Tradition.

‘K’ak’ali’ mean walnuts, or just nuts! Walnuts are much used in Georgian dishes, and we chose the name as rather appropriate for a group who are nuts about Georgian song! Many of these singers have enjoyed singing Georgian songs for over twenty years and although most live near Aberystwyth or in outlying villages, some travel from as far as Oswestry to be part of the group.

The choir meets once a month to learn new songs and rehearse and is co-led by Joan Mills and Linda Gwillim.

Joan began learning many of these songs in 1994 directly from two renowned Georgian ethnomusicologists, Edisher Garakanidze and Josef Jordania, and Linda Gwillim has sung and taught alongside Joan for the past twenty-five years. Linda and Joan also sing with Peter Gwynne as the trio ‘Bright Field and with Liz Walmsley as Papermates, specialising in Georgian Women’s songs.’

For the present K’ak’ali is closed choir (a fixed number of participants) in order to allow the group to fully absorb and establish the repertoire they have developed, but anyone can contact us to register their interest in joining. We will be organising workshops when health restrictions allow to introduce new members to the choir in future. Everything is taught by ear and we work on developing the expressive voices of choir members through exercises and improvisations alongside teaching the songs .

Session times

Sundays once per month dates arranged and agreed in three terms

Contact details

Phone number