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High Culture The finer things in life: art, literature, poetry, music.

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Old 05-21-2013, 05:20 PM
Mute Mute is offline
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Default Albanian

Albanian folk music falls into three sylistic groups, with other important music areas around Shkodėr and Tirana; the major groupings are the Ghegs of the north and southern Labs and Tosks. The northern and southern traditions are contrasted by the "rugged and heroic" tone of the north and the "relaxed, gentle and exceptionally beautiful" form of the south. These disparate styles are unified by "the intensity that both performers and listeners give to their music as a medium for patriotic expression and as a vehicle carrying the narrative of oral history".

Albanian folk songs can be divided into major groups, the heroic epics of the north, and the sweetly melodic lullabies, love songs, wedding music, work songs and other kinds of song. The music of various festivals and holidays is also an important part of Albanian folk song. Lullabies and laments are very important kinds of Albanian folk song, and are generally performed by solo women.
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Old 05-21-2013, 05:21 PM
Mute Mute is offline
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Default Gheg

The Ghegs from north of the Shkumbini River are known for a distinctive variety of sung epic poetry. Many of these are about Skanderbeg, a legendary 15th century warrior who led the struggle against the Turks, and the "constant Albanian themes of honour, hospitality, treachery and revenge". These traditions are a form of oral history for the Ghegs, and also "preserve and inculcate moral codes and social values".
Styles of epics also include the kėngė trimash/kreshnikėsh (Songs of brave men/frontier warriors), ballads and Vajtims maje krahi (cries). Major epics include Mujo and Halil and Halil and Hajrije.
The most traditional variety of epic poetry is the Albanian Songs of the Frontier Warriors. These epic poems are sung, accompanied by a lahuta, a one-stringed fiddle.
Somewhat further south, around Dibėr and Kėrēovė in Macedonia, the lahuta is not used, replaced by the ēifteli, a two-stringed instrument in which one string is used for the drone and one for the melody. Though men are the traditional performers (exception made for the sworn virgins), women have increasingly been taking part in epic balladry.
Along with the def, ēifteli and sharki are used in a style of dance and pastoral songs. Homemade wind instruments are traditionally used by shepherds in northern Albania; these include the zumarė, an unusual kind of clarinet. This shepherds' music is "melancholic and contemplative" in tone. The songs called maje-krahi are another important part of North Albanian folk song; these were originally used by mountaineers to communicate over wide distances, but are now seen as songs. Maje-krahi songs require the full range of the voice and are full of "melismatic nuances and falsetto cries".
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Old 05-21-2013, 05:32 PM
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Default Tosk

Southern Albanian music is soft and gentle, and polyphonic in nature. Vlorė in the southwest has perhaps the most unusual vocal traditions in the area, with four distinct parts (taker, thrower, turner and drone) that combine to create a complex and emotionally cathartic melody. Author Kim Burton has described the melodies as "decorated with falsetto and vibrato, sometimes interrupted by wild and mournful cries". This polyphonic vocal music is full of power that "stems from the tension between the immense emotional weight it carries, rooted in centuries of pride, poverty and oppression, and the strictly formal, almost ritualistic nature of its structure".
South Albania is also known for funeral laments with a chorus and one to two soloists with overlapping, mournful voices.

The Tosk people are known for ensembles consisting of violins, clarinets and def.
Southern instrumental music includes the sedate kaba, an ensemble-driven by a clarinet or violin alongside accordions and llautės. The kaba is an improvised and melancholic style with melodies that Kim Burton describes as "both fresh and ancient", "ornamented with swoops, glides and growls of an almost vocal quality", exemplifying the "combination of passion with restraint that is the hallmark of Albanian culture."
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Old 05-21-2013, 05:57 PM
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Default Cham

Cham Albanian folk music can be divided into three main categories: the iso-polyphonic, the polyphonic and the folk ballads.

Iso-polyphony is a form of traditional Albanian polyphonic music. This specific type of Albanian folk music is proclaimed by UNESCO as a "Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity". Chams sing a different type, called the cham iso-polyphony. Although they border with Lab Albanians, their iso-polyphony is influenced more by the Tosk type. 

Song of Ēelo Mezani

The sun arose in Malavire,
Ēelo came out in Harile,
Ēelo came out in Harile,
Out to offer his condolence,
Out to offer his condolence,
Near the well of Sulejmani
They awaited Ēelo Mezani.
When the rifle rang the first time,
Ēelo turned and looked around him,
Ēelo turned and looked around him.
When the rifle rang the second time,
Ēelo folded, closed his eyelids,
Ēelo folded, closed his eyelids.
When the rifle rang the third time,
Ēelo then was truly slaughtered,
Ēelo then was truly slaughtered.
Off they went to tell his mother
That her son had now been slaughtered,
That her son had now been slaughtered.
“Do not utter these words to me,
For my Ēelo is still living,
For my Ēelo is still living.” 

What was it Janina’s eyes saw?
Ja-a, Janinė-o!
On a Friday did it happen,
Ja-a, Janinė-o!
At the five wells in the canyon,
Ja-a, Janinė-o!
Zenel Ēelo and another,
Ja-a, Janinė-o!
Zenel with that Velēa fellow,
Ja-a, Janinė-o!
And the hero Jaēe Mavro,
Ja-a, Janinė-o!
How he rose in daring venture,
Ja-a, Janinė-o!
Cleaved the enemy’s battalions,
Ja-a, Janinė-o!
And did slaughter the young pasha,
Ja-a, Janinė-o! 

From the poetry of Bilal Xhaferri

Cham Ballad

In the distance fades a rainbow
Over the tips of the pyres,
A tearful word of farewell
In the pouring rain.
In the distance fades Chameria, our homeland in flames
And all of the roads take us northwards.
Over ancient Epirotic lands moans a Mediterranean wind,
Over the precious fields of our ancestors,
Lightning now feeds on the abandoned pastures,
Olive groves, unharvested, groan like the waves beating against the coast,
And on all sides, Cham land,
Enveloped in clouds,
Gasps and drowns in blood and tears,
And forlorn.
The bullets slicing through the darkness show us the way,
Flames that have devoured the soil, light up our path,
Behind us the storm lashes at the creaking doors of one-time homes.
And the road stretches northwards, northwards forever.
A folk now in exile, we wander in the downpour,
Farewell Chameria!
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