National History Museum invites polyphonic groups to celebrate 90 years of first recording

National History Museum invites polyphonic groups to celebrate 90 years of first recording

TIRANA, Feb. 19 – The National History Museum hosted a unique polyphonic concert this week with Southern Albania groups from the Pilur village, located in the Himara district. In cooperation with the Municipality of Himara and the White Sheep assemble,

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Kosovo celebrates ten year independence anniversary amid international congratulations

Kosovo celebrates ten year independence anniversary amid international congratulations

TIRANA, Feb. 19 – This Saturday marked Kosovo’s ten year independence anniversary, finding Prishtina in celebration among public wishes by some of the newborn country’s international stars and Albanian political leaders, as well as congratulations by its long-standing strategic partner,

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Mosques to be reconstructed under Ministry of Culture initiative

Mosques to be reconstructed under Ministry of Culture initiative

TIRANA, Feb. 15 – Minister of Culture Mirela Kumbaro announced this week that five Islamic faith monuments throughout Albania will be restored. The decision comes under a cooperation agreement signed between the ministry of culture and the Muslim Community of

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Tirana wakes up to a powerful message for Valentine’s Day

Tirana wakes up to a powerful message for Valentine’s Day

TIRANA, Feb. 14 – On this Valentine’s Day, in addition to the traditional heart decorations in the city’s window shops, the capital also woke up to a meaningful message painted on the city walls by women saying “don’t kill, love”.

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Albanian-Italian wins Sanremo festival, to represent Italy in Eurovision Song Contest

Albanian-Italian wins Sanremo festival, to represent Italy in Eurovision Song Contest

TIRANA, Feb. 12 – Ermal Meta, who made history last year as the first Albanian-born artist to finish third in Italy’s prestigious Sanremo music festival, won this year the festival’s grand prize with Fabrizio Moro and will be representing Italy

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Albanian sculptor’s art lives on in Albanian Embassy in Canada

Albanian sculptor’s art lives on in Albanian Embassy in Canada

TIRANA, Feb. 12 – A small collection of artworks by Albanian sculptor Hytbi Tarelli, who lived and passed away in Toronto, Canada, two years ago, have been displayed in the Albanian Embassy in Canada with the help of the artist’s

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Telling Stories exhibition brings Albanian art to Germany

Telling Stories exhibition brings Albanian art to Germany

TIRANA, Feb. 8 – Albanian painters Anila Hetoja and Edlira Harapi will be introducing German art affectionados with Albanian aesthetics through an exhibition titled Telling Stories that will remain open in the city of Bocholt until Feb. 18. The exhibition’s

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Tirana Art Fest to explore Tirana’s youth artistic potential

Tirana Art Fest to explore Tirana’s youth artistic potential

TIRANA, Feb. 7 – Auditions for Tirana Art Fest, the artistic tradition that invites 15 to 19 years old youths from all Tirana high-schools to perform in the disciplines of music, dance, theatre and multimedia, began this week for the

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KALO Gallery brings migration birds’ photo exhibition to Tirana

KALO Gallery brings migration birds’ photo exhibition to Tirana

TIRANA, Feb. 7 – A birds’ photo exhibition titled Hostel will be brought by Kalo Gallery on Feb. 10, at 6pm. Advertised with a poster of reed beds – the oasis of migration birds – the exhibition will display photos

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Silent Noises opens at Dit Art cultural center

Silent Noises opens at Dit Art cultural center

TIRANA, Feb. 1 – Silent Noises exhibition by artists Tanja Laeri and Orlis Vathi will be available to the public starting Feb. 3 at the Dit Art cultural center. Laeri is a Swiss artist currently living in Albania for the

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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Feb. 19 - The National History Museum hosted a unique polyphonic concert this week with Southern Albania groups from the Pilur village, located in the Himara district. 

In cooperation with the Municipality of Himara and the White Sheep assemble, the concert gathered some of the most prominent names in polyphonic singing to perform in what was titled “White Sheep” and “Waves’ Girl”. 

Famous polyphonic singers Ermioni Mёrkuri, of the Pilur group, and Katina Beleri, of the Himara group, performed under the supervision of poet Kristo Çipa to celebrate the 90-year-anniversary of Himara’s polyphonic singing record registration in Paris, as well as the 45-year-anniversary of one of the most famous polyphonic songs from Albania’s south.

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 Head of the National History Museum Dr. Dorian Koçi inaugurated the activity, noting the   relevance of these polyphonic groups throughout history, as testified by Faik Konica’s   rendition of Lord Byron’s 1809 visit to Albania in his newspaper, Albania.

 “In one of his many visits to Albania, Lord Byron collected some Albanian songs. Not only       he collected them, but he also knew how to sing them. We’ve learned, from his life, that he   once sang to his friends while on a boat ride along Germany’s Rhine River an Albanian   polyphonic song,” Koçi said.

 According to Koçi, this might have been the first contact of a southern Albanian song with   the Western world, and added that stories from Lord Byron’s traveling testify to an earlier   representation of Albanian culture worldwide, before the first song was recorded by Neço   Muko in Paris. 

 South Albania’s polyphonic songs are even protected as UNESCO’s cultural heritage, serving as cultural and national elements of Albanian identity.

 Himara’s Mayor Jorgo Goro, who was also present at the concert, thanked the National History Museum for making it possible.

In a Facebook statement, Goro wrote the reason “Himara’s polyphonic singing is protected by UNESCO is its cultural value, passed down generation after generation in beautiful and unique Himara”, one of the country’s most visited and acclaimed districts. 

 
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Feb. 19 - This Saturday marked Kosovo’s ten year independence anniversary, finding Prishtina in celebration among public wishes by some of the newborn country’s international stars and Albanian political leaders, as well as congratulations by its long-standing strategic partner, the US. 

The Newborn landmark placed in front of Prishtina’s Youth and Sports Hall was updated for the occasion, as the number ten was incorporated between the massive letters.

[caption id="attachment_135882" align="alignleft" width="277"]Prishtina's NEWBORN transformed for the occasion  Prishtina's NEWBORN transformed for the occasion[/caption]

The celebrations of the special anniversary were crowned with a free concert starring world-famous Kosovo-born performer Rita Ora, who landed in Prishtina on Saturday noon to perform for a crowd that overtook the entire space starting from the city’s Skanderbeg Square to Mother Teresa square and beyond.

Statements also arrived from former US Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. 

Bush, in an open letter to the country, said he was proud to recognize Kosovo’s independence back in 2008, wishing its citizens a peaceful, democratic and prosperous future.

Clinton too, in a Facebook statement, congratulated and expressed his continuous support for the people of Kosovo.

“The enduring peace in Kosovo remains a beacon of hope for all conflict-ridden societies around the globe,” Clinton wrote.

He added that in order for the country’s hard-won gains to increase, its modern-day leaders should work commonly and put personal interests behind, especially when it comes to its quest for justice.

“We should also support the leaders in Kosovo and Serbia in their efforts to negotiate a “live and let live” future that allows both their people to put their history behind them,” was one of Clinton’s concluding statements.

[caption id="attachment_135883" align="alignright" width="300"]Dua Lipa, another Kosovo-born international artist, congratulated Kosovo through this Instagram picture. Dua Lipa, another Kosovo-born international artist, congratulated Kosovo through this Instagram picture.[/caption]

 

The country’s Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj started the day off by serving coffee to Kosovo police officers, as depicted in a Facebook picture he posted along with his independence day wishes for his followers. 

During a governmental meeting kept for the occasion, Haradinaj said that Kosovo can count achievements, but that it also faces many challenges to overcome. 

“We have still to fulfill all obligations of a democratic state, but we are on an irreversible road,” he added. 

Albania’s Prime Minister Edi Rama also wished Kosovo’s independence in the early hours of Saturday with a picture from Haradinaj’s house in Kosovo depicting the two MPs were seen cheering. 

Meanwhile, local media also reported crowded Kosovo-Albania border points, with a number of Kosovo citizens choosing to spend their country’s independence day in Tirana or Durres, leading border police to ease border checks towards Kosovars during the weekend. 

Kosovo’s assembly declared the country’s independence in Feb. 2008; that same year, the country was recognized by a number of powerful actors, such as the US, Japan and majority of EU states. 

Even after its declaration as a free and sovereign state, Kosovo hasn’t had an easy state-formation road. 

Though it’s seen moments of victory, such as the recognition from regional actors like Macedonia and Montenegro, Kosovo is still the poorest country in the region, while official data reports it buys around € 450 million merchandise, selling only € 48 million back. 

Similarly, Kosovo still imports three times more merchandise from Serbia than Albania, despite the countries’ shared governmental meetings and agreements on political and economic cooperation.

 
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Feb. 15 - Minister of Culture Mirela Kumbaro announced this week that five Islamic faith monuments throughout Albania will be restored. 

The decision comes under a cooperation agreement signed between the ministry of culture and the Muslim Community of Albania, head of which is Skёnder Bruçaj.

Kumbaro said that most of the monuments selected have not had a proper restoration in the last years, and are in need of a thorough one. 

“The preparation and approval phase of the project is already finished, and we will soon start construction in these sites,” Kumbaro said.

She added that in addition to the five selected monuments, attention will also be given to the Plumbi Mosque of Shkodra, which is also in need of thorough restoration. 

The Plumbi Mosque has been flooded several times through the years. Kumbaro said that in order to save the monument once and for all, a dam will be built at its proximity.

Three of the mosques that will be restored are in Berat, while the other two are located in Tirana and Berat respectively. The restoration process will be funded by the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TCCA). 

 
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Feb. 14 - On this Valentine’s Day, in addition to the traditional heart decorations in the city’s window shops, the capital also woke up to a meaningful message painted on the city walls by women saying “don’t kill, love”. 

The sensibilization campaign aimed towards men who abuse females comes at a critical, and simultaneously ironic, time for Albanian society.

Ironic because, as expressed by women activists themselves, “on Valentine’s Day Albanian women only hear how much they’re loved, they receive gifts, flowers and chocolates.”

Every other day of the year, however, Albanian women hear expressions such as: “who loves you, beats you”, “a woman’s fate is tears” and “a woman is a bag that holds things”.

Critical because approximately every two weeks a woman is murdered by her husband, fiance or boyfriend in Albania. Only a month ago, a young girl was shot in the head in the middle of Tirana for rejecting her former classmate’s romantic advances. 

The message the activists wanted to convey through the graffiti was that genuine love doesn’t kill and that crimes of passion are just crimes.

Wishing to change the status quo, women activists hoped that anyone reading those messages understands that who beats you, doesn’t actually love you, promoting the best kind of love Albanian society needs to experience at the moment - self love. 

 
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Feb. 12 - Ermal Meta, who made history last year as the first Albanian-born artist to finish third in Italy’s prestigious Sanremo music festival, won this year the festival’s grand prize with Fabrizio Moro and will be representing Italy in the Eurovision Song Contest in Lisbon next May. 

Meta, who is a 36-year-old singer and songwriter, left Fier when he was 13 years old, to pursue his creative dream. Describing the Sanremo victory as an incredible emotional experience, he thanked his record company, for believing in him when no one else did.

The artists’ triumph was highlighted after a temporary suspension over suspicions of copyright infringement and disregard of the festival’s regulation. Upon investigation, Rai - the festival’s TV channel host - allowed Meta and Moro to compete and eventually win the contest.

“Music can reach where words fail,” Meta and Moro said concerning their song, which carried the message of countering terrorism. 

“I write what I feel like writing. It is an inward instinct and it is important to do things with transparency,” Meta added.

The artist is familiar to producing songs with powerful messages. Last year’s song, which gave him third place at Sanremo, was titled Forbidden to Die - a pop ballad as an appeal to say no to domestic violence. 

“I dedicate this song to my mother who taught me to disobey to every kind of violence. The song is a hymn to life. One should confront life face-to-face. We are the result of proven experience, but we also possess the strength to become what we want to. It is important to speak out and share to get out of loneliness,” Meta told Italy’s Ansa news agency last year.

Meta first migrated to Bari, in the South of Italy, where he lived for 20 years and kick-started his career, to later move to Milano. 

Despite his long stay abroad, Meta has continuously talked about his background, saying Albania is the place he was born and where he’d like to spend his later years. Albanian influences can be spotted throughout his song repertoire; in Forbidden to Die, for example, he also mentions his childhood teacher, Margarita Feka.

Meta’s career began as the lead guitarist of group Ameba 4 and songwriter for some of the most well-known Italian artists, such as Marco Mengoni, Emma, Chiara, Annalisa, Giusy Ferreri, etc. His first major breakthrough was back in 2016, when he came first in Sanremo’s Newcomers section.

Meta’s Sanremo win was also widely commented in the country. Head of opposition and Democratic Party Lulzim Basha shared a Facebook post saying that Meta’s triumph is a reminder talented Albanians exist and that the future belongs to those Albanians who are driven by hard work and determination. 

This year, three Albanian origin artists will be competing in the Eurovision song contest - Bushpepa, representing Albania, Meta, representing Italy, and Albanian-born Eleni Foureira, whose origin is also Fier and will be representing Cyprus with the song Fuego.

 
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Feb. 12 - A small collection of artworks by Albanian sculptor Hytbi Tarelli, who lived and passed away in Toronto, Canada, two years ago, have been displayed in the Albanian Embassy in Canada with the help of the artist’s family. 

Tarelli’s work, focusing in the field of figurative art, was dedicated to Albanian prominent figures and the country’s national hero Gjergj Kastrioti Skënderbeg through the years, but has also included portraits of famous personalities in the fields of theater and music.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs valued the initiative through a Facebook post, saying “the works of Hytbi Tarelli who lived in Toronto and dedicated his major activity to Gjergj Kastrioti Skënderbeg, have taken place in the Albanian Embassy in Canada. Praise to the family for the generous gesture. The artist will live on through his art.”

Tarelli was born in 1952, in the Devoll valley. He took his first art classes at the age of ten, by well-known Albanian artists of the time. His first exhibition was held in 1968.

Despite graduating in the field of natural sciences in 1975, he never stopped engaging in his passion and organized three major personal exhibitions during his lifetime, both in Albania and Toronto, where he migrated with his family after spending some years in Greece first.

With sculptures and painting well-known throughout the Albanian community and beyond, Tarelli reached out and built bridges among Albanians in the diaspora and at home. One of his most praised sculptures was dedicated to another national hero, Adem Jashari, and country’s saint Mother Teresa. 

Tarelli passed away in Canada, in Nov. 2016. 

 
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Feb. 8 - Albanian painters Anila Hetoja and Edlira Harapi will be introducing German art affectionados with Albanian aesthetics through an exhibition titled Telling Stories that will remain open in the city of Bocholt until Feb. 18.

The exhibition’s inauguration gathered a number of German citizens interested to become more familiar with Albanian art and meet the freelance artists. 

Curated and assisted by German painter Marco Büning, each artist’s exhibition brought a variety of themes, with Herapi having focused to emotions and feelings through her paintings and Hetoja representing the country’s traditional costumes, prominent in their colors and execution technique.

The exhibition showcased a total of 15 artworks.

In an interview for MEDIAL.mk, the artists said they had been thinking of an exhibition to present their work to the German audience for a while, as this was not their first collaboration as artists.

“We had already put up two big exhibitions in Albania with Anila and we saw the possibility to create an exhibition in Germany as the next project. This wasn’t easy, but after applying to a gallery at the city where I live, in Bocholt, the owner of the gallery and one of the most famous painters in the country Marco Büning helped us make this project a reality. Nothing is easy, especially when you are a foreigner in a country, but through will, passion and a lot of hard work, every barrier can be overcome,” Harapi said.

She added the name of the exhibition was decided through their intentions, as the artists wanted to tell stories through their paintings. Those stories include part of the country’s tradition, as well as human interest stories and experiences, represented by the exhibition’s conceptual part.

Though both artists spoke Albanian, each left a mark with their individuality through their art.

Harapi’s conceptual genre aimed to express women’s figure in an abstract manner, while Hetoja’s clear forms and color play artworks sided with tradition. 

The exhibition attracted the attention of local media as well, which reported on the fruitful collaboration between the two cultures’ representatives.

Asked whether they’ve planned to bring their exhibition in other countries, the artists said that art knows no boundaries and that they are open to new possibilities in the future. 

“Let’s promote beauty and stop identifying with ugliness. If people try doing that a bit more in every aspect of their lives, I believe their mission is complete,” Harapi concluded her interview for MEDIAL.mk. 

 
                    [post_title] => Telling Stories exhibition brings Albanian art to Germany 
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                    [post_date] => 2018-02-09 11:24:07
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Feb. 7 - Auditions for Tirana Art Fest, the artistic tradition that invites 15 to 19 years old youths from all Tirana high-schools to perform in the disciplines of music, dance, theatre and multimedia, began this week for the third consecutive year.

The first round of auditions will last until Feb. 18 and welcome teenagers from all over Tirana’s high schools, including suburbs and both private and public schools.

The aim of this activity is to bring back the joy of youth’s artistic and cultural lifestyle by inviting as many high schools to join as possible and by introducing novelties in each of the competing disciplines. 

Most importantly, however, this program hopes to use art and culture as a way to minimize school bullying, alcohol and drug abuse, violence towards weak members of society, and other negative trends in high schools. 

Each discipline is monitored by an artistic director, part of Albania’s artistic scene and promoters of culture as a way to improve youth. 

 
                    [post_title] => Tirana Art Fest to explore Tirana’s youth artistic potential 
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                    [post_date] => 2018-02-09 11:21:37
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Feb. 7 - A birds’ photo exhibition titled Hostel will be brought by Kalo Gallery on Feb. 10, at 6pm. Advertised with a poster of reed beds - the oasis of migration birds - the exhibition will display photos from an acrocephalus exhibition until Feb. 25.

The exhibition is titled Hostel to convey that birds can build their nests everywhere, and use them to get shelter for food or protection. In Albania, reeds serve as nests for birds and they are extremely important for the thousands of birds presented in the exhibition.

There are about 10,400 feathered species, completely distinguished from other animals. More than 1,000 extinct species have been identified by fossil remains.

Many birds can run, jump, swim and dive. Some, like penguins, have lost their ability to fly but have retained their feathers for improved swimming.

Birds are found worldwide, and they even occupy urban areas. The largest is the nine-foot-tall ostrich. The smallest is the two-inch-long bee hummingbird.

Almost everything about the anatomy of the bird reflects its ability to fly and this anatomy has been mirrored in technology for generations - airplane wings are modeled after birds’ wings.

Migration of birds is a regular seasonal movement, serving food availability, habitat or weather. Approximately 1,800 out of the world’s 10,000 bird species are long-distance migrants.

The pictures displayed in this exhibition have been taken by ornithologists Taulant Bino, Ákos Németh and photographer Eno Gaçe. Representatives of the gallery said that apart from its value as a documentary, the exhibition also holds an artistic element, as the birds have been photographed in an aesthetic manner. 
                    [post_title] => KALO Gallery brings migration birds’ photo exhibition to Tirana
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                    [post_date] => 2018-02-01 10:49:08
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Feb. 1 - Silent Noises exhibition by artists Tanja Laeri and Orlis Vathi will be available to the public starting Feb. 3 at the Dit Art cultural center.

Laeri is a Swiss artist currently living in Albania for the Reef Refigium II art project. Several of her projects have been developed and exhibited in Switzerland, Germany, Morocco and Albania. 

Vathi is a contributor to the Silent Noises project. Vathi lives in Tirana, where he has also curated and exhibited several artistic events.

Through this project, the artists aim to discuss the relationship between space and individuals in the city. 

The individual is presented often, intentionally or not, as a by-passer and testimony of the changes. Through the physical and emotional experience of space in the city, the object is crucial in documentation as it dominates with its presence. The object, shapes and “noises” become the expressing language of the artists’ works.

This exhibition will be curated by Blerina Berberi and Kevin Tummers and will be available for the public until Feb. 15. 

 
                    [post_title] => Silent Noises opens at Dit Art cultural center
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            [post_date] => 2018-02-19 21:45:08
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            [post_content] => TIRANA, Feb. 19 - The National History Museum hosted a unique polyphonic concert this week with Southern Albania groups from the Pilur village, located in the Himara district. 

In cooperation with the Municipality of Himara and the White Sheep assemble, the concert gathered some of the most prominent names in polyphonic singing to perform in what was titled “White Sheep” and “Waves’ Girl”. 

Famous polyphonic singers Ermioni Mёrkuri, of the Pilur group, and Katina Beleri, of the Himara group, performed under the supervision of poet Kristo Çipa to celebrate the 90-year-anniversary of Himara’s polyphonic singing record registration in Paris, as well as the 45-year-anniversary of one of the most famous polyphonic songs from Albania’s south.

28059425_1849258145136950_8397664679520793072_n

 Head of the National History Museum Dr. Dorian Koçi inaugurated the activity, noting the   relevance of these polyphonic groups throughout history, as testified by Faik Konica’s   rendition of Lord Byron’s 1809 visit to Albania in his newspaper, Albania.

 “In one of his many visits to Albania, Lord Byron collected some Albanian songs. Not only       he collected them, but he also knew how to sing them. We’ve learned, from his life, that he   once sang to his friends while on a boat ride along Germany’s Rhine River an Albanian   polyphonic song,” Koçi said.

 According to Koçi, this might have been the first contact of a southern Albanian song with   the Western world, and added that stories from Lord Byron’s traveling testify to an earlier   representation of Albanian culture worldwide, before the first song was recorded by Neço   Muko in Paris. 

 South Albania’s polyphonic songs are even protected as UNESCO’s cultural heritage, serving as cultural and national elements of Albanian identity.

 Himara’s Mayor Jorgo Goro, who was also present at the concert, thanked the National History Museum for making it possible.

In a Facebook statement, Goro wrote the reason “Himara’s polyphonic singing is protected by UNESCO is its cultural value, passed down generation after generation in beautiful and unique Himara”, one of the country’s most visited and acclaimed districts. 

 
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