"Discovering Albania" - Various Artists

Various Artists
Stage and mountain in Gjirokastër 2004, (c) Ardian Ahmedaja
Stage in Gjirokastër, 2004, (c) Ardian Ahmedaja
Small street in Gjirokastër, 2004, (c) Ardian Ahmedaja
Gjirokastër, Albania, 2004, (c) Ardian Ahmedaja
Gjirokastër, Albania, 2004, (c) Ardian Ahmedaja
Shkodër, Albania: mosque and church (2007), (c) Ardian Ahmedaja
Shkodër, Albania: mosque and statue of Mother Teresa (2007), (c) Ardian Ahmedaja
Paul Traeger (c) Berlin Phonogramm Archiv (EMEM)
Erich Stockmann (c) Berlin Phonogramm Archiv (EMEM)
Ramadan Sokoli (c) Berlin Phonogramm Archiv (EMEM)
Rrok zef dasha lulgjuraj-majekrah (c) Ardian Ahmedaja
Co-funded by the European Union


Women choir from Podgozhan
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  • artist:Various Artists
  • region:Balkan
  • release year:2008
  • style(s):Balkan
  • country:Albania
  • formats:Audio File / Digital,
  • record posted by:Ardian Ahmedaja


This CD project is the second of four audio compilations created in the framework of DISMARC (Discovering Music Archives), co-funded by the European Commission. The project consists of 33 recordings of vocal and instrumental music, several photos and a detailed booklet.


Although the musical traditions of Albania have been of interest for decades to a rather small circle of researchers and fans, they are still hardly known by a broader international public. The political changes at the beginning of the 1990s also saw publication of sound recordings of these traditions within and outside the country. The most important transformation within the country was getting the opportunity to establish private labels for the first time ever. The result is an intensive production of traditional music recordings in Albania. However, two aspects hinder these recordings at an international level, apart from the language barrier: the technical quality and the absence of necessary information about music, musicians and recordings. Some of the recordings published abroad during the same time rectify this situation, but they are few in number and present only a selection of the repertoires and genres. Therefore further publications are still necessary.

Parallel to the publishing activity of new recordings, those existing in sound archives are very helpful. Through such recordings, layers of often forgotten traditions can be rediscovered. On the other hand they also give the opportunity of comparison with contemporary practices and are therefore helpful for learning about changes within styles or genres as well as interchanges between them. The present CD is a step in this direction. The recordings come from the Berlin Phonogram Archive, member of the DISMARC Archives.

The recordings of traditional music in Albania at the Berlin Phonogram Archive represent three different time periods within the 20th century. The first ones are those of Paul Traeger made in 1903, rediscovered in the middle of 1990s during the work on the project Safeguarding the greatest collection of the earliest sound documents of traditional music from all over the world - rescuing and transferring the famous collections of wax cylinders and shellac discs of the Berlin Phonogramm-Archiv 1893 - 1954 led by Susanne Ziegler. The second collection "Erich Stockmann Albanien 1957" represents a broad range of the traditional musical practice in Albania more than a decade after the World War II. Other recordings were collected in 1988 and 1989 by Bruno Reuer, in 1993 by Ursula Reinhard and Bruno Reuer and 1995 by Ursula Reinhard. The results of the 1980s and 1990s collections are published in 1999 (Reuer / Reinhard) and 2003 (Ahmedaja / Reinhard). Therefore the present CD focuses on the two unknown collections from 1903 and 1957. Their importance lies primarily in the historical dimension. The collection of 1903 contains the first ever recordings of the traditional music among Albanians. Publishing them here for the first time provides an opportunity to gain insight into musical practice at the beginning of the 20th century in North Albania.

The German-Albanian expedition of 1957 initiated by Erich Stockmann was for its part the first performed by professional ethnomusicologists in Albania. Radio programs have been broadcast in Germany with fragments of recordings, and several studies based on the expedition have been published (Doris Stockmann 1963, 1965, 1966; Doris and Erich Stockmann 1964; Stockmann D. / Fiedler / Stockmann E. 1965.) However, even fifty years after the fieldwork was performed, the collection is still unknown to the international public, and its place in the research on music in Albania and beyond has not yet been found.

An additional historical dimension is that the recordings of both collections - 1903 and 1957 - provide the chance of confronting performances of one and the same musical genre and/or geographic area over decades (for example tracks 24 - 25, 32 - 33, 27 - 28) as well as simultaneously (for example tracks 14 - 18). The retrospective view thus includes, in some cases, more than one century.

Paul Traeger and his "Albania collection" of 1903

The German ethnographer Paul Traeger was born 1867 and died 1933 in Berlin. He was the child of a rich factory owner and undertook intensive ethnological and historical researches in Eastern Europe, Balkan, Tunisia, Morocco and South America. For 30 years Traeger was honorary secretary of the (Berliner Society for Anthropology, Ethnography and Ancient History (Berliner Gesellschaft für Antropologie, Etnographie und Urgeschichte).

In the Berlin Phonogramm-Archiv there are four of Traeger's phonogram collections. One of them contains vocal and instrumental recordings from North Albania collected in 1903. On the recordings the names of the interpreters and the places they come from can be heard, announced by Traeger himself. Traeger also brought musical instruments and other objects to Berlin, accompanied by his own drawings. This information provides a fuller picture of the recorded music. This is the only existing information about the recordings.

Erich Stockmann and the collection "Stockmann Albanien 1957" at the Berlin Phonogram Archive

Erich Stockmann was born on March 10 1926 in Stendal, Germany and died on November 16, 2003 in Berlin. He studied systematic musicology at Humboldt-Universität in Berlin and taught from 1957. He is known to the international community of the researchers for, among other things, his contribution to the International Council for Traditional Music as founder (1962) and leader of its Study Group on Folk Musical Instruments and as ICTM president 1982-1997.

In 1957 Erich Stockmann initiated an expedition to Albania to accomplish the first substantial contribution to sound documentation of Albanian folk music

The recordings of the "Stockmann Albanien 1957" collection were made during a German-Albanian expedition, lasting from middle May until the end of July 1957. The German participants were Erich Stockmann (initiator and group leader), Wilfried Fiedler (linguist) and Johannes Kyritz (technician). The Albanian participants were Albert Paparisto and Ramadan Sokoli (Stockmann 1965: 8). Albert Paparisto was musicologist and used to teach at the Academy of Arts in Tirana until the 1990s. Ramadan Sokoli is a pioneer of the ethnomusicological studies in Albania. He died in March 2008 at the age of 88.

Complete tracklist

  1. "Zbret Velikoja nga mali"; Women choir
  2. "Kush i ftoi plakat në dasmë"; Women choir
  3. "Plasi dheu dolli molla"; Women choir
  4. "Ma ke belin shumë nazike"; Men choir
  5. "Kënga e sofrës"; Men choir
  6. "Malanjake ç’e do lalën"; Men choir
  7. "Mecovë e zeza Mecovë"; Women choir
  8. "Kënga e Çelo Mezanit"; Men choir
  9. "Dhelpëro moj mizore"; Women choir
  10. "Paske lotët gurë, gurë xhane sumbullo"; Women choir
  11. "Kënga e Imer Agait"; Men choir
  12. "Obobo na shkoi djalëria"; 3 men
  13. "Kush e ngre këtë dolli"; Men choir
  14. "E qarë me gërnetë Kolonjarçe"; Vangjel Janushi, Ligo Janushi, Panajot Janushi
  15. "E qarë me llautë"; Ligo Janushi; 62
  16. "Kaba me fyej"; Muhamer Veizi, 26, Shefqet Veseli, 24
  17. "Cule-diare"; Qazim Jonuzaj
  18. "Vajtim me fyell"; Ferid Izmo, 55
  19. "Vajtim për djalin"; Shin Spiropani,; 66
  20. "Vajtim për babain"; Hamide Shabani, 40
  21. "Nina–nana"; Qazime Arizaj, 17
  22. "Nina-nana"; Ndre Marka Kola
  23. "A sa man more lladike"; Maria von Scutari
  24. "Majekrahi"; Kolë Marashi
  25. "Majekrahi"; Sokol Abdyl Lohja (born in 1920)
  26. "Peja vogël po lufton"; Pjetër Marku (according to Traeger: Pietro Marko)
  27. "Solo mit lahutë"; ... Gjoka
  28. "Kangë me lahutë "Muji dhe Halili""; Tom Marashi (born in 1921)
  29. "Solo mit çifteli"; unknown
  30. "Kangë me çifteli: Hajredin Pasha"; Ramadan Musaja
  31. "I dit’ t’hane i dit’ kjameti" (with bagpipes); Preng Ndoj Përlleshi
  32. "Flute improvisation (Fragment)"; Lazër Deda (according to Traeger: Lazaro Deda)
  33. "Flute improvisation (Melodi barijsh)"; Gjergj Ndoja (born in 1938)