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At Least Wave Your Handkerchief At Me: The Joys and Sorrows of Southern Albanian Song

Culture, Music November 3, 2017

“Why not give yourself a break from the unending cavalcade of modern high-speed insanity, and rest up with this album of deep soul from Southern Albania.” – Ry Cooder

Brazilian Samba, Bosnian Sevdah, New Orleans Jazz, Cuban son – and Albanian Saze! The turn of the last century saw mass migrations to the world’s cities with rural people bringing their music with them, adapting their traditions to new circumstances and modern instruments. Of all these great musical forms, the mesmerizing arabesques, joyful dances and heart-breaking laments of Saze are among the least recorded, and they remain largely unknown outside Albania. Continue reading …

660 total views, 13 today

Albania’s Block party – Rocking the Block in Tirana

Travel May 21, 2017

It may now be Albania’s liveliest neighbourhood, but a little over two decades ago it wasn’t even on the map. New bars appear almost daily and at weekends streets and sidewalks are packed with locals and tourists looking for a big night out. Dozens of cafes, bars and restaurants have made it Tirana’s premier nightspot. Everywhere there are references to the West especially the U.S., whose brand of free-market capitalism Albania has adopted with varying degrees of success. There are open-plan outdoor clubs where foreigners dance to thumping house music until the early hours. There are coffee shops where the staff call themselves baristas and care a little too much about coffee beans. The country is also one of Europe’s sunniest…

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48 Hours in Tirana

Travel September 29, 2016

Let’s start your first day in Tirana with a fresh cup of coffee in order to fuel your energy for the rest of the day. There are lots of  cafes located at Rruga Ismail Qemali street, so you can choose between them depending on your needs. Lincoln Garden Cafe is a perfect choice during the sunny mornings since almost all of the tables are placed outside. Well, if you are lucky enough, you may grab the table (there are only two!) inside the cafe, but we strongly recommend to stay outside and enjoy the special atmosphere of this place. The garden is huge and cozy, so you can simply relax and leisurely enjoy your morning coffee…

187 total views, 1 today

Experience Tirana: A Local‘s Guide

Travel September 27, 2016

Vital and colorful Tirana… The capital of Albania may seem crazy and hectic, but at the same time – peaceful and preoccupied. Tirana perfectly reflects every period of the country’s history: Ottoman rule, World War I, World War II, communism and modern days. Colorful buildings combined with abandoned Soviet buildings give an impression of a constantly shifting city. The beautiful, but at the same time unpolished, city is surrounded by hills, has four insanely beautiful artificial lakes and the Adriatic Sea in the distance. The city has a lot to say and it wants to be heard…

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BBC: Discovering the craze for Albania’s Saze folk music

Culture August 24, 2016

For the best part of the last century, Albania was totally isolated under one of the most brutal communist dictatorships. Little came out of that isolation, least its music, but since communism fell in 1990 people like London-based record producer Joe Boyd have started to discover Albania’s unique Saze folk music…
Continue reading …

516 total views, 2 today

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