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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 …

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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…

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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 …

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  • Albania an important gateway in the heart of the Mediterranean

    by on July 18, 2017 - 0 Comments

    One hour flight distance from European capitals. Stretches along seashores of the Adriatic and Ionian seas. More than 300km of coastline. Memorable holidays. Unexplored shores. A varying landscape of nature. More than 2700m high mountains. More than 7700 acres of forests. Hidden Valleys. In the heart of mountains, tall-stone architecture, guest houses. More than 3200 […]

  • Little Tony Blairs of Kosovo: the boys named after the great man

    by on October 12, 2017 - 0 Comments

    When Nato eventually intervened in 1999 to stop the ethnic cleansing by Serbian forces of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo, the UK prime minister Tony Blair was hailed as a hero. As refugees returned to the province, several new parents of baby boys called their sons Tony Blair. For Kosovan Albanians, Tony Blair is more than […]

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

    by on November 3, 2017 - 0 Comments

    “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 […]

  • Go slow: Albania's new food movement

    by on June 13, 2017 - 0 Comments

    From the Adriatic coastline to the Accursed Mountains, a new generation of chefs is putting a modern twist on the country’s traditional dishes. “Drying our homemade jufka pasta in the sun”, “watermelon jam”, “corn bread and white cheese”, “sucking clover in the meadows”, “omelette with wild fennel”, “fritters with plum and honey sauce”… These are all […]

  • 7 things you didn’t know you could do in Albania

    by on September 2, 2017 - 0 Comments

    Have the beach to yourself… Eat superb seafood… Hike through alpine countryside… Explore underground nuclear bunkers… See a living citadel… Drink home-grown wines… Shop for antiques; Just outside the capital, the town of Kruja is famous for being the stronghold of Albanian national hero Skanderbeg during his resistance against the Ottomans in the fifteenth century. […]

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