Thursday, April 4, 2013

A Taste of Albania at Balkan Music Night 2013

Balkan Music Night is an annual festival which takes place on the third Saturday of March in Concord, Massachusetts.

I have gone to Balkan Music night for the past three years and I am always delighted to watch the dance ensembles perform at this event.  There is also participatory dancing when the costumed groups aren't performing, and there are numerous bands that play for your dancing pleasure.

The performers represented different Balkan countries, such as Bulgaria and Serbia, but the most outstanding ensemble this year was an group of young Albanian dancers from Worcester, Massachusetts,Valle Tona. They had amazing energy and were a total pleasure to watch.

Albania is a country that doesn't make the news very often especially here in the United States. It is a country very different in culture and language than the other countries on the Balkan peninsula. 

First of all, they speak a language that is totally unrelated to Slavic, Latin or Greek.  Secondly, the country has had a history of isolation from the rest of Europe. Thirdly, unlike the other Balkan countries, Islam is the dominant religion, although there is s sizable population of Eastern Orthodox Christians and Roman Catholics.  The dance group Valle Tona is sponsored by St. Mary's Albanian Orthodox Church in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Albanian music is very haunting and beautiful as you can see (and hear) in this video.

The group also performed Valle Kosovare, a lively dance done to pop-folk music.  I didn't record it this year, but here is a Valle Tona video from a church picnic, taken during the summer of 2011.

If you enjoyed this you may also like:

A Romanian Festival with an Albanian Accent

Music is the Strongest Form of Magic: Balkan Music Night 2012

Balkan Music Night 2011: More Balkan March Madness

By the way, if you like trivia, the American author Laura Ingalls Wilder travelled all over Europe and lived for a while in Albania.  She is best known for the series of Little House books, an autobiographical set of novels about her childhood in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and South Dakota. Read more about her here:

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