Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Dance of Osman Taka

Today's song is about a rebel (haidouk) from Albania named Osman Taka. The haidouks were freedom fighters in the Balkans who waged guerrilla warfare against the Ottoman Turks.

Osman Taka was also fond of traditional Albanian dancing, and had a reputation as an excellent dancer. There isn't much information about him, and the little bit I found was on Wikipedia.

The Ottoman Turks sentenced Osman Taka to death, and his one last request was to dance before his execution. According to local tradition, he gave such a beautiful performance that his the Turks released him from jail.  Later on he was recaptured and killed. 

The dance is also named Osman Taka. The singer is Eli Fara, well known in Albania for her renditions of folk songs.

The leader really gives a good show with the acrobatics.

Osman Taka is also popular among recreational folk dance groups; in this case it's an equal opportunity dance in that women are allowed to join in. This version is much simpler than the one shown in the previous video, although a good sense of balance helps with the high leg lifts.

By the way, you can find the lyrics in the Songbook For Nearsighted People in German and in English.   I was hoping to find the story of Osman Taka and his experiences with the Turks.  No such luck, it's a love song, and I think there's lost something in translation.

What's funny in the video is that the announcer mentions that "we wouldn't want to shortchange Albania." Why is that?

If you enjoyed this you may also like:

The Rebels (Haidouks) in Bulgarian Folk Songs

Two Variations on an Albanian Folk Dance: Valle Pogonishte

A Romanian Festival With an Albanian Accent

Hristo Botev, Poet and Revolutionary

Notice to readers: The Alien Diaries will take a break during the month of September, 2013.  Look for a new post in early to mid October!

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