Second day of Offest, Worldwide Music Festival with Ensemble Tirana and Savina Yannatou and Primavera en Salonico. Skopje, Macedonia. 02/06/2010.
Based purely on oral tradition, Albanian folk music and songs have never been put down on paper. Each region has its own vocal and musical distinction. By just listening to a melody we can easily situate its geographical origin. The theme, the contents of the song and its lyrical development all fill a very important role.
Handed down from one generation to the next, the songs are often difficult to date with precision, although we can recognize a great influence from ancient times, and in particular the impact of the Byzantine Liturgy. Polyphonic lyrical songs and love songs are the oldest. This musical form reached its peak of maturity and virtuosity at the beginning of the 17th century, during the Albanian resistance to the Ottoman occupation.
The folkloric group Ensemble Tirana, founded in Tirana in 1978, perform songs mostly from the region surrounding Albania's capital and also pieces from the other regions of Albania and neighboring Kosovo. With skill, devotion and accuracy, they revive for us an unrecognized polyphonic and vocal art form that appears to carry the destiny of a land in search of itself: Albania. The group is made up of six performers, who with reverence and ardor interpret the aspects of Albanian polyphony. Ensemble Tirana has played at numerous festivals and national folklore activities in Turkey, Greece, Croatia, France, Germany, Egypt, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Sweden.
Savina Yannatou is definitely one of the most important Greek performers of international acclaim. With her excellent ensemble Primavera en Salonicο, comprising wonderful soloist musicians, she presents specially selected folk and other songs from Greece and the Mediterranean. They offer an open sound without borders or labels, from simple songs extending to contemporary music forms. Insisting on acoustic instruments, half of which have their origin in the East, they attempt to exploit the specific sounds of each instrument to extreme possibilities. Beyond her exquisite interpretive capacity, Savina Yannatou gives special emphasis to the expression of the “music” of each different language, without letting that stop her from using her voice as one more instrument. With a background that combines classical studies and “authentic” traditional music with improvised music and jazz, Savina Yannatou and the musicians of Primavera en Salonico find themselves like rope-dancers on the chord which connects the modal music of the East with the equivalent music of Western Europe, music of the Middle Ages and the popular polyphonies of the Mediterranean. In recent years, Yannatou has been one of the most regular Greek singers at international festivals; wherever she performs she receives enthusiastic reviews by the most demanding music critics.