Ensemble Tirana    
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Polyphony from Albania


Mystical, magical, intoxicating, hypnotic, ominous and mysterious: this is how the Albanian polyphony of the six vocalists of the legendary 'Ensemble Tirana’ sounds.Their polyphony has interfaces with other polyphonic singings from South-East Europe (especially those from Bulgaria, known by the female choir ‘LeMystère des VoixBulgares’). But it has its own, pronounced characteristics. These three- and four-part polyphonic voices are rich, emotional songs which are among the most beautiful in Europe. A part of the songs sound like a lament, dripping of life suffering, which is not surprising for those who know the history of the small Balkan country.
The South-Albanian polyphonic music sounds both modern and old and is perhaps two thousand years old. It is the oral tradition ‘pur sang’ that passed on the songs hundreds of years from generation to generation.
In Albania, each region has its own musical style with its own musical and vocal colour. The themes, the content and lyrical development are very important for the Albanian polyphonic chants. The lyrical singing is the basis for the executive artists.
Besides the mentioned lamentations, the repertoire also consists of love stories which were ‘adjusted’ by official censorship of the totalitarian regime. But In family-circles and at festivities the original texts were preserved and restored.
In addition, the repertoire logically includes epic and historical chants. Those are situated in the seventeenth century and were a response of the resistance against the Ottoman occupation of the country.

The Ensemble Tirana is a virtuoso ensemble that revives in a very honest way the rich and wrongly unknown repertoire of the Albanian polyphony. It was founded in 1994 and sang on several renowned European festivals.