I continue with some excerpts of Jan and Cora Gordon’s book on their travels through Albania in 1925.
Description of hearing music played by a doctor on a lute…
“ Our Turkish music is more real, more like life, always changing, always developing, always different, flexible elusive.”
They then describe the arrival of a schoolmaster who played the violin, but with Western melody.
“I see in this duet something of a parable of Modern Albania, itself, volatile Easternism and pedantic, ponderous Westernism leashed together in a incompatible bond.”
“ then he and his 2 companions began to sing. It was a strange song. The old man led and after he had sung a few notes the gunman came in with an unexpected second while the Greek hero and all the others joined in with one steady basic drone. The old man threw his head back and cried his song to the sky:
“ Tur-lish, Tur-lish, se c’me ben cigaren.
Zemra moj me renkon edhe s’fumoj s’fushon dot te garet (qaret ?)etc
On the last note, all – soloist, second and drone – ended on a most odd dying slur which ran down into a groan like finish of an unwound gramophone. We afterwards found that every song in the region was brought to a conclusion in the same extraordinary fashion.”
( Seems to be talking here of the “labe” songs of southern Albania)( see this link )
A line of men formed a chain, the leader flourishing a handkerchief in his unoccupied hand, postured and pranced as he went slowly forward; the next man to him also made steps which were less complicated than those of the leader, but the rest of the line merely slouched behind in an inner tail.
The dancing was even less exciting than that of the Tirana gypsies, unexciting not only to watch but to dance. Yet since we have seen it danced not only by drunken men at a wedding, and by those unscholarly schoolmasters, but also by the hired bravoes of Ahmet Zogu, the irregular mountaineer troops of Dibra, there must be some pleasure in the thing that we have missed. Like fishing, it is perhaps a sport to which one is born.”
Please see here for more information on Jan and Cora Gordon.