What gets people more excited than music? It seems to be the one art form that unites humanity in mutual understanding. That is why if you’re traveling to Albania or planning to live there, this Albanian music vocabulary list could be vital to you. Some good examples to start you off are words like Guitar (Kitarë), Trumpet (Bori), and Rhythm (Ritëm). Ready to learn more? Keep reading below!
Remember: this list of Albanian music vocabulary is also tremendously beneficial if you decide to use the Ling App. There is, of course, a unit on music vocabulary and 50 other units with 200 lessons. You can learn 60 languages with just one subscription!
Albanian Music Vocabulary
Albanian Traditional Music
As with all countries, there is traditional music and contemporary music. Because traditional Albanian music has a more extended history, we’ll focus on that first.
Whenever we talk about Albania, we come back to that fundamental divide between Tosk and Gheg (the Ghegs mainly live in the North and the Tosks mainly live in the South).
There is a divide too in the melodies. Northern melodies tend to be monophonic(meaning one melodic line), and Southern melodies are polyphonic(meaning multiple melodic lines).
The history of Albanian folk music is long and storied, stretching back to ancient Illyria, Greece, and Turkey. If you know about this it will increase your desire to learn Albanian music vocabulary.
In the middle ages, Albania had a solid tradition of church singing. A famous musician from Albanian history was Shen Jan Kukuzeli. People loved him so much they made him a saint in the Eastern Orthodox church. If you go to the city of Durres, there is a musical school named after him.
Although it sometimes isn’t good to make generalizations, in this case, it’s mainly true that Albanian folk songs in the North are more rough and nationalistic. In contrast, the music in the South is more relaxed. Lyrics from Northern songs often reference the national hero Skanderberg who rose in revolt against the Ottoman empire. Lyrics from Southern songs are reminiscent of greek epics like the song of Epicurus. Perhaps the reason for this is a simple case of geography. Historically hostile neighbors surround the North, whereas life in the South is soothing, especially on the coast.
There are also differences in musical instruments between the North and South. In the North, the lahuta is used, whereas southern instrumental music includes a cifteli. The lahuta is a one-stringed guitar, and a cifteli is very similar, except it has two strings.
Modern Albanian Popular Music
Popular music in Albania stretches back to the beginning of the 20th century.
Naturally, the capital Tirana has produced some of the most well-known singers, including Vace Zela and Pavlina Nikaj.
Albania wasn’t spared from the 1960s rock revolution, but obviously, it was suppressed a little because of the communist regime. It was heavily influenced by British and American bands like the Beatles and The Beach Boys. Many people list Blue Star as the first true Albanian rock band.
The fall of the Berlin wall improved artistic freedom in Albania as well as many other former Eastern bloc countries. Some popular bands in the 1990s include Megaherz, which lead guitarist Bledar Sejko created.
The band Crossbones, created in the 1990s, is still popular today and has even performed in countries outside of Albania.
There is also a strand of modern Albanian classical music, an important part of Albania’s music heritage. However, this moves away from what we would think of as Turkish music(or Turkish influenced) and into a more Italian style far removed from any traditional Albanian folk song.
Albanian Music Superstars
There has never been a real major contemporary Albanian music star to emerge from Albania, at least not in the traditional sense. What has happened is that members of the Albanian diaspora(mainly living in the U.K.) have become superstars in their adopted countries.
Probably the most famous is Dua Lipa. She was born in London, but her parents are from Pristina, where Kosovo is now. She has an astounding number of Instagram followers at 86 million, and the 2020 album Future Nostalgia was both commercially and critically successful.
Another popular singer is Rita Ora. Although she never hit the heights of Dua Lipa, she is still highly famous, especially in the U.K. Amazingly, she was also born in Pristina, the same place as Dua Lipa’s parents. Her birth name is actually Rita Sahatçiu which means watchmaker. To make the surname easier to pronounce, her parents changed it to Ora, which means time in Albanian.
Finally, Bebe Rexha was born in 1989 to Albanian parents living in New York. Her father’s lineage goes back to Debar, North Macedonia, and her mother’s back to Gostivar, also in North Macedonia. She was nominated for a Grammy for a best new artist in 2019.
Learn Albanian With Ling
Since this is a lesson about music, it seems like the best place to start learning Albanian music vocabulary would be the auditory components of Ling. All of Ling’s audio is recorded by native speakers meaning you develop an authentic accent.
Ling also has speaking, reading, writing, and grammar practice. Don’t worry. The grammar is non-intrusive and doesn’t affect the app’s overall user experience. If you liked this blog, why not check out some others that have been trending recently, such as Albanian sports vocabulary and Albanian natural disasters vocabulary.