From The Albanian Songbook Album

From The Albanian Songbook Album

by Bashkim Paçuku


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From The Albanian Songbook Album

At least for listeners outside the Albanian sphere, this release may remain an almost total mystery. The booklet describes only the singer, tenor Bashkim Paçuku, without any indication of the origin of the Albanian Songbook music on the album. No texts are given except for titles, in Albanian and English, of each piece. The age of the performances is also unclear. The booklet darkly refers to "those in the Balkans who wanted to silence this great voice forever," but "friendly journalists" apparently bootlegged these recordings during live performances. (The disc was, however, issued by Paçuku himself.) Given that recording method, the disc doesn't sound bad at all; the performances sound older than they probably really are, given that the cover shows a singer no more than middle-aged. The music seems to consist of well-known Albanian songs (most are available in multiple other versions), perhaps traditional, cast in arrangements for full orchestra. Some are in an Italianate idiom, while others find a way between indigenous nonstandard tonalities and Western harmonies in much the same way as settings of Irish and Scots songs did in the eighteenth century; hear the song "April arrived, the snow melted on the tops…" (track 8), where the arrangement bristles with minor seconds that suggest what the song would have sounded like in a different context. The chief attraction is Paçuku's voice, which, while not quite holding up to the proffered comparisons with the greats of the early twentieth century, is a remarkable instrument capable of a ruddy, full-bodied tone while living in the territory of high A flats and B flats. It makes one want to hear more of Paçuku and to find out whether other recordings of music like this have survived the conflict in the Balkans.

Product Details

Release Date: 01/16/2007
Label: Cd Baby
UPC: 0837101149327
catalogNumber: 5637217676
Rank: 235319


  1. Në zaman t'njasj furie (In the Time of Its Fury), romance for tenor & orchestra
  2. O bilbil o more i mjerë (O Poor Nightingale), folk song
  3. As aman, o trandafili çeles (Pity Me, O Blooming Rose), folk song
  4. Kroi i fshatit tonë, ujë i kulluar (Our Town's Spring Water, Crystal Clear), folk song
  5. Çelni ju moj lule, çelni (Blossom, You Flowers, Blossom), folk song
  6. E po ç'kërkon o i mjeri plak? (What Do You Seek, O Poor Old Man?), folk song
  7. Poeti i maleve (Poet of the Mountains), song
  8. Hyri Prilli, shkriu bora majave (April Arrived, the Snow Melted on the Hilltops), song
  9. Karnevalet e Korçës (Korça Carnivals), operetta: Aria e Lonit (Loni's Aria)
  10. Ndalu që tëflasim o luan i malit (Let's Stop and Talk, O Mountain Lion), ballad

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