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Banned music and the fate of oppressed musicians during the dictatorship period in Albania and in some countries of the Balkans and East Germany
Written by Nga Qamil Gjyrezi 29 Nëntor 2023
The Municipality of Shkodër, the Spaçi Prison Museum Association, the Place of Evidence of Memory, the Commission for Justice and Peace, Art as a Form of Freedom organized an activity entitled: 'Forbidden music and the fate of oppressed musicians during the dictatorship period in Albania and in some countries of the Balkans and East Germany'. The dictatorship in the countries of the former birth, especially in Albania, has also negatively affected the musical arts, denying them the right to play musical styles and currents, to express themselves, that conflicted with the ideology of the time. Thanks to the desire to develop the art of music, musicians, composers and singers, performers have done their best for the development of classical art on a national basis and at certain times, they have expressed themselves by playing and creating western music, especially in the 11th Festival .
Many stage artists and musicians paid dearly for their modern creativity with prisons, exiles, as was the case of the great singer Sherif Merdani, trumpeter Gaspë Curçia, etc.
In Bulgaria, for example Western light music was an ideological threat, a form of hostile bourgeois influence. In the GDR, Stefen Kraëczyk was a writer, composer and musician, through his songs he criticized the regime in the GDR. Even in Croatia, opposing artists and critics of the former communist Titista regime have been imprisoned. The former dictatorial regimes had built terrible prisons against political opponents and critics of the communist regime, where musicians and singers were also imprisoned. PSH: KGB Prison in Potsdam Germany, Spaci Prison in Albania, Belen Concentration Camp in Bulgaria, Goli Otok Concentration Camp, Croatia. Therefore, this activity is of great value for a country like Albania that wants to be a member of the EU. In the stands prepared for former musicians from the east is the singer Sherif Merdani, along with other musicians from the Balkans and the former communist east.
One of the integration criteria is the dictatorial past and the influence on art and music.
In all other countries of the former East, communism has been more liberal, but even in these countries there have been prisoners of conscience and musicians.
On this occasion, as soon as I gave the floor, I mentioned the imprisoned musicians Gaspë Curçija, Sherif Merdani, the conductor Milto Vako and the painter Ali Oseku. I left out the musician Zef Leka and Father Bernardin Palaj, imprisoned and shot. But I have written about both these intellectuals and musicians in newspapers. I published an article in the newspaper about Father Bernardin Palaj, entitled: 'Composer of the flag song that has no head' and about Zef Leka, 'Composer of the little lamb' who was imprisoned by the former dictatorship. I also published a paper entitled: 'How did the former dictatorship affect music in Albania'? In the future, I think that real musicological studies and analyzes should be done on these topics, which require artistic and scientific arguments.
I have the idea that I should write, bring facts and photos and compose ballad songs and instrumental pieces, for imprisoned and interned musicians. These activities should definitely be combined with musicians and creators from the former East, Romania, Germany, Croatia, etc.
On this occasion, I also remembered the musician from Shkodra, the contrabassist, timpanist and violinist Fric Barbullushi, who for political reasons, was denied the right to study, and was prevented from going to the Academy of Arts in Tirana. In the future, I will write essays with musicological and political facts and evidence, about the former politically persecuted in music during the dictatorship and I will publish them at the "Museum of Memory in Shkodër". In these days, I also remember the great musicians and clerics who, with the mission for 'Religion and Homeland', opposed the communist ideology and were killed and imprisoned. Their work should be studied by real musicologists and researchers, for Albania to be integrated into the EU and it is a necessary condition. Respect and honor for their work, as they created the foundations of the Western Albanian school of composition and musicology. In this context he was mentioning: Father Mikel Koliqi imprisoned composer, Father Donat Kurti imprisoned ethnographer composer, Luigj Filaj imprisoned musicologist, Father Filip Mazreku musicologist, Zef Gruda imprisoned composer, Zef Leka imprisoned musician, Father Bernardin Palaj ethnologist shot musician . In conclusion, my idea is that imprisoned and exiled musicians and singers cannot have the same treatment as those who worked, studied, created music in the former dictatorship. If there is evidence and musicological facts, that the former dictatorship has influenced their creativity, bring out arguments and musicological facts. I am against baseless and emotional opinions and statements about music in the former dictatorship and today, works and creativity. Therefore, files should be opened for all musicians and singers, so that Albanians and young people learn the truth. Indeed, the great Albanian composer Cesk Zadeja created music during the dictatorship, thanks to his musical genius. Zadeja has left us like many creators and composers in Albania, a wonderful work. However, it turns out that he was haunted by the former state security. This fact has been published, the document of persecution by number and letter by the prominent Albanian musicologist Vaso Tole. Musicians and creators have a great importance for Albanian culture and Albanianness, even those in Kosovo.
Albania is the first...
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