AB and Muziekpublique get together for a unique concert of Albanese sorrow songs
Molière Theatre, Galerie de la Porte de Namur
3 Square du Bastion
Brazilian Samba, Bosnian Sevdah, New Orleans Jazz, Albanese Saze, … The turn of the last century saw massive migrations of people from rural areas to cities. They took their music with them and adapted their traditions to new circumstances and modern instruments. Of all these fantastic musical forms, it is the mesmerizing arabesques, joyful dances and heartbreaking laments of Saze that are among the least recorded, remaining largely unknown outside of Albania.
Via Glitterbeat, a label dear to our heart, Saz’iso last year released one of the few recorded Saze albums: the superb ‘At Least Wave Your Handkerchief At Me: The Joys and Sorrows of Southern Albanian Song’.
The virtuoso Albanian musicians in the collective were brought together by producer Joe Boyd, who has previously worked with the likes of Pink Floyd and Nick Drake. Singers Donika Pecallari and Adrianna Thanou, from Përmet (one of the cradles of Saze), already attracted attention in their youth, at local festivals and song competitions. During the turbulent years of the’90s and the fall of the communist government, they left Albania and started a new life in Greece. Adrianna refrained from singing for two decades and only returned to her passion again in recent years. Robert Tralo, the male singer of the collective, also hails from Përmet. After the fall of the communist government, he turned his back on his musical career and decided to become and orthodox priest, permitting himself the occasional performance with a Saze ensemble when outside the boundaries of his parish.
Donika Pecallari (vocals)
Adrianna Thanou (vocals)
Robert Tralo (vocals)
Aurel Qirjo (violin & vocals)
Telando Feto (clarinet)
Agron Murat (llautë/lute)
Agron Nasi (dajre/frame drum)
Pëllumb Meta (fyell/flute & vocal)
In the press “Soul might well be the best word to describe much of the show: passion restrained by a touching modesty. There is much joy here, but never far from an almost gut-wrenching sadness that comes from gently opening the heart. A constant background, as in Irish music, of melancholy tinged with joy: a feeling of the evanescence of each moment of bliss.” - ***** The Arts Desk (about Saz’iso in Bristol)
“Music that is unworldly, often melancholy and haunting.” **** The Guardian
Fun fact The moving ‘Tana’ is an ancient song that tells the tale of a herder who is ambushed by bandits and begs to play his lute one last time before they kill him. The plaintive melody conveys his terrible fate to his beloved in the valley below.