Albanian music and musicians in Kosovo.

Albanian/Kosovar music displays a variety of influences. Along with modern music, folk music is one of the most popular genre in Kosovo. There are many folk singers and ensembles. Classical music is also known in Kosovo. The main modern genres include: pop, hip hop,rock, and jazz.

Folk music in Kosovo

In the past, epic poetry in Kosovo and northern Albania was sung on a lahuta and then later on a çiftelia. Archaeological researches tell about how old this tradition is and how it has developed in a parallel way with other traditional music in Balkan. Lots of roots were found in the 5th century BC like paintings in stones showing singers with instruments. Some of the traditional music genres are: Rapsodi, Sofrat, Dirge (albanian. kenge vaji), lullabies etc.Some of the Traditional Music authors, singers, and composers are: Dervish Shaqa, Bajrush Doda, Idajet Sejdiu etc.

Classical music in Kosovo

The roots of classical music in Kosovo are found in the 1940s and include the time period from the times when Kosovo was part of Yugoslavia to this day. Classical music in Kosovo reaches back about 70 years. Even though in a short period of time, this music has evolved, passing through generations of composers and artists.

The first opera by a Kosovar composer is “Goca e Kaçanikut”. It was composed in the late 1970s by Rauf Dhomi whereas the first Kosovar ballet is “Sokoli e Mirusha”. It was composed in 1976 in two acts by Akil Mark Koci, with a libretto by Nuredin Loxha.Some of the major composers are Lorenc Antoni, Rexho Mulliqi, Rafet Rudi, Mendi Mengjigji etc.

Internationally recognised musicians from Kosovo

Kosovar singers for years have been contributing to music industry for the world. Some of the internnationally recgonised musicians from Kosovo are:

Rita Ora

Rita Ora was born in Pristina, Kosovo. She became the artist with the most number-one singles on the UK Singles Chart in 2012, with three consecutive singles reaching the top position. She was nominated for three Brit Awards at the 2013 ceremony. Her single, “I Will Never Let You Down”, became her fourth UK number one when it debuted at the top of the charts in 2014. Also in 2014, Ora featured on Iggy Azalea’s single, “Black Widow”, which reached number three in the US. In 2015, Ora became a coach on the fourth series of The Voice UK, and later that year, a judge on the twelfth series of The X Factor.

Petrit Çeku

Petrit Çeku, was born in June 2, 1985 in Prizren, Kosovo. He was inspired to play guitar from his father at the age of six.In 2002 Petrit Çeku was invited to study in Zagreb, Croatia at the Pavao Markovac school of music. In 2008, he graduated from the Zagreb Academy of Music. From 2009-2013 he went on to study with the great master, Manuel Barrueco, at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, USA. He has won many awards such as first prize in Maurizio Biasini International Guitar Competition, Bologna, Italy in 2011, first prize in Parkening International Guitar  Competition, Malibu, California in 2012 etc.

Dua Lipa

Dua Lipa was born in albanian family from Kosovo. Lipa grew up listening to her father, the Kosovan rock singer Dukagjin Lipa.At the age of 14 she began posting covers of her favourite songs by artists such as Christina Aguilera and Nelly Furtado on YouTube.In 2015 Lipa began working on her debut album for Warner Bros. Records. In August 2015 she released her first single “New Love”.She released her second single “Be the One,” written by Lucy “Pawws” Taylor, in October 2015. Her first tour in the UK and Europe began in January 2016

Era Istrefi

Era Istrefi, known as simply Era, is an Albanian Kosovar singer and songwriter. In June 2014, she won three Videofest awards for her music videos, including “Best New Artist” for her work in 2013. In January 2016, Era began achieving international attention due to the release of her single “BonBon”, reaching 30 million views on YouTube. Following the single’s success, she was signed to American record labels Sony Music Entertainment and Ultra Music in February 2016.

Bebe Rexha

Bebe Rexha was born in Brooklyn, New York City to ethnic Albanian parents who emigrated to the United States during the 1980s.She is best known for being featured on Cash Cash’s “Take Me Home”, David Guetta’s “Hey Mama”, and for singing “Me, Myself & I” in duet with G-Eazy. She started her career as the lead vocalist of the American band Black Cards created by Pete Wentz, and co-wrote the number-one US Billboard Hot 100 song “The Monster” by Eminem featuring Rihanna.

Famous local musicians in Kosovo

Nexhmije Pagarusha 

Nexhmije Pagarusha who was born on 7 May 1933 is a popular Albanian singer and actress from Kosovo. Her musical creative work lasted for almost 40 years.Pagarusha is loved by the music critics and adored from the music admirers. She is called Bilbili i Kosovës (Nightingale of Kosovo), queen of Albanian music, Madam Butterfly, etc. The song, Baresha (English: The Shephardess), is one of her most popular songs. She was awarded the “Honor of the Nation” award (Albanian: Nderi i Kombit) from Albanian president Bujar Nishani in November 2012.

Vaçe Zela

Vaçe Zela who  was born on 7 April 1939 and died on 6 February 2014 , was an Albanian singer.She began her career at a young age and in 1962 was the first to win the Albanian Song Festival (Festivali i Këngës). An 11 time winner of the festival, Vaçe gained fame during the communist era and was awarded the Merited Artist of Albania prize in 1973 and the People’s Artist of Albania prize in 1977. On 24 December 2002 she was awarded the Prize “Honor of the Nation” by the Albanian president Alfred Moisiu.

Shkëlzen Doli

Shkëlzen Doli was born on 9 August 1971 in Elbasan, Albania, and grew up in Gjakova, Kosovo.He is an Albanian violinist.In 1989 he won his first prize at the Yugoslavian youth music contest in Sarajevo. In 1992 he began his music studies at University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna taking lessons from Dora Schwarzberg, Michael Frischenschlager and Josef Hell.A short time later, he became a substitute for the Vienna State Opera Orchestra. and now has been a member of the second violin section. Since 1995, he has played with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.olo and ensemble tours have taken him to numerous European countries and to North America, Africa, Israel and Japan. Just recently he has become a founding member of the newly formed chamber music ensemble, “The Philharmonics”.

Rona Nishliu

Rona Nishliu who was born on August 25, 1987 , is an Albanian Kosovar singer-songwriter.She represented Albania in the Eurovision Song Contest 2012 in Baku, Azerbaijan after winning the national selection on December 29, 2011 with the entry “Suus”.She is the first singer from Kosovo to represent Albania in the contest.She won the fifth place in the final with 146 points – Albania’s best result to date.In Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia, and Montenegro, she is known as a pop singer/musician. The audience in Pristina and Tirana know her also as an experimental jazz singer. Her interpretation is characterized with nuances of soul music influences as well. Her vocal range and interpretative power are her strongest points.