The culture of “The pressure cooker”

Seria "Jeta lakuriq"

From “Naked life”series…

 Sometimes I feel like it is still communist era. You get the idea that we live in an illusory and opaque world without being able to discern what is happening around us. Let’s take a quick look at our musical development. After a century of rich techniques and forms of the European new musical expression, we still continue to play “dance with tambourines,” while our brothers in Kosovo, have recently organized magnificent concerts of contemporary music and perform premieres such as: vocal instrumental play “In A” composed by Rafet Rudi; The young Kreshnik Aliçkaj won the first prize in the competition “Artistes en Herbe”, in Luxembourg; in the near future there will be held the 12th International Festival which is a very interesting edition, DAM, etc. Where do we find activities of this format and level or contemporary spirit in Albania? Even in one of the most successful festivals like the “Different Trains” which in fact should have an Albanian name, they generally do not play Albanian music. We continue in creativity to boast by playing “with tambourine dance”. I think that the desperate anchoring at the only proven works of the past led us to a ruminant ritual. Isn’t the musical culture a process of a multidimensional communication process? Should we talk about a museum culture in our musical development?

Where will I seek multinational cultural contacts in Albania? Is it within the contacts of artists and pedagogues with the European universities colleagues or in doing occasional researches? Or in repertoire and scores they use? We boast about the restage of “Traviata” and “O sole mio” opera, denying new time values and redoing what we learned during communism? Don’t the students and professors all work with photocopied scores? Why, is it the same as in Europe? In the library of the National University of Music in Bucharest, for example, all scores are part of “Peters” edition and photocopies are not allowed. In fact, the contacts with the world have been “frozen” in just using some English words to show that we are cultured, and as I say, in “trend”.

We are lucky to have good instrumentalist, but they rarely have references to today’s music or further more being able to project activities of nowadays repertoires. Even the RTSH Orchestra still plays works written during communist era. “The pressure cooker” boils only Classic and romantic repertoire, rarely any Debussy or Prokofiev. Hardened ideas that the instrumental bravura is found only in this repertoire and not in any contemporary ones, are rooted even at very good instrumentalist. Can we talk about being open minded or lid closed!?

Festivals like “Tirana Fall” or “Days of New Music” are distant visions. If you want to find something to promote our music, you need to look abroad to find a master and wise compatriot who has been successful, among them I would highlight Thoma Simaku. It looks like we are back in “the pressure cooker”. We process different forms of our ignorance and oppress it in the best way: – Why, is he better than me? Spaces for new music are as much as “the pressure cooker” holds.

Of course there are “updated” personalities. There are and will be, but how are they helped by the country’s cultural policies? Are they gradually deformed by “the pressure cooker”?

At least we should admit that youth is faced with the mentality of competition, movement, contact and cooperation. Contacts with Erasmus or other programs, have led some excellent students worldwide, but will a return home align them in “the pressure cooker”? Don’t they feel the shortage of projections towards more fertile paths and isn’t it related to country’s cultural policies? So, are we not still in communist era which gradually lined all our artists returning from studies in “democratic countries”?

Are we not still in that time?


Nestor Kraja

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