THE TRADITIONAL SONG AS AN EXPRESSION OF THE ETHNIC IDENTITY OF A NATION
(On the book titled Even in Dream I Sing of scholar Fitim R. Çaushi)
The book titled Even in Dream I Sing, of scholar Fitim R. Çaushi, which was recently published by Argjiro Publishing House (Gjirokastra–Albania), is dedicated to the life and activity of the well-known singer, Irini Qirjako (1955-). Regarding the content, in its entirety, this book contributes to some main aspects, which could possibly be formulated as follows: i) the life of singer Irini Qirjako; ii) the path of her professional formation; iii) ideas, thoughts, evaluations of a number of her interpreter colleagues, as well as of many Albanian professional music and art representatives; iv) travel impressions, etc. Hopefully, a concise review of such aspects may give the reader a somewhat clear picture of the well-known figure.
First, the book brings different aspects of singer Irini Qirjako’s life. The reader learns that she completed elementary and junior-high school in the village of Finiq (Saranda). Meanwhile, she also participates in several Saranda City Children’s Festivals. Enjoying so much the field of music, later she went on to the Artistic Lyceum “Jordan Misja” in Tirana. It may be worthwhile to keep in mind that, Irini Qirjako–the young girl, who later became a well-known singer–did not win the competition to continue her studies at the Music Department of the Albanian Institute of Arts (now the University of Arts)! Consequently, in a desperate state, she had no choice but to continue her studies at the Culture Department of the same educational institution!
Second, the book brings data on the path of professional formation of singer Irini Qirjako. Such a path was not easy at all, but always difficult, delicate, and painful. To be formed as a professional singer of Lab polyphonic song, continuous efforts were needed, great passion, deep love for traditional music. As her fellow interpreter colleagues also think, the temple where Irini Qirjako was formed as a professional singer was exactly the Ensemble of Traditional Songs and Dances: the already legendary institution for the processing and interpretation of traditional Albanian musical art–voical, instrumental, choreographic–for almost half a century. In this temple, there were heard earlier to interpret the immortal names of singers, instrumentalists and dancers!
Third, the book brings ideas, thoughts, evaluations of a number of interpreter colleagues–singers, dancers, instrumentalists– of singer Irini Qirjako, like: Fiqirete Kapaj, Sabaete Visha, Hysni Zela, Liljana Cingu, Rexhep Çeliku etc. Through their thoughts, often with a special professional load, the reader learns about the considerations that interpreter colleagues have about the singer. The book also brings ideas, thoughts, evaluations of many Albanian professional music and art representatives–composers, conductors, scholars, singers, instrumentalists, dancers, actors, journalists–about the vocal skills and the contribution of singer Irini Qirjako in the field of the interpretation of the Lab polyphonic song .
Fourthly, the book provides extensive and rich information on concerts of the Ensemble of Traditional Songs and Dances in different countries, such as: Turkey (1979), France (1980), Greece (1981), Germany (1983), Italy (1983 ), etc. Being the lead singer of the Lab polyphonic song, Irini Qirjako performed at every concert.
Prof. Dr. SPIRO J. SHETUNI
Rock Hill, South Carolina