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Dance & Music

Dance and music are at the very heart of Albanian culture. As Kosova modernizes and other traditions are lost forever, the music, the songs, the rhythms, and the unique movement style still say “my culture” in a powerful way to Albanians near and far. In most parts of Kosova, the old-style two-week weddings filled with dance and music that were held in village meadows and courtyards have given over to a big fancy party in a hotel banquet rooms. Most people love this. Some, like me, long for those epic weddings in the countryside. Through time, some of the old rhythms and steps are being lost, but there's no doubt about it, the sound and feeling of Albanian dance and music live on! 


At the heart of this is the sound: the daire (giant tambourine), çifteli (two-stringed lute), zurla (big double-reed horns), and lodra (big drums). And beautiful songs – from soaring traditional epic ballads to jaunty pop songs. One of the great things about Albanian dance culture is that all you need is a big tambourine, some enthusiastic singers, and you have a dance party – no DJ required! The rhythm from those tambourines will get you up and dancing in one of Kosova’s two basic dance forms: Kcim (duet or solo), and Valle (open circle holding hands).


Each of Kosova’s 18 ethnographic regions has its own special dances. Podrimja has a wonderful “eagle” dance where the men do a little flying move with their arms. The Has women do a beautiful, very subtle circle dance in a 12/8 rhythm. Rugova men have their sword battle moves. Karadaku has their fast men’s dances and fancy footwork. Opoja has its girls’ dance-songs in minor harmonies, and the men have Kellçoja, a series of eleven epic dances in seven different rhythms. And everywhere there is the basic kcim and valle that will let you know, hopefully for many decades to come, that you are in Kosova.

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