The Best of Albanian Pop Music

For me, the most enjoyable part of learning a new language is understanding the music of that language. In fact, I can still sing you a few Juanes songs from when I was learning spanish. Although Albanian speakers are linguistic group of less than 10 million people divided by inaccurate borders and emigration, it produces plenty of music. In fact, some of it is quite enjoyable. Here are my favorites:

Let me start with my very favorite: Elvana Gjata. She is from Tirana and is probably the most popular artist/singer in the Albanian speaking world. I especially enjoy when she sings the Albanian “y” and “l” which we don’t have in English. “Afer dhe Larg” or “Near and Far” is an older song of hers which won best Albanian song from some Balkan music competition. 1990 is a newer one and pretty great on my opinion. The version of “Beso” (believe) I posted is the official remix which is better, in my opinion, than the unremixed version.

Next we have Tuna who is a Macedonian Albanian.. or an Albanian from Macedonia depending on how nationalist you feel at the moment. In fact, her dad won some Olympic medals for Yugoslavia back in the good old days. You can hear in this song words that end with -vay which is how you decline some plural nouns in Albanian when the occasions calls for it.

Continuing on our tour we have Silva Gunbardhi, a Vlonjate (person from Vlore, Albania) whose song “Te ka Lali Shpirt” became the most watched Albanian music videos on youtube. As of today, about one year and one month after the release, it has over 33 Million views.  Wikipedia claims that only 7.4 million people speak Albanian so let’s do the math. That’s almost 5 views for every Shqiptar in the world. Wikipedia says there are 360 million native english speakers so for some comparison imagine a music video with 1.8 billion views. Do note that the lyrics aren’t even worth translating. “Te Ka lali Shpirt / Te ka lali Xhan” roughly translates to “he/she loves you, sweetheart”

The first Man on this list is Noizy, whose real name is Rigels Rajku, supposedly from Shupenza Albania (a town in the middle of nowhere…not far from where I live in fact.) His family fled Albania as many did during the 1997 crisis when young Noizy was only 10. He grew up on some mean streets in London and is one of the biggest Albanian rappers today. Despite his gangsta persona, his best song, in my expert opinion and in that of my 10 year old neighbors, is his song about his daughter “Noku Vogel”

Finally we have Alban Skenderaj, another Vlonjat and another Albanian artist whose family emigrated from Albania. At the age of 14 Alban and his family moved to Italy where his family still lives. His style which includes an acoustic guitar  really sticks out from most Albanian pop which is probably a direct result of his having grown up partially in Italy. “Miremengjes” means literally “good morning. ” His song “Nje Enderr” means “A Dream.”

Of course I had to leave a few of my favorite out in order to keep the list small. Regardless, these are some of the songs to which Albania resonates. Enjoy.

That’s it for today, Comrades!

Ciao! May you be with health and live long!

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11 responses to “The Best of Albanian Pop Music

  1. Pingback: Top 10 (Actually Interesting) Facts about Albania | dude, where's my gomar?·

  2. Silvia Gunbardhi’s views come mostly from the rest of Balkan countries, especially Bulgaria, who have also adopted that song in Bulgarian. You can see from the comments that they have appreciated the song even from as far as Azerbaijan.

    • Ive actually seen the bulgarian version on a furgon/van. It is a great song and how nice that albanian music is being enjoyed internationally.

  3. Silvia Gunbardhi’s song is not Albanian for start! Is a traditional roma gipsy song but the singers are Albanians. Unfortunately, most of the music in Albania today is what called widely “tallava”, a mixture of slavic and roma gipsy rhythm (which is loud and nerve wracking!) and shamefully propagandized as Albanian..and do not get me started about their music video clips!

    Although, some of the other songs are quite good..Likely,there are still some real musicians left around.. My favorite one is of course Alban Skenderaj but do check Poni also (another vlonjate).

  4. Hi,

    I heard a song some time ago, but cannot find it. I don’t know the lyrics, but the singer is Albanian and had long, dirty blonde, curly hair. If you know his name, please let me know. He was more famous I think in the early 2000’s, but the song has a nice dancing rhythm. Thanks

  5. Hello
    I guess that the name of the singer that you are asking is Gena. I am not sure if you are looking for him but you can try.
    Hope its right!

  6. i am algerian i like some albanian songs its toned and beat in . its close to our song or arabic turkish songs …. i love thats gundardhi and mandi songs …. pretty

  7. Hey! I hope you’re still running this blog because I’d LOVE to find the answer to my question…

    I was in Albania in the summer of 2013 and there was a song on the radio all the time that I really want to find (it reminds me so much of my time there). All I know is that it was a duet, pop/RnB, and in the chorus it sounded like they repeated the word ‘fair’, or at least that’s what it sounded like to my English-language-only ears!

    Can anyone help?! Or suggest where I could start looking for it?

    Cheers and peace

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