Music of Kosovo

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Music of Kosovo
General topics
  • Music of Kosovo
  • Music composition and composers in Pristina
  • Genres
    Media and performance
    Music festivals
    Nationalistic and patriotic songs
    National anthem

    Music of Kosovo[a] is part of the European culture and refers to the music of the Kosovan people, dominated by the music of Kosovo Albanians which constitute the majority of population, and to a lesser extent the inactive music of small minority groups within the Republic of Kosovo.

    Throughout its history, Kosovar music has played an important cultural role and also a significant part of the Kosovan national identity, drawing its artistic basis from the ancient and traditional folk music (with distinctive instrumentation of Albania), rhapsody, classical music, and Western culture.

    Although popular music dominates the Kosovar music market, classical music and folk music remain vibrant, with many modern Kosovar musicians having oftentimes reconstructed traditions which had been suppressed while the country was under Yugoslav occupation. Meanwhile, the mainstream music in Kosovo is Western oriented and the main popular genres include pop, rock, hip hop[1] electronic, jazz, etc.

    Folk music

    In the past, epic poetry in Kosovo and northern Albania was sung on a lahuta (a one-string fiddle) and then a more tuneful çiftelia was used which has two strings-one for the melody and one for drone.[2] Cultural anthropology researches revealed the antiquity of this tradition and how was it developed in parallel with other traditional music in the Balkans, while various archaeologists discovered finds dating back to the 5th Century B.C. such as stone paintings depicting musicians with instruments, notably the portrait of "Pani" holding an aerophone similar to flute.[3]

    Traditional music

    Albanian music

    It is characterized by use of çiftelia (an authentic Albanian instrument), mandolin, mandola and percussion. The most notable Albanian rock bands are: Gjurmët, Diadema, Jericho, Offchestra, Toxin, Purgatory, Minatori, Trix, Rock Gjinis, Troja, Votra, Humus, Asgjë Sikur Dielli, Gillespie, Kthjellu, Cute Babulja, Babilon, Bloody Foreigners etc. Armend Xhaferi - Jazz Guitarist, Bajram Istrefi Jr. - Jazz Drummer, Ilir Bajri is a notable jazz and electronic musician.

    Ledri Vula, Rita Ora, Era Istrefi, Dua Lipa, Kida, Dhurata Dora, Nora Istrefi, Majk (rapper), Genta Ismajli, Rona Nishliu, Vedat Ademi and Adelina Ismajli are some of the most popular commercial singers in Kosovo today.

    The representative of folk music from Kosovo is the folk group Shota, with top singer Shkurte Fejza and the representative of Muzika e lehte shqipe is Shkëlzen Jetishi, the music group Agimi and many more groups.

    Tallava is a minority music genre from Kosovo, also popular in Albania and the Republic of Macedonia, in the Albanian-speaking communities.[4][5][6] Having originated in the Roma community in Kosovo in the 1990s, it is oriental-sounding, and perceived of as low-status.[7] Nevertheless, it is becoming increasingly popular in Albania and Macedonia.[8] It is identified as part of the wider Pop-folk genre of the Southeastern Europe, which includes Chalga from Bulgaria, Skiladiko from Greece, Manele from Romania and Turbo-folk from Serbia.[9]

    Serbian minority music

    Serbian music in Kosovo represents a small minority group and is a mixture of traditional music (which is part of the wider Balkan tradition) with its own distinctive sound and various Turkish influences.[10] Serb songs from Kosovo were an inspiration for 12th song wreath (sr. Руковет) by composer Stevan Mokranjac. Most of Serbian music from Kosovo was dominated by church music, with its own share of sung epic poetry.[10] Serbian national instrument Gusle was also used by their minority in Kosovo.[11]

    Rock music

    While rock music in Kosovo has always been Western oriented, Yugoslavian influence became also evident to a minor extent but it was short-lived.[12] One of the first popular Albanian rock bands was called Blue Star which formed in 1964 in Pristina and later it was renamed to Modestët.[13] In the beginning of the 1970s, the rock music scene in Mitrovica, Kosovo (then Yugoslavia) comprised both Albanian and Serbian bands, though each had their own separate audience and performed in their own languages. However, there was a band called MAK[14] which had both Albanian and Serbian musicians, and another bi-ethnic band was FAN also based in Mitrovica, but their collaboration was short-lived as well.

    Pristina was the most important city for Albanian rock music during the 1980s. In the mainstream circles Gjurmët (founded 1981) were among favorites. Their combination of rock with "muzikë qytetare" laid the foundation of Albanian rock. Other known bands that formed during this period were Ilirët, 403, Telex, Seleksioni 039, Minatori and Menkis. On the other hand, the underground music was more leaning towards punk. Most notable underground rock/punk band of Pristina in the 1980s was Lindja with its lead musician Luan Osmani (lead guitar). The beginning of the 1990s introduced other rock bands and individuals that played mainly in Kosovo like Troja, Dardan Shkreli, Blla blla blla and Elita 5 (from Macedonia).

    During the parallel governance (1989–1999) and after the 1999 war in Kosovo, several new Kosovo-Albanian bands emerged, among which most famous are Diadema, KEK (Kreativ e jo Komercial – English: creative and not commercial), 7me7, The Hithat, Cute Babulja, Por-no, Gre3n, Retrovizorja.

    After 2004 many alternative rock band appeared forming a new wave. Many bands formed, dissolved than re-formed. Bands like Votra, Gillespie, The Bloody Foreigners, and Gre3n (ceased existing in 2008). Also the Glasses, the Dizzies (with some band members of Gillespie) The Freelancers most of them debuting in 2009.

    Music abroad


    The contemporary pop stars Rita Ora and Dua Lipa are ethnic Albanians from Pristina and have achieved an international recognition for their music.[15] Also Era Istrefi had an international breakthrough with her song "Bonbon" which charted globally. Another widely recognized musicians are de:Ardita Statovci and Petrit Çeku, both winners of prestigious music awards.[16]


    Kosovo's national public service broadcaster RTK is currently awaiting the EBU membership. The broadcaster had applied to enter Kosovo for the Eurovision Song Contest 2009[17][18][19] and Kosovo would have made its Eurovision Song Contest debut in 2011 if it joined the EBU. There is a cooperation agreement signed between the EBU and RTK and the EBU supports the membership of RTK. From 2013 on, RTK has observer status within the EBU and did participate in the Eurovision Young Dancers 2011.[20] According to the Kosovar newspaper Koha Ditore, a future entry would be selected via a national final called Akordet e Kosovës, a former pop show that had been taken off the air some years ago.

    Kosovo Albanian artists have competed at the Festivali i Këngës since the 80s and have represented Albania in several occasions. The Kosovar singer, Rona Nishliu, represented Albania with "Suus" and placed 5th in the grand final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2012, whereas Lindita Halimi represented Albania in 2017 with "World". Additionally, Elhaida Dani's song I'm Alive which represented Albania in the Eurovision Song Contest 2015, was written and produced by Zzap & Chriss, both Kosovo Albanian record producers and songwriters.

    See also


    1. ^ Kosovo is the subject of a territorial dispute between the Republic of Kosovo and the Republic of Serbia. The Republic of Kosovo unilaterally declared independence on 17 February 2008, but Serbia continues to claim it as part of its own sovereign territory. The two governments began to normalise relations in 2013, as part of the Brussels Agreement. Kosovo has received formal recognition as an independent state from 113 out of 193 United Nations member states.


    1. ^ Example of mixed Rap with Shota music Archived 2007-09-29 at the Wayback Machine.
    2. ^ Knaus, Warrander, Verena, Gail (2010). Kosovo. Kosovo: Brad Travel Guides. p. 41.
    3. ^ Kruta, Beniamin (1990). Vendi i polifonise shqiptare ne polifonike ballkanike. Kultura Popullore. pp. 13–14.
    4. ^ Samson, Jim (2013). Music in the Balkans. BRILL.
    5. ^ Refleksion sociologjik mbi kiçin e muzikës tallava
    6. ^ Gail Warrander and Verena Knaus (2010). Kosovo. BRADT.
    7. ^ Samson 2013, p. 78.
    8. ^ Samson 2013, p. 79.
    9. ^ Natalie Bayer (2009). Crossing Munich. Silke Schreiber. ISBN 978-3-88960-108-7. Formen wie: tallava in Albanien, chalga in Bulgarien, skiládiko in ... in Rumänien, turbo folk in Serbien usw
    10. ^ a b Warrander, Gail (2011). Kosovo. Bradt Guides. p. 41. ISBN 9781841623313.
    11. ^ Biddle, Ian (2013). Music National Identity and the Politics of Location: Between the Global and the Local. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. ISBN 9781409493778.
    12. ^ Sabrina P. Ramet, Gordana Crnković: Kazaaam! splat! ploof!: the American impact on European popular culture, page 176 "...rock music spread in every corner of Yugoslavia—even to economically and socially underdeveloped Kosovo..."
    13. ^ "Agim Bass Berisha". Archived from the original on January 14, 2007. Retrieved 2017-09-14., "...It was this year, 1964, when Agim and Afrim decided to form their band, which was named “Blue Stars”..."
    14. ^ "Agim Bass Berisha". Archived from the original on January 14, 2007. Retrieved 2017-09-14., "...1970-1979: these were the years when rock in Kosovo really bloomed. Many new bands were formed those years, and the leading band was “MAK” from the city of Mitrovica..."
    15. ^ "Rita Ora".
    16. ^ "Catalogue of the 3rd edition of Dam Festival".
    17. ^ "Kosovo: RTK wants to enter Eurovision in 2009". Archived from the original on 2010-01-03. Retrieved 2008-05-22.
    18. ^ "NDR on the Kosovo potential participation in Eurovision" Archived 2012-03-29 at the Wayback Machine. 22 May 2008 - Link accessed 27/05/08
    19. ^ "RTK wants to enter Eurovision as soon as possible" Archived 2008-05-28 at the Wayback Machine. 19 April 2008 - Link accessed 27/05/08
    20. ^ Albavision (2011-04-07). "Kosovo new steps in ebu agreement". Retrieved 25 July 2011.
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