Lucy Duran heads to the mountainous north of Albania to a folk festival in the remote town of Bajram Curri to hear musicians from across northern Albania and neighbouring Kosovo.
Surrounded by mountains, and only really accessible by ferry across Lake Koman, or by road via Kosovo, Bajram Curri is a town on the Valbona River, where every year a festival celebrating Albania folk traditions is held in a run down outdoor sports arena. Families and local dignitaries crowd the stadium to hear bands singing songs in praise of Albanian honour and hospitality, as well as epic ballads about the country's past heroes. Having spent its history fighting occupations from the Ottoman Empire, and its Slavic neighbours, in the North of the country where the borders of Albania, Kosovo and Macedonia meet, the musical identity is a key part in proclaiming Albania national pride.
Lucy meets bands of Albanian musicians from around the Tropoje region, as well as neighbouring Kosovo, and heads up in to the mountains to an isolated village to record some of the old domestic songs of the region, and hear about arranged marriages. She also meets a Maje Krahu singer, a man who has walked 3 hours from his village to meet her and sing in the old style used to communicate the threat of invasion to the remote villages.
Produced by Peter Meanwell.