This website is designed to make Albanian folklore in all its aspects accessible for everyone who takes interest in Albanian folklore. No matter whether the interest comes from a general interest in Albania, songs, dances or costumes, or from a scientific ethnological point of view.
It is also meant to be a platform for sharing of whatever information about Albanian folklore, from reviewed books and cd’s to concert agenda’s, from pictures to scientific papers.
Albanian in this respect means the folklore of the Albanian people, living in Albania and neighboring countries like Montenegro, Kosovo, Macedonia and Greece. The folklore of the Albanians who left their country to Italy from the 16th century onwards, called Arbëresh, has evolved in a different way through the centuries and is not taken into account in this project for the moment, although it will be very interesting to see the similarities and differences.
Considering their interaction with Albanian folklore also information on the folklore of minorities like the Aruman, Roma and Gorani people will be included.
Influences by the Turks, the Slavs, Italians and Greeks are present in Albanian folklore, and vice versa, which creates the necessity to include this subject as well. Discussions on the subject are welcome, but we try to avoid any political discussions or expressions of nationalist feelings.
In addition to information on the website we also try to realize folklore experiences in Albania by organizing folk dance seminars, round trips, festival tours and courses on music and songs. Take a look at the seminars already in progress. We also make arrangements for Albanian dance teachers, groups and/or musicians and singers to present workshops, concerts or performances outside Albania.
As initiator of this website I would like to introduce myself. My name is Cees Hillebrand.
I was born in the Netherlands and took interest in Albanian folklore during one of my visits to western Macedonia, at that time a republic of the Yugoslav federation, many years ago. As Albania was closed at that time for foreigners it was difficult to get reliable information.
Albania remained a mystery. I started to study the Albanian folklore from whatever kind of information source I could get and finally in 2004 I was able to visit the Gjirokastër festival and experience with my own eyes and ears the richness of the Albanian folklore.
I am not a professional ethnologist, but an interested amateur.
My sources are people from the National Ensemble of Folk Songs and Dances (AKKVP) in Tirana, scientists from the Academy of Science, ethnology department, and the Academy of Fine Arts in Tirana, people from the Centre for Immaterial folk culture, the Institute for Albanology at the University of Kosovo in Prishtina and many others.
They all contribute to the content of this website.
Integrity of information
As integrity of the information is vital, sources, when available, will be mentioned for further exploration. The forum offers the possibility for discussion and/or correction.