Until recently little was known about folklore and traditions in Albania outside Albania, except maybe for neighboring countries where also Albanians live. While ensembles, musicians and singers from other Balkan countries like Greece, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and Romania, supported by their governments showed their folk costumes, music, songs , dances and rituals all over the world, the Albanian National Ensemble of Folk Songs and Dances performed mainly within their own country and concerts in befriended countries. The last years the Ensemble also took part in festivals in several countries.
From time to time some information reached the outside world at scientific congresses, at cultural exchanges with friendship organizations like the German Deutsch-Albanische Freundschaftsgesellschaft or with a few ethno musicological surveys presented on records and later on CDs, of which the Disque Cellier record is well known. Most information came from Albanians outside Albania itself: Kosovo, Macedonia, northern Greece and from refugees.
However, much effort have been done in Albania to study, collect and preserve the Albanian cultural heritage, as has been done also in other Eastern European countries.
The ethnological department of the Science Academy has documented a huge amount of traditional dances, songs, music, rituals, stories, folk dresses, architecture etcetera. The collection contains texts, drawings, photographs, musical scores, movies, textiles and artifacts. Many books on different subjects were published. The periodicals Kultura Popullore and Etnografia Shqiptare provided a continuing flow of articles on the subjects.
Now that Albania is open to the world we are able to see the enormous richness and diversity of Albanian folklore in its proper context. Not just from the Republic of Albania itself, but of all Albanians living in the Balkan peninsula and the minorities like the Aruman within the Republic of Albania.
Still part of daily life, especially in the mountainous regions; the encouragement of preserving and keeping alive the traditions by governmental organizations like the Qendra Kombëtar të Veprimtarive Folklorike, in English the National Centre for Immaterial Folklore; the great Folk Fest Kombëtar, every five years in Gjirokastër , lasting 6 days; the Ethnographical museums in every major town and the ethnological department of the Albanian Science Academy, with many specialists in the field, who presented many papers and books throughout the years. All these aspects show a deep respect of the Albanians for their traditions and the eagerness to share it with us.
In cooperation with the Qendra Kombëtar të Veprimtarive Folklorike, the Folklore Institute of the Science Academy and related individuals we like to open the dowry chest of Albanian folklore for you in every possible expression and invite you to join us exploring the richness of it.