Meet Albulena Jashari

Albulena Jashari, Lena, is the first of many Albulenas (yep, that’s plural) that I’ve come across in Kosovo. We met a few days after I arrived at a local hangout called Tingle-tangle: a tiny, colorful, albeit smokey cafe with simple, vintage decor, indie music blaring, and Basquiat-like-inspired pictures on the walls, presumably done by hand, probably by a collective of people. I was a fan of Jashari’s music before I came to Kosovo and had been meaning to get in touch with her. Our meeting happened serendipitously instead, which seems to be the case more often than not here. We have been friends since. I’m not sure Lena knows this, but she’s totally a local hipster. She shops at thrift stores and loves indie fashion and music. She’s sweet, thoughtful, intelligent and all about supporting, collaborating with, and creating solidarity amongst female artists. I think this is fantastic since women are often pitted against one another as competitors in the music industry. Lena writes her own music and text with support from family and friends. This is what she had to say about her love of music, performing, and the challenges of being an indie artist in Kosovo.

This is Jashari performing “Naten e Mir (Goodnight)”, with bandmates Faruk Banjska, Sezgin Curi, and Granit Pacarada, live for a small crowd in Prishtina.

Text for Naten e Mir (as interpreted by yours truly – the other Albulena)

Tonight, around town
looking at all the people
just sitting there, still
listening to the same
song

There is an empty space for you
missing you
in this cold
dryness …

I am not alone when I dream
that you are with me

Chorus
I will try
away from here
maybe I’ll find a different road

The joy that you gave me
left with you in the end

Goodnight you said
when I was still young
now that it’s too late [for you]
I’ll move on with someone new

Every day waiting around
to see if you’ll hang out
If you only knew
I can’t do it anymore

that day when the rain caught me
on the road where we met

Wait a minute
I thought
I fell in love
again

Chorus x2

You can follow Albulena Jashari on soundcloud.

12 thoughts on “Meet Albulena Jashari

  1. She’s got a lot of soul in her voice. She reminded me of an old song I heard called “what you can do in your life” by a band called Petalouda, funky soul music. It’s nice to see and hear good music coming from people around the world. Thanks Albulena(s)!!

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  2. Yes, Albulena absolutely has a lot of soul! I’ve never heard of Petalouda. I’ll have to check that out! Thanks for the comments Garrett and Ardita.

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  3. I must echo everyone before me – Albulena Jashari sounds like an awesome person and singer!

    She definitely made a lot of interesting points. Commercial music, by definition, will always be music that is not necessarily “of value” (however you definite it), but simply what is selling or has the most views on youtube. In terms of “value”, I thought her comment on Tallava music was interesting. I’ll preface my comments with the fact that I also don’t like Tallava music. But, on one hand, Albulena is right that Tallava music may very well be a commercial success in Kosovo. But, at the same time, it is also what brings people together at weddings, what makes people dance and sing their hearts out. In fact, Tallava singers may be doing their job “with their whole spirits” as she says many authentic artists do. So, perhaps for many, this also gives Tallava music “value”. Defining value in music is very difficult and that’s what made your follow-up question great. She caught herself trying to pinpoint what really give music its value and realized that it is different for everyone.

    All in all, awesome post! It made me think!

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  4. Which kind of Tallava is she speaking about. I looked some up and came across the really traditional stuff and then some really diluted techno. I’m asuming she’s just sick of the crappy techno. Are there many soul or funk Bands in Kosovo?

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  5. Thank you for the insightful comment Ilirjan:) Garrett, yes I think there are some bands that incorporate soul and funk in their shows, though I’m not sure how well known they are. There’s a new cover band called Hurmet that seems to do a bit this, sometimes groups like Offkestra and ZigZag Orchestra do this too. Also a band called Gypsy Groove. Some of the same members that play with Jashari are in the same bands.

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  6. Your comment that Jashari is “all about supporting, collaborating with, and creating solidarity amongst female artists” stuck out to me because I attended a concert featuring 8 all-female bands today, which benefited a local reproductive right organization. I met and talked with the organizer – a very passionate young woman – who spoke about how the Austin music community supports and takes seriously women artists and about the great experience she had working with these bands to put on this show. I wish both of you Albulenas well in cultivating this community in Kosovo – because amazing things can happen when women work together.

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  7. Thank you for sharing Meghan! What a positive and inspirational experience! I think women here are well on their way towards creating that type of solidarity in the music scene too, though I’m already quite impressed with the women’s movement in general. And yes, I absolutely agree that “amazing things can happen when women work together!” :)

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