Music of Kosovo

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Music of Kosovo
General topics
Media and performance
Music festivals
Nationalistic and patriotic songs
National anthem

Music of Kosovo [lower-alpha 1] 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.

Culture of Europe

The culture of Europe is rooted in the art, architecture, film, different types of music, literature, and philosophy that originated from the continent of Europe. European culture is largely rooted in what is often referred to as its "common cultural heritage".

Kosovo Albanians Ethnic group in the Balkans

The Albanians, also commonly called or Kosovars, Kosovo Albanians, Kosovar Albanians or Kosovan Albanians, constitute the largest ethnic group in 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.

Folk music Music of the people

Folk music includes traditional folk music and the genre that evolved from it during the 20th-century folk revival. Some types of folk music may be called world music. Traditional folk music has been defined in several ways: as music transmitted orally, music with unknown composers, or music performed by custom over a long period of time. It has been contrasted with commercial and classical styles. The term originated in the 19th century, but folk music extends beyond that.

Music of Albania

The Music of Albania is associated with the country of Albania and Albanian communities. Music has a long tradition in the country and is known for its regional diversity, from the Ghegs in the North to the Tosks in the South. It is an integral part of the national identity, strongly influenced by the country's long and turbulent history, which forced Albanians to protect their culture from their overlords by living in rural and remote mountains.

A rhapsody in music is a one-movement work that is episodic yet integrated, free-flowing in structure, featuring a range of highly contrasted moods, colour, and tonality. An air of spontaneous inspiration and a sense of improvisation make it freer in form than a set of variations.

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.

Popular music is music with wide appeal that is typically distributed to large audiences through the music industry. These forms and styles can be enjoyed and performed by people with little or no musical training. It stands in contrast to both art music and traditional or "folk" music. Art music was historically disseminated through the performances of written music, although since the beginning of the recording industry, it is also disseminated through recordings. Traditional music forms such as early blues songs or hymns were passed along orally, or to smaller, local audiences.

Classical music broad tradition of Western art music

Classical music is art music produced or rooted in the traditions of Western culture, including both liturgical (religious) and secular music. While a more precise term is also used to refer to the period from 1750 to 1820, this article is about the broad span of time from before the 6th century AD to the present day, which includes the Classical period and various other periods. The central norms of this tradition became codified between 1550 and 1900, which is known as the common-practice period.

Pop music is a genre of popular music that originated in its modern form in the United States and United Kingdom during the mid-1950s. The terms "popular music" and "pop music" are often used interchangeably, although the former describes all music that is popular and includes many diverse styles. "Pop" and "rock" were roughly synonymous terms until the late 1960s, when they became increasingly differentiated from each other.

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]

Epic poetry lengthy narrative poem, ordinarily detailing heroic deeds

An epic poem, epic, epos, or epopee is a lengthy narrative poem, ordinarily involving a time beyond living memory in which occurred the extraordinary doings of the extraordinary men and women who, in dealings with the gods or other superhuman forces, gave shape to the moral universe that their descendants, the poet and his audience, must understand to understand themselves as a people or nation.

Cultural anthropology Branch of anthropology focused on the study of cultural variation among humans

Cultural anthropology is a branch of anthropology focused on the study of cultural variation among humans. It is in contrast to social anthropology, which perceives cultural variation as a subset of the anthropological constant.

Balkans Geopolitical and cultural region of southeastern Europe

The Balkans, also known as the Balkan Peninsula, is a geographic area in southeastern Europe with various definitions and meanings, including geopolitical and historical. The region takes its name from the Balkan Mountains that stretch throughout the whole of Bulgaria from the Serbian-Bulgarian border to the Black Sea coast. The Balkan Peninsula is bordered by the Adriatic Sea on the northwest, the Ionian Sea on the southwest, the Aegean Sea in the south and southeast, and the Black Sea on the east and northeast. The northern border of the peninsula is variously defined. The highest point of the Balkans is Mount Musala, 2,925 metres (9,596 ft), in the Rila mountain range.

Traditional music

Kosovo 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.

Mandolin musical instrument in the lute family (plucked, or strummed)

A mandolin is a stringed musical instrument in the lute family and is usually plucked with a plectrum. It commonly has four courses of doubled metal strings tuned in unison, although five and six course versions also exist. The courses are normally tuned in a succession of perfect fifths. It is the soprano member of a family that includes the mandola, octave mandolin, mandocello and mandobass.


Gjurmët was an Albanian [[former new wave group from Pristina. The band lasted from 1980 until 1986 and was composed of five members, including the vocalist Migjen Kelmendi, now a journalist and publicist.

Asgjë Sikur Dielli is one of the most notable Albanian alternative rock bands.

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.

Rita Ora British singer and actress

Rita Sahatçiu Ora is an English singer, songwriter and actress. She rose to prominence in February 2012 when she featured on DJ Fresh's single "Hot Right Now", which reached number one in the UK. Her debut studio album, Ora, released in August 2012, debuted at number one in the United Kingdom. The album contained the UK number-one singles "R.I.P." and "How We Do (Party)". Ora was the artist with the most number-one singles on the UK Singles Chart in 2012, with three consecutive singles reaching the top position.

Era Istrefi Kosovo Albanian musician

Era Istrefi is a Kosovar Albanian singer and songwriter. She gained international recognition following the release of her single "BonBon" in 2016, which drew comparisons to the works of Barbadian artist Rihanna and Australian singer Sia.

Dua Lipa English singer-songwriter

Dua Lipa is an English singer and songwriter. After signing with Warner Music Group in 2015, she soon released her first single "New Love".

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 North 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 North 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 North 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, and was featured on 2018 FIFA World Cup anthem "Live It Up". 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 been recognized as an independent state by 112 out of 193 United Nations member states, while 10 states have recognized Kosovo only to later withdraw their recognition.

Related Research Articles

Chalga is a Bulgarian music genre. Chalga or pop-folk is essentially a folk-inspired dance music genre, with a blend of Bulgarian music and also primary influences from Greek, Turkish and Arabic.

Leonora Jakupi is an Albanian Kosovar singer.

Folk-pop is a music genre that falls into two categories. Either it is contemporary folk songs with large, sweeping pop arrangements, or pop songs with intimate, acoustic-based folk arrangements. Folk-pop began to evolve in the early 1960s, but it came into full force after folk rock became a sensation in the mid-'60s. Folk-pop doesn't have ringing guitars and rougher edges of folk-rock; rather it's softer, gentler, and more pop-oriented.

Serbia in the Eurovision Song Contest

Serbia has participated in the Eurovision Song Contest 12 times since making its debut in 2007. Serbia previously participated as part of Yugoslavia and as Serbia and Montenegro (2004–2006). Serbia won the contest on its debut as an Independent country in 2007, with Marija Šerifović and the song "Molitva". The country's only other top five result is Željko Joksimović's third place in 2012. Serbia's other top ten results are Jelena Tomašević's sixth-place (2008) and Bojana Stamenov's tenth (2015).

FC Prishtina association football club

Football Club Prishtina, IPA: [klubiˈ futˈbollˈistik ˈpriʃtina]), commonly known as Prishtina, is a professional football club based in Pristina, Kosovo. The club play in the Football Superleague of Kosovo, which is the top tier of football in the country.

Malësor Prenkoçaj, better known by his stage name Malësori, is a famous Albanian singer.

Flag of Kosovo flag

The flag of the Republic of Kosovo was adopted by the Assembly of Kosovo immediately following the unilateral declaration of independence of Kosovo from Serbia on 17 February 2008. The flag is the result of an international design competition, organised by the United Nations-backed Kosovo Unity Team, which attracted almost one thousand entries. The now-used design was proposed by Muhamer Ibrahimi. It shows six white stars in an arc above a golden map of Kosovo on a blue field. The stars symbolise Kosovo's six major ethnic groups.

Troja (band) band

Troja is a Kosovar heavy metal band which consists of Bujar Berisha (vocals), Florent Bajrami (guitar), Violand Shabani (drums) and Agron Ejupi (bass). The band was originally formed by Ismajl (Mak) Beqaj and Tomorr (Toma) Arifi (vocals) in 1990 in Pristina, SFR Yugoslavia. The same year Florent Bajrami (guitar) and Visar Blaku (drums) joined the band. Florent Bajrami remains the only original member of the band.

Albanian rock describes music in Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia and other Albanian-inhabited areas closely related to western rock. It has a wide variety of subgenres like pop rock, alternative rock, hard rock and metal.

Rona Nishliu Albanian singer

Rona Nishliu is an Albanian Kosovar singer and songwriter. She came to international prominence after representing Albania in the Eurovision Song Contest 2012 in Baku, Azerbaijan, where she placed fifth and achieved the best placement for Albania to date.

Tringa Hysa Albanian ballet dancer

Tringa Hysa is a Kosovar Albanian ballet dancer. In 2011 she represented Kosovo in the Eurovision Young Dancers, held in Oslo, Norway. Her dancing experience started in 2005 when she became a part of "Studio Rudina", a Ballet Course in Pristina.

Music composition and composers in Pristina refers to music composition and composers who have left their mark in Pristina. The importance of Kosovan Folklore on the different genres, their development and their popularity. As referring to genres as a categorization would not cover all compositions and composers in a fair way, a highlight of every composers work and different genres is provided because of the different genres a composers work has included throughout the years.

Tallava or Talava is a music genre originating in Kosovo, also popular in Albania and in the Albanian-speaking communities in the Republic of Macedonia. Having originated in the Roma community in Kosovo in the 1990s, it is oriental-sounding. It is becoming increasingly popular in Albania and Macedonia. 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.


  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. 1 2 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.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link), "...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.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link), "...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.