Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Winner Is....

The two singer...... The costumes of most of the girls are Merdita since in days of old this town was in the Merdita region - now south of us. Under communism the Puke region was created. But a few of the girls were the Has dress. Some people have come from villages in that region which is east of us. I will note that it is very hot and they danced about 12:30 on a hot, sunny day!!!

Standing with one of the
dancers, her mom and sister. Mom was very proud of her and asked me to take pictures.

Boys are holding the banner in front of the school. ALL WERE SO VERY HAPPY. Everyone was hugging and loud shouts from joy!!

Banners advertising the competition....Still on the wall of the school.

Posted by Picasa

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Another 'colorful dress' with the boys in white.....I loved their dance - steps had a memory for me of Irish and Scottish Dances.....

Another beautiful dance

Posted by Picasa


the presenters - one in Merdita and the other in Has costumes. They are with one of the coordinators of the festival. He stopped what they were doing for their foto opportunity!!!
Merdita group is amazing and musically so outstanding. ALL THE BELLS AND WHISTLES. This was a classical Russian piece...even I knew it!!!
Dancing is not limited to the performers. There is Dancing in the Streets...

At the end of the evening the star performer who grew up in Fushe-Arrez, the blond directs the singing and dancing. the school librian whose husband is an organizer, the tallest is an English teacher and the other woman was a judge who has written a lot of local music and catelogued the traditional music......GREAT GROUP OF WOMEN!!!!
Posted by Picasa

The entertainment

This young man's grandfather was the best ever in the country. While I understand that his father is also very good....I am thinking that he may be challenging his grandfather. I mistakenly thought that he is Roma, because of the color of his skin - I was told NO.....that is such an insult in this country. They do not even count as citizens and children are not schooled!!! OOPS, Margaret

Boys do not dance in our town...WHY, I asked - as you can see many of the boys are quite good and have their own style!!!
I loved these dresses - white with different colors......
and not all dresses are white.....loved the black and white swirls.....
Posted by Picasa

The Parade at the beginning

These three boys represent Tropoja. Sadly, the US Embassy still does not allow PCV or their US employees to visit because of blood-feuds. Though, most from my region say that these have generally stopped.
Gramsh is like Fushe-Arrez and was created by the communist government. They are not far from my training site south of Elbasan. Again, a variety of costumes by region.
Here is a glimpse of the parade down the street to the stage. Some groups are small while others are very large.
On the stage you can see that Albania is not out of a cookie-cutter. The dances, songs and music had a commonality, but some stong difference. I especially liked the girl who played the drum....don't think that was the tradition!!!
Posted by Picasa

The First Evening of the Festival

As with all festivals, people from the region came with crafts. Local women were selling table clothes and jewelry. From nearby villages women came with the traditional clothes of area. One person brought a collection of musical instruments. And a group from Kosovo came with various items. During there problems with Serbia, they have been refugees here and received aid .

The students of the community come to welcome all. Included in this was the mayor and other important people of the region. The judges were also introduced. While all of these performers showed different dances tonight. When the competition begins only 6 girls will dance and two will sing. But for tonight, I enjoyed seeing all part of the festival.

There are not only children representing their communities, local performers join in the celebration. Sadly, I had to ask about each singer. Many grew up nearby and now live elsewhere. I think this is also a highlight for those attending. A free concert from professionals adds to the delight.

From Macedonia was a group that I think really are professional. Loved the costumes. And the performance said much the traditions of dating long ago in the area around Lake Ohrid.
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Children's Festival preparation

The town is preparing for the Festival. I learned that last year they had balloons in the center of town which all burst. Leasons Learned!
I only wish they had more such events. People are out giving paint touch-ups throughout the town. Putting on their best face is always wonderful. People will be arriving from throughout Albania and neighboring countries. ALSO Puke TV will be recording this for all in the area to see. Last year, before I arrived there was an interview and a show of the event on the Major Television station.
The musicians are warming up on the steps of the school. Many people in the town came to listen during the practice. The man in the center is the head of the program.
People started arriving in the afternoon. All are greated in the school with drinks and food after their trip. Someone said 'cocktails', well not really was my response. However, when I went up I saw that indeed for the adults that came with the children - yes, you can have a cocktail!! Drinking in Albania is VERY DIFFERENT from the US!!!
Posted by Picasa