Tirana, 18 May 2015/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Edison Kurani
The National Folk Festival “Argjiro FestON2015” has come to an end. This festival was organized in the castle of Argjiro in Gjirokastra. This event of the Albanian authentic music saw the participation of traditional musical groups from the entire country and also from Kosovo, FYROM and Montenegro.
The big awards of the festival went to Tirana, Korca and Berat, and also in Montenegro and FYROM.
A week of culture preserved throughout the centuries
For a week in a row, folk ensembles and artists from all of Albanian speaking lands, performed in the stage of the Gjirokaster folk festivals. This time, the festival had been perceived to go on non stop for 7 days with the presentation of different musical groups. In total there were 1500 participants and among them were Arberesh from Italy and USA and also from several EU countries and Turkey and Switzerland.
An important place in this festival was also occupied by the Greek minority and several other minorities in Albania.
At the end of the activity, the jury awarded the big prize to the County of Tirana. The two second prizes were given for the groups of Berat and Korca and the third prizes were awarded to the group from Montenegro and FYROM.
Awards were also given for the oldest folk text, best costumes, the best dance. Special guests on the final night were prominent names of Albanian music such as Rona Nishliu, Merita Halili, Raif Hyseni, Eli Fara, Gezim Nika, Petrit Lulo, Olen Cezari.
The special guest of this evening was the 105 year old rhapsody artist Gjok Nonaj.
For PM Edi Rama, the diversity that was seen in the festival is an important value. “This exchange between people and communities, cultures and traditions is the true face of the Balkan”, Mr. Rama says.
Minister of Culture, Mirela Kumbaro says that 7500 people who love folk, were engaged in this festival. She considers the festival as a great moment for non material heritage, which not only must be preserved as an institution, but it also must be strong and alive in order to be inherited through generations.
An effort to preserve values
During the five decades of the communist regime, Gjirokastra National Folk Festival used to be held every 5 years and it was an event that the state deemed as very important.
In these 25 years of democracy, this festival lost its former glory. Some efforts had been made to keep it alive, but they were very small.
This year, the festival was organized better.
The holding of the National Folk Festival, aims at protecting, preserving and propagating the best values of non material heritage, ethno-musical, ethno-graphical and ethno-chorographical values, folk costumes, musical instruments, rituals, traditions, crafts, culinary, etc, created throughout the centuries by the Albanian pople.
Cataloging of national values
Ministry of Culture says that it wants to protect, study, spread and digitalize cultural heritage. For several months, the ministry worked to create a data base for all cultural and artistic groups, rhapsodists and artists of folklore.
The cataloging made so far shows that on a national level, there are 80 cultural-artistic groups, 75 folk ensembles, 36 folk rhapsodists, 34 folk orchestras and 20 artisans who make folk costumes.
This data base has helped in determining the state of folk costumes, because there have been cases of deformation, degrading and abuses and also amateurism in their presentation on the stage. /ibna/