Ardian AHMEDAJA (Wien, Austria)

Parallel Worlds in the Arbëresh Song, Mori e Bukura More (Oh, All-embellished Morea)


This song from the Albanian diaspora in Italy, called Arbëresh, is rife with homesickness for the land which the people have left and seen no more. The inspiration was most probably the exodus of the Arbëresh from the Peloponnese (Morea) in Greece to Sicily and the southern part of the Italian peninsula in 1533 after the fall of Koroni to the Ottomans. The earliest known version comes from the early 18th century. The question is therefore why this song became a symbol of the exodus instead of, let us say, those about the exodus from Albania based on other important historical events before and after Koroni.

The lyrics in the 18th century version were written down in the Greek alphabet by a priest. Priests, who were very important for the Arbëresh in resisting assimilation in Italy, accepted the Pope as the head of their church, but there was neither an official separation from the Greek Orthodox Church nor an official affiliation with the Roman Catholic Church. At the same time in Albania, the land of the ancestors, the majority of the population converted to Islam.

The first musical transcription of the song melody can be found in a study from the 1930s about Byzantine Chant by an Arbëresh priest. Furthermore, in the second half of the 20th century, Arbëresh priests initiated active connections to the old Albanian Diaspora in Greece, called Arvanites. Today, several Arvanite variants of this song are known, along with many others from Albania. Nevertheless, no research on these songs has been undertaken. Among its several parallel worlds, the interplay among those of history, religion and ethnicity are especially important and will be a particular focus in the presentation.

Ardian AHMEDAJA, Mag. art., PhD, born in Tiranë, Albania, where he studied composition and worked at the State Theatre for Opera and Ballet and at the Academy of Arts. Since 1991 he lives in Vienna. Studied composition and the theory of music at the HochschulefürMusik und darstellendeKunst Vienna. Magister Artium in 1995 on the basis of treatises on Il primo libro di capricci (1624) by Girolamo Frescobaldi and Rendering (1990) by Luciano Berio. Studied European ethnology and musicology at the University of Vienna. PhD in 1999 based on the work Zur Melodik der albanischen Volkslieder. Eine Typologie der gegischen Lieder [On the Melody of Albanian Folk Songs. A Typology of Gegë Songs]). Since 1999 researcher at the Institute for Folk Music Research and Ethnomusicology of the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna. In 2003 initiated the establishment of the Research Centre for European Multipart Music (https://www.mdw.ac.at/ive/emm). Chairperson of the ICTM Study Group on Multipart Music. Main research areas are local practices in Albania and neighboring countries, maqam, music and minorities, religious and secular musical practice, musical transcription and analysis, multipart music. Fieldwork in several Balkan and Mediterranean countries, in the European Alpine region and in the USA.

Cornelia Sabina ISPAS (Bucharest, Romania)

The Lad Who Fights with Death: Bogdan Damian Şi Sila

In either of the two genres – the heroic epos and the ballad – the narrative song is assigned a category which groups several texts that contain a fantastic, basically “miraculous” series of events which are of overriding importance. At the core of the songs lies the idea of searching for a wife to set up a monogamous family. The heroes – the future couple – are antagonistic personalities: the man, a robust, authoritarian, self-controlled knight; the woman, the very incarnation of malefic, demonic force – an aggressive, terrifying witch who must be vanquished, conquered and mastered. These two characters symbolize the struggle between two opposing elements. As is characteristic in ancient epic song, the conflict takes place only between the two protagonists: Bogdan Damian and Sâla Samodiva.

The hero’s values that make him a complex being. He becomes symbolic of a colossal being struggling under the authority of destiny. Bogdan is a typical heroic name for the Romanian royal family and he is called “twelve-year-old-child”. These children are found in epic Balkan epos and in Romanian haïduk’s songs. He rides a Lioness and uses a bridle made of two dragon tied together. Bogdan goes to the border of Sâla’s land (Sâla Samodiva is a euphemistic name for death, moarte in Romanian) and provokes her to fight. Presented as a beauty that kills, she travels in a carriage made of human bones and warns him that he will die. Defeat of the proud girl by the knight is often achieved through deception. The hero asks to see her beautiful face and, c. Convinced of her own power, she opens the window and shows her image. The hero hits her in the face and blinds her, an equivalent to castration. The hero thus becomes the master whom death must obey. Submission of the demon woman to the power of male virility symbolizes feminity dominated by destructive love. Notable parallels are the struggle between Atalanta and Milanio, who are inseparably metamorphosed into lions, and also Dighenis Akritas’s battle with Maximilla horsewoman.

Cornelia Sabina ISPAS – academician, senior researcher and director of “C. Brăiloiu” Institute of Ethnography and Folklore of the Romanian Academy, she also manages the collective of the specialists in the Folk Archives. Member of several international societies and organizations, she is also president of the Commission of Folklore of Romanian Academy and member of The Romanian Society of Ethnology, she was associate professor at the Bucharest University, University of Craiova, Private University „Hyperion” in Bucharest and Romanian-American University in Bucharest, Faculty of European Integration. She is editor-in-chief of „Revista de etnografie si folclor/Journal of Ethnography and Folklore” (Bucharest) and for „Anuarul Institutului de Etnografie si Folclor „C. Brailoiu” [Yearbook of „C. Brăiloiu” Institute of Ethnography and Folklore – in Bucharest]. She coordinates PH. D. theses in the „C. Brăiloiu” Institute of Ethnography and Folklore of Romanian Academy. She has written 15 books, hundreds of studies and some electronic books (CD- Rom). Some of them received international and national prizes. Her fields of specialization and major interests are: techniques and methodology of folk collection, structure and functions of folk archives; textual criticism of folklore; typology of folk literature; comparative studies with a special emphasis for the South-East Europe and Middle East folklore; folklore and religion relationship; folklore and contemporary societies; theory of genres with interest in ballad, fairy-tales, lyrics, Christmas carols, popular books; folklore and the globalization of cultures; folklore, expression of cultural identity; preservation of traditional culture etc. She participated in more than 60 international congresses, symposia, conferences etc.


Lirica de dragoste. Index motivic şi tipologic [La lyrique d’ amour. Index motifique et typologie]. Bucureşti: Editura Academiei R.S. România, I. (A-C), 1985, 399 p.; II (D-H), 1986, 667 p.; III (I-R), 1988, 380 p.; IV (S-Z-), 1989, 421 p., (in cooperation) [Colecţia Naţională de Folclor/ La Collection nationale de folklore].

Lirica populară de dragoste [La lyrique d’ amour]. Ediţie îngrijită, bibliografie şi index bibliografic de Sabina Ispas şi Doina Truţă. Cuvânt înainte de Sabina Ispas. Bucureşti: Editura Minerva, 1985, 300 p.

Flori dalbe de măr. Din poezia obiceiurilor de iarnă (White Flowers of an Apple Tree. Poems from Winter Time]. Bucureşti: Editura Academiei R.S. România, 1987, 190 p.

Cântecul epic-eroic românesc în context sud-est european. „Cântecele peţirii” [The Romanian Heroic Epos in South-East European Context. „The Songs of Wooing”]. Bucureşti: Editura Minerva, Colecţia Universitas, 1995, 183 p.

Sub aripa cerului. Comentarii etnologice asupra colindei şi colindatului [Under the Wing of Heaven. Ethnological Commentaries on the Carol and Carol-singing]. Constantin Brăiloiu, Colinde şi cântece de stea. Antologie de: Sabina Ispas, Mihaela Şerbănescu, Otilia Pop-Miculi. Bucureşti: Editura Enciclopedică, 1998, 302 p.

Omul Românesc [The Romanian Human Being]. Ediţie alcătuită şi îngrijită de Sabina Ispas şi Emanuel Pârvu. Bucureşti: Editura „Viitorul Românesc”, 2000, 112 p.

– Povestea cântată. Studii de etnografie şi folclor [The Song Story. Studies in Ethnography and Folklore]. Bucureşti: Editura „Viitorul Românesc”, 2001, 223 p.

Cultură orală şi informaţie transculturală [Oral Culture and Transcultural Information]. Bucureşti: Editura Academiei Române, 2003, 215 p.

– Siminoc şi Busuioc. Basme româneşti. Antologie şi postfaţă de… [Siminoc si Busuioc. Romanian Tales of Magic], Bucureşti: Editura Etnologică, 2005, 223 p.

Preminte Solomon. Legenda populară românească între canonic şi apocrif [Wise King Solomon. Romanian Popular Legend between Canonic and Apocripha]. Bucureşti: Editura Saeculum I. O., Colecţia Mythos, 2006, 285 p.

Colinda tradiţională românească. Sens şi simbol [Romanian Traditional Christmas Carol. Sense and Symbol]. Bucureşti: Editura Saeculum I. O., 2007, 198 p.

Rosturi și moravuri de odinioaară [Old Habits and Way of Living]. București: Editura Etnologică, 2012, 317 p.


Cântecul Epic Eroic. Seria Document. Arhive folclorice româneşti, editată de Institutul de Etnografie şi Folclor „C.Brăiloiu”. Antologie şi comentariu: Sabina Ispas, Mihaela Şerbănescu, Marian Lupaşcu, Bucureşti, 2001.

– Tumbe, tumbe. Cântece aromâneşti. Seria Document. Arhive folclorice româneşti, editată de Institutul de Etnografie şi Folclor „C.Brăiloiu”. Antologie şi comentariu: Sabina Ispas, Marian Lupaşcu, Iulia Wisoşenschi , CD şi studiu, Bucureşti, 2003.

Romanian Folklife, CD-ROM, Bucureşti, 1999 (in cooperation).

La Doïna élément représentatif du patrimoine culturel immatériel roumain, Ministère de la Culture et des Cultes, L’ Institut d’ ethnographie et de folklore „C. Brăiloiu”. Bucarest: Editura Video, 2007 (in cooperation).

Cultural Practices Associated to the 1st of March. Martenitsa, Martinka, Mărțișor, Ministry of Culture, Romania, „C. Brăiloiu” Institute of Ethnogtaphy and Folklore (coordonator).

Marija KLOBČAR (Ljubljana, Slovenia)

Understanding Parallel Worlds: The Mocking Song of the Townspeople of Kamnik

This paper focuses on a complex relationship between the town and the countryside, exploring the opposition and synergy of these two parallel social worlds. Based on the mocking song of the townspeople of Kamnik, the study of these worlds, conceived as an ethnological question, offers open space for folklore studies.

At the end of the 19th century, many different variants of the mocking song of Kamnik townspeople were collected from all over the Kamnik area. On the basis of these transcriptions, this song was included in the comprehensive volume of Slovenske narodne pesmi (Slovenian Folk Songs). Its classification among the mocking songs indicates the amusing role of the song itself, but at the beginning of the 20th century, some additional variants of the song with melody were transcribed, shedding light on previously unknown hidden meanings.

The changing relationship between the town and its environment brought changes in the perception of the song. Over time, the awareness of these parallel worlds vanished and, in the decades after WW II, the song which mocked the townspeople of Kamnik took on a significantly different meaning, gaining a symbolic role for the wider Kamnik area and taking in both the town and its countryside.

The question remains what these transcriptions tell us about the people who sang the song and what they tell about the people presented in it. Tracing the shifting of attitudes, the paper analyses the new role of the song and the changing relationship between the two parallel worlds as reflected in the lyrics. Furthermore, it investigates the possibilities of uncovering social contexts through song analysis and reveals how these findings redefine the relationship between ethnology and folklore studies.


Dr. Marija KLOBČAR has a PhD in ethnology and is a senior researcher and assistant professor. She began her research career as a junior researcher in the Department of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Ljubljana’s Faculty of Arts. In 1998 she started working at the ZRC SAZU Institute of Ethnomusicology in Ljubljana, where she extended her work as a textologist onto various social context issues. Her research interest include the history of folk song collecting and folk song research, the social stratification of town and village and its reflections in songs, identity and intercultural relations, ritual and soldiers’ songs, itinerant singers and their relationship with ballads, ritual praxes and mythology. Currently she is concluding ethnological and folkloristic study of a region in the central part of Slovenia.

James DEUTSCH (Washington D.C., USA)

Awakening from the Dream of Death: Parallel Worlds of Folklore in Macushla

One of the hit songs of 1911 was “Macushla,” written by Irish lyricist Josephine V. Rowe with music by Irish composer Dermot MacMurrough. What made “Macushla” so enduringly popular was the VictorCompany’s recording by John McCormack, the great Irish tenor, who not only hit an impossibly high note at the song’s end, but also conveyed such heartfelt emotion that many listeners were inescapablycaptivated by the mournfulness expressed in McCormack’s voice.

“Macushla” is not a traditional ballad itself, but rather is ballad-like in the story it tells and the imagery it evokes. Narrated in the first person by someone hearing Macushla’s “sweet voice,” the first stanza suggests a conventional love song. An unidentified man hears Macushla’s “dear pleading, ”but only“ in vain.” With the second stanza, the tone turns supernatural. Macushla is now the man’s “lost love”; her ghostly “white arms” reach out, perhaps to caress, but perhaps also to “bind” her lover. With the third and final stanza, the listener realizes that Macushla is either dead or in a deep dream-like sleep resembling death. Now it is the man who pleads: “Awaken, Macushla. Awake from your dreaming. . . . Awaken to stay.”

This paper will explore and analyze the parallel worlds of both the dead and the living expressed in “Macushla,” and will draw connections with similar parallel worlds found in Irish folk tradition.*It will also investigate the creative (and presumably deliberate) use of the name Macushla—spelled Mo Cuishle—in Clint Eastwood’s 2004 film, Million Dollar Baby, starring Hilary Swank as a boxer knocked unconscious. She languishes in a parallel world of dreamlike unconsciousness, with her white arms reaching out; but—in contrast to the often-miraculous world of the movies—there is no awakening to stay.

* See, for example, Ilana Harlow, “Creating Situations: Practical Jokes and the Revival of the Dead in Irish Tradition,” Journal of American Folklore 110 (1997): 140-68; and several of the songs collected in Patrick Weston Joyce, Old Irish Music and Songs. A Collection of 842 Irish Airs and Songs Hitherto Unpublished(1909).

James DEUTSCH is an editor and curator at two units of the Smithsonian Institution—the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage and the National Museum of African American History and Culture—where he has helped plan and develop programs and exhibitions on the Peace Corps, Hungary, China, Apollo Theater, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Mekong River, U.S. Forest Service, World War II, Silk Road, and White House workers. In addition, he serves as an adjunct professor teaching courses on American film history and American folklore in the American Studies Department at George Washington University. Deutsch has also taught American Studies classes at universities in Armenia, Belarus, Bulgaria, Germany, Kyrgyzstan, Norway, Poland, and Turkey. He has earned academic degrees from Williams College, the University of Minnesota, Emory University, and George Washington University. He has published numerous articles and encyclopedia entries on a wide range of topics relating to film and folklore.

Marjetka GOLEŽ KAUČIČ (Ljubljana, Slovenia)

»A Human is an Animal and an Animal is a Human«: Transformation from Human to Animal in Slovenian Ballad Tradition

The most famous authors on the topic of transformation from human to animal in European literature heritage were Publius Ovidius Naso (Metamorphoses) and Franz Kafka (Metamorphoses). Both of them conceptualized the parallel worlds of reality and mythology. In Slovenian ballad tradition we can trace several mythological ballads with thematised transformations from human to animal and back, as well of animal brides and grooms. Examples include: “Dekle reši v kačo ukletega kraljeviča” [Girl saves the prince that was transformed into a snake, SLP I/27],“Lovec reši ukleti sestri – košuti” [Hunter saves sisters transformed into does, SLP I/ 28], “Lovec reši ukleto dekle – zajko”/ Hunter saves girl that was turned into rabbit, SLP I/29], “Neubogljivi otroci ukleti v ptice” [Disobedient children cursed into birds, SLP I/ 31], “Neubogljiva hči ukleta v ribo”[Disobedient sister cursed into fish, SLP I/ 32]and “Zakleta princesa” [Enchanted princess ](recorded in 1999).

The author will focus on the question of the parallel worlds of an animal and a human and about the fluid boundaries between them, as they are represented in ballad stories. On the basis of analysed ballads and theoretical findings in folkloristics (Sax, Propp), psychoanalysis (Bettelheim, Jung, von Franz), critical animal studies (Francione, Best) and zoofolkloristics (Marjanić, Kõiva), the author presents the causes of mythological transformations and their images. The underlying question is whether it is possible that these mythological stories might represent the dualities of human vs. animal and nature vs. culture.

Prof. Dr. Marjetka GOLEŽ KAUČIČ is a research advisor at the Glasbenonarodopisni inštitut ZRC SAZU/Institute of Ethnomusicology Scientific Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Ljubljana, Slovenia. She studies the image of people in folk song, the role of women in certain types of folk songs, relations between folk and literary poetry, the role and significance of folk song in modern Slovenian poetry and its expressive musicality, animals in Slovenian, European and world folklore and literature (zoofolkloristics, ecocritic, critical animalistic) and the creation of folk songsand ballads. She has published widely at home and abroad. Since 2002 she has been the Vice President of the International Ballad Commission, KfV (re-elected in2012 for a third term) and from 2004–2011 a member of the SIEF presidency. In 2003 she established the postgraduade programme (module) entitled Slovene Studies – tradition and modernity in the programme Intercultural Studies – Comparative Studies of Ideas and Cultures at Scientific Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts and at University of Nova Gorica. She is now an Associated Professorand member of Senate at Research Centre Postgraduate School and teaches the course: “Slovene folk songs and literary poetry – folkloristic and intertextual viewpoints”.

Matilda BURDEN (Stellenbosch, South Africa)

The Parallel Worlds of Childhood and Adulthood: an Analysis of Selected Afrikaans Children’s Songs

According to the anthropologist Felix Keesing, Bronislaw Malinowski (1884–1942), considered the father of functionalism in the analysis of folklore, was an influential figure but with many flaws in his methodology. The main complaint regarding his work is that he put too much emphasis on the interdependence of cultural phenomena in a particular group of people, without considering the influence of historical factors in the formation of that group, or the importance of cultural distribution amongst groups. He neglected the form of culture by over-emphasising its function (Keesing 1958: 152).

When analysing examples of Afrikaans children’s songs, it becomes clear that although the abovementioned criticism of Malinowski may be applicable, the roll of functionalism in children’s songs cannot be disregarded. It is also true that, when emphasising functionalism in this genre, meaning becomes less important and the texts can easily be considered as “nonsense”. Elliot Oring, however, strongly opposes the perception that folklore is somehow inconsequential. His interpretation of the reasons for this dismissive attitude (Oring 2012: xiii) will be tested in the study of this particular group of songs. In addition, Alan Dundes’ comment that “whatever is contained in a folkloristic text is meaningful” (1983: 39) will also be judged against the texts of the selected songs. This paper will attempt to present a balanced view between children’s songs regarded as purely functional, where the texts can in some cases be regarded as “irrational nonsense”, and songs where texts clearly have meaning, and through that meaning form a parallel world to that of the adult.

The selected songs will be divided into categories according to the way in which children relate to the adult world, for example, songs in which the child appeals to the adult in situations of fear or anxiety, songs that refer to adults’ bad behaviour, songs where the child refers to the adult as provider or protector, and songs where adults, well-known as sports heroes or television personalities, are used as characters.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Matilda BURDEN is the cultural historian at the University Museum of the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa. She also fills the position of associate professor as a research fellow at the North-WestUniversity in Potchefstroom and acts as promoter for Masters and PhD-candidates. Special fields of interest are architecture, furniture and intangible culture, especially folksongs, vernacular language (Afrikaans) and South African place names. She also holds a qualification in archival science and worked previously as state archivist. At the museum she researches and designs exhibitions, and additionally present short courses and lectures all over South Africa. She also assists previously marginalised communities with the establishment of heritage centres and museums. She attended and presented papers at several national and international conferences. Publications focus on folk songs, old Cape furniture, the theory of Cultural History and Cape architecture. She serves on a number of councils and committees relating to South African culture and heritage, on national, provincial and local levels.

Ylberza HALILI (Prishtina, Kosovo)

The Parallel Worlds of Two Ballads of Migration

The folk ballad as an artistic creation aims to present life through the individual and his spiritual world. The conflict of the individual with environment and society, and his conflict with himself, with fate as a metaphysical conflict, is an omnipresent permanent feature of the ballad.

This paper aims to analyze two Albanian folk ballads: “Vijnë vaporat” (Steamers are Coming) and “Kur e përcolla ylberin” (When I said farewell to rainbow) treating in parallel their elements of motifs, structures, stylistic figures, personages, themes, etc. Their main topic is the drama of migration, which has been experienced by many Albanians in different historical periods. Albanian-language Ballads are characterized by a deep lyricism that is produced by strong emotion deriving from the sacrifice and pain of people who suffered it. The ballads reflect the historical reality of our people’s lives, but also contain a tragic element. The lyrical hero of both ballads reveals longing for those who are far away, but also the tense spiritual situation in which they find themselves. The topic is a reflection of the conditions of the time and echoes problems that have plagued all people. Finally, I will identify the elements of these ballads that are characterized by the same motif.

Ylberza HALILI born in Prishtina. She studied in parallel Albanian Literature and the English Language at the Faculty of Philology, University of Prishtina. She is currently pursuing Master studies on Albanian Literature and Folklore, while working on Master thesis titled “Albanian Graffiti as Urban Folklore”. For a period of time she worked as English Teacher in “New Age School” and worked on translation of two Drama texts from English into Albanian. From June 2013 she works as a Research Assistant at the Department of Folklore, Institute of Albanology in Prishtina. She has attended the Konitsa Summer School 2014 on Anthropology, Ethnography and Comparative Folklore of the Balkans, in Greece.

Carrie DIKE (Limerick, Ireland)

Evolving Continuity: An Exploration of the “Traditional” in the Clare Festival of Traditional Singing

This paper presents the results of a case study for my ongoing PhD research into how the social life of Irish traditional singing is evolving and how it is effectively generated and safeguarded. Through my participation in and interaction with singers attending the Clare Festival of Traditional Singing in November 2014, I noticed a dichotomy between what is considered “traditional” song, the genre allowed and expected at such festivals and sessions, and what is actually performed there. I therefore challenge the notion of tradition, illustrating what is advised versus practised: General guidelines found at traditional singing events, whether assumed or clearly stated, are interpreted by the individual. The individual sings his or her songs, which are accepted by the singing community, and the community then adapts its definition of traditional singing, leading to a constant flux in what is considered traditional.

Scholars such as Lillis Ó Laoire, Marilena Alivizatou, Susan Motherway, and Sally Sommers Smith discuss the dangers of crystalizing heritage and how to allow change within the tradition to keep heritage relevant. Lectures, concerts, and formal and informal singing sessions during the Clare Festival of Traditional Singing demonstrated a need for evolution within tradition in order to perpetuate social song gatherings. Sustained continuity of tradition is only possible when practitioners are open tochange.


Carrie DIKE is a PhD student in Ethnomusicology at the University of Limerick. She holds an MA in Ethnomusicology from UL, an MA in Music History and Literature from California State University, Fullerton, and two BAs from the University of California, Irvine in music and drama. She sang professionally in several ensembles throughout Southern California, including the highly esteemed Los Angeles Master Chorale. She performed regularly at the Los Angeles Music Center and the Hollywood Bowl. She teaches private singing lessons in Limerick and lectures on Irish song, music education, sight singing, conducting, and ethnomusicology at UL. Her PhD thesis is on Engendering and Safeguarding the Social Life of Irish Traditional Singing.

Arbnora DUSHI (Prishtina, Kosovo)

An Albanian Historical Ballad and the Parallel Existence of its Performances

In Albanian-speaking folk tradition, “The Ballad of Halit Gashi” categorized as a historical ballad because of its historical figure and the historical event that it presents. The event happened during the Ottoman occupation in the region, but the song itself has down to us in the present day and continues to be active as a musical genre and as a performance piece.

This song is part of the repertoire of folk music singers, were accompanied with folk stringed instruments such as as the sharkia or the çiftelia, but at the same time it has a public life in mass culture, performed as a genre of urban music. Both its versions, the folk one and the urban music style version, continue to exist in parallel. They continue to have their fans, but also at the same time represent different social and cultural levels that echo the different social and cultural communities of Albanian-speaking society in Kosovo and Albania.

In this paper, through comparing versions and characteristic elements of this ballad, like ex. moral codes that completes its motifs, we will try to decompose social and cultural features of Albanian speaking society, which is traditional and modern in the same time. Parallel existence of both musical types of Albanian ballad signifies coexistence of both cultural poles in Albanian society in the same time.

Dr. Arbnora DUSHI is research associate at Folklore Department of the Institute of Albanology in Prishtina, Kosovo. She has defended her Doctoral thesis on Oral Personal Narrative – as the new genre of Albanian Folkloristic at University of Prishtina, while at University of Turku (Finland) she continued her post-doctoral studies (2012). Her research focus is on the application of modern folkloristic theories and methods on researching and studying Albanian folklore. Oral history is part of her research methodology, too. She has published two monographs and a book of selected articles and is also author of the article on Albanian folklore, presented in the Encyclopedia of Folklore and Folklife, published by Greenwood Publishing Group (2006), as well as many research articles published in national and international scientific journals and conference proceedings in Kosovo, Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Finland, Germany and Latvia. She is member of SIEF and ISFNR.

Anne CAUFRIEZ (Brussels, Belgium)

The Portuguese Ballad, a Contemporary Traditional Song

The “romances” (or ballads) are still rooted in communities of use in the rural areas of Portugal, even if this memory is intimately linked to a disappearing world (agriculture using manual techniques).

The ballad is one of the very few repertoires of traditional music which has been “popular” through the centuries and which has constantly been re-approached, playing a very diversified role according to the period. It influenced an important stream of urban Portuguese song, and was taken to heart by the public, as opposed to the importation of Anglo-Saxon song. Today, this stream of urban song, as well as the Fado, coexist with the globalization of music, a globalization mostly appreciated by young people born into a society of consumption.

The paper will try to explain how the ballad, this traditional repertoire, became a national symbol of “popular” music in Portugal, and to analyze the process of re-appropriation of that repertoire and the reasons of its re-appraisal by the urban singers and composers.

The paper will be illustrated with musical examples.

Dr. Anne CAUFRIEZ is Director of Research at the Museum of Musical Instruments of Brussels. She obtained a PHD in Ethnomusicology at the EHESS of Paris (School of Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences) (1982) and a “Post-Doctoral” French degree to conduct research, at the Sorbonne (2000). She has for a considerable period of time worked in the Laboratory of Ethnomusicology at the CNRS (National Centre for Scientific Research) of the Museum of Mankind in Paris and with the Centre for Portuguese Studies of the EHESS of Paris (1987 – 1999). She is a specialist in European and Portuguese Traditional Music and has published four books on this subject and over sixty articles and four records (with original field recordings). Her books are as follows: The Bread song and the Romances of Trás-os-Montes (Le Chant du Pain et Romances du Trás-os-Montes) published in Paris by the Gulbenkian Foundation) (1998) and Water Dances (La danse des eaux) (Paris 2015) as well as Musical Instruments from the Iberian Peninsula (published by the Museum of Musical Instruments of Brussels, 1988). One of her records is part of the OCORA collection of Radio France The wheat song and the bagpipe of the shepherd (Chants du Pain et Cornemuses de berger) (1993). During the course of her career Anne Caufriez has participated in over sixty International Conferences in Ethnomusicology. She also organised ten exhibitions of musical instruments (in Paris, Brussels, Montreux-Switzerland).

Maria HERRERA SOBEK (Santa Barbara – California, USA)

Supernatural Encounters and Transformations:Crying Christ Statue and the Transformation of Soul as Dove in Two Mexican Folk Songs

In the article, “Mexican Legendry and the Rise of the Mestizo:  A Survey” (1971), Américo Paredes posits the theory that Mexican legendry is characterized by realism as opposed to the fantastic due to the rise of the mestizo (mixed-race population) coming into power in the nineteenth century.  Nevertheless, the supernatural did not disappear completely.  Two examples of the supernatural appearing in Mexican popular songs are “El Crucifijo de Piedra” [The Stone Crucifix] and “Cu-Cu-RRu-Cu-Cu Paloma” [The Coo-coo-roo-coo-coo Dove].   In the first instance, a man loses his beloved—she leaves him. The encounter takes place outside a church’s tower, at night and under a large stone crucifix. After she leaves, the man begins to cry and upon observing the man’s pain the crucifix begins to cry also.

In the second example, “Cu-Cu-RRu-Cu-Cu Paloma” a man also loses his sweetheart and is inconsolable, crying every night and suffering unbearable pain.  He eventually dies from love but his soul returns to the cottage in the form of a dove who patiently sings each morning waiting for his beloved to return.

My study incorporates Native American spiritual beliefs related to the linkages between the animate and inanimate world.  That is to say, in my analysis I incorporate the Native American belief that all matter in the universe is “alive” and exhibits a connection to all other entities.  I will underscore how the mestizo, although highly conscious of reality, nevertheless inherited belief systems from Native Americans.  In addition, I also explore appearances in contemporary society of crying sacred stone or painted images that continue to appear periodically throughout the world and offer how humanity continues to have a need for a connection to the sacred and miraculous.

Dr. María HERRERA-SOBEK is Associate Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Academic Policy and professor in the Chicana and Chicano Studies Department at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She received her doctoral degree in Hispanic Languages and Literature from UCLA and has taught at UC Irvine, Harvard and Stanford, the latter two as a visiting professor.  Her main research interests include the Mexican and Mexican American (Chicano) corrido or ballad as well as Chicano and Chicana literature.  She has published extensively in these two areas; highlighted here are her numerous books on the Mexican and Mexican American ballad:  The Bracero Experience:  Elitelore versus FolkloreThe Mexican Corrido: A Feminist AnalysisNorthward Bound: The Mexican Immigrant Experience in Ballad and Song; and Chicano Folklore: A Handbook.  She also edited a three-volume encyclopaedia on folklore:  Celebrating Latino Folklore: An Encyclopaedia of Cultural Traditions Vols. I-II-II, (2012). Theoretical frameworks incorporated in the hermeneutics of her works include feminist critical theory, postcolonial theory and decolonizing theories as well as borderlands and critical race theories.  She has been an active member of the Kommission für Volksdichtung for twenty-six years.

Lumnije KADRIU (Prishtina, Kosovo)

Parallel Worlds in the South Albanian Ballads of Nizams

Nizams were ordinary soldiers in the regular army of the Ottoman Empire who were taken from all places to mandatorily serve the empire in distant countries, such as Yemen and Arabistan.[1] As a result, a ballad subgenre was created: Ballads on Nizams.

From the Middle Ages, the Ottoman Empire led numerous periodic battles with Yemen and thus ballads were produced over a long time span. Because of the nature of absence and the long distances involved, as well as difficult environmental conditions there, men often had little possibility of returning alive. Thus, in these songs, mostly in the oldest versions from the oldest times, we see the communication of Nizams with beloved people realized metaphorically and supernaturally. This communication was not only between people in different distant countries but also of different worlds, of the dead and the living.

I include an example of how one particular old ballad is re-used by a prominent, present-day Albanian writer, in interpreting a painful contemporary phenomenon, but in this case involving women who were, in a time of crises in Albania, forced to leave the country and become prostitutes. Their “world” became very distant and difficult and most probably impossible to return from, because of social stigma and because it is considered an “underworld”.

Thus, in this paper, I will analyze a few ballads in which Nizam communicate with mother and wife, or just one of them, but also how this ballad was “translated” to a contemporary phenomenon, making possible the interconnection of time and space.

Lumnije KADRIU is an independent researcher at the Institute of Albanology, Department of Ethnology in Prishtina, Kosovo. She has earned Diploma Degree at the University of Zagreb, Faculty of Philosophy, in Ethnology and General Linguistics. She completed a Master’s Degree in Ethnology at the University of Prishtina, Faculty of Philosophy, Department of Ethnology, and currently is a PhD candidate at the University of Vienna, Department of European Ethnology. Her recent interests include the processes of globalization and transnationalism.

Ghilyana DORDZHIEVA (St. Petersburg, Russia)

Kalmyk Long Songs (Ut Dun) with the Ballad Plot

Ut Dun (long songs) should be considered as a particular system of poetic and musical norms. These songs were created for a variety of situations and can be classified as calendar, wedding, lyric, epic, buddhistic, and other.In my presentation, I will introduce long songs about Luuzng Shar/Sharv/Shuuna, using mostly my unpublished field recordings made in 1990–2001 among Kalmyks.

It is noteworthy that the sketchy melodic? outline is complemented by exhaustive and verbose explanations. The singing is focused on a very generalized description of the horse and the attire of the hero. From the text itself, we can only be sure that the hero, an orphan, is going to his mother’s relatives. Narrative texts outside the singing provide more detail, including specific geographical locations and historical events. The mystery surrounding the hero is supplemented with stories of his tragic birth among enemies who had stolen his mother, the dramatic disclosure of his secret, and his return to his true family. Some researchers considered ballad features in this group of songs in connection with historical reality, but much more significant is the presence of a dramatic conflict and relationship with the hero’s maternal side.

Ghilyana DORDZHIEVA, PHD, is an ethnomusicologist, a researcher of traditional music of Kalmyk and Western-Mongols. She focuses on collecting and studying Ut Dun (Long Songs).

In 1999-2006 she was a faculty member both at the St. Petersburg Conservatory and the St. Petersburg State University for the Art and Culture, teaching musical folklore of non-Russian minorities of the former Soviet Union. In addition to lecturing, she worked as a Senior Researcher at the Centre for Folklore and Ethnography. In 2001, she released her CD collection ‘Tsahan: Masterpieces of Kalmyk tradition music’. Dordzhieva is an author of articles on Kalmyk and Western Mongolian (Oirat) music and folklore. In 2006 she became a resident of Boston MA working as a freelance researcher and educator. Since 2010thshe has been collaborating with World Music Archive at Harvard University. She is also a depositor and annotator to EVIADA-2008 project, Bloomington, IN.

She received her MM and Candidate Degree (PhD) from the St. Petersburg conservatory (Russia). She had the doctorate course at the St. Petersburg conservatory under the scientific supervising of the eminent Russian ethnomusicologist Anatoly Mekhnetzov.

J. J. Dias MARQUES (Faro, Portugal)

Portuguese Literary Ballads about Enchanted Moorish Girls

In Portuguese oral tradition there is a group of supernatural legends about “Enchanted Moorish Girls”. These legends exist all over Portugal and in various parts of Spain, and they are related to legends existing in France and Germany at least.

In Portuguese Romantic poetry there is a number of literary ballads, by various authors, which have received very little attention from scholars so far. Nine of these are about Enchanted Moorish Girls.

In this paper, I will examine those nine literary ballads to determine the extent to which they are based on folk legends and, on the other hand, which aspects of them are due to their authors’ imagination. I will also try to answer the question of why those poets chose these particular folk legends as a theme for their poems.

Dr. J. J. Dias MARQUES since 1980 have been collecting and studying Portuguese oral literature, mainly ballads. To this genre he dedicated numerous articles and the PhD thesis (2002). Together with I. Cardigos and P. Correia, he is co-author of the Catalogue of Portuguese Folktales (“Folklore Fellows Communications”, no. 291, 2006). He is director of Centro de Estudos Ataíde Oliveira, a research centre dedicated to the study of oral literature. He is editor of the journal Estudos de Literatura Oral (“Studies on Oral Literature”) and teacher of Oral Literature, and Portuguese as a Foreign Language at the University of the Algarve (Faro).


David ATKINSON (London, England, UK)

Why Do Ballads Have Words?

The English-language ballad mostly began its life as a form of what is most conveniently described as “popular song”. For that reason, it seems not inappropriate to consider what light can be shed on ballad hermeneutics using methods borrowed from the study of popular song. In practice, this turns out to be far from simple, in part because of the huge methodological gulf that exists between the respective traditions of scholarship. This paper sets out to investigate where there is common ground and where differences nonetheless prevail.


Dr. David ATKINSON is the editor of Folk Music Journal, author of The English Traditional Ballad: Theory, Method, and Practice (2002), and co-editor of Folk Song: Tradition, Revival and Re-Creation (2004). He has published widely on Anglo-Scottish ballads and is currently a Research Fellow at the Elphinstone Institute, University of Aberdeen, engaged in the preparation of a critical edition of the James Madison Carpenter folklore collection. His research interests are in areas of ballad theory, textual editing, printed ballads, and folk song revivals. He is Executive Secretary of the Kommission für Volksdichtung (International Ballad Commission).

Olimbi VELAJ (Durrës, Albania)

Tana and Miorita: Parallel Motifs of the Albanian and Romanian Ballad

In this paper, I examine the parallels between Romanian most famous ballad, “Miorita” and an Albanian cognate ballad with its versions of South and North. In the Albanian song, communication through sound saves the shepherd, while the in the Romanian ballad shepherd requires that the sound of his flute remain even after death. Referring to the similarities and differences, as well as previous interpretations of the respective ballads, I aim to shed light on the parallel worlds of the shepherds, on their communications and on their perception of the world.

The Romanian ballad is about two shepherds who came down from the mountains, having made plans to kill their friend and to take his flock of sheep. One sheep of the herd, Miorita, who had the human attribute of speech, tells the shepherd how his friends are acting against him. The Albanian folk ballad “Tanë, moj e zeza, Tanë” shows a similarity with “Miorita” in several ways: Tana’s boyfriend, who is bound by thieves, seeks to free his hands and to use the flute, showing what happened by the sounds. A similar song is “Kajka e çobaneshës” recorded in Karaçevë e Epërme, Kosovo. Actors in the two songs are similar and the scene is similar. In the Albanian song, the shepherd resists and uses any means to counter the kidnapping. The Romanian shepherd accepts the warning of death, while the Albanian does not accept death and uses whistling to warn and to help himself; the coded language of sound saves the life of shepherd.

Dr. Olimbi VELAJ works in the Department of Literature as a lecturer in Creative Writing and World Literature of the Nineteenth Century; she is Vice Dean, Faculty of Education “Aleksandër Moisiu” University, Durrës, Albania. Velaj worked as a journalist in cultural issues from 1993 till 2008 and she is a known Albanian poet. As a journalist she has published widely in cultural heritage and folklore. During 1997-1998 she had a research fellowship in Sofia University and focused on comparative studies on Ballads of the Balkans. Her PhD topic (2012) was “The Albanian ballad in the inter-Balkan context”. Her research interests are in areas of oral based literature and poetry, ballad theory and folk songs.

Visar MUNISHI (Prishtina, Kosovo)

Melodic and Poetic Synthesis in “The Song of Rexha”

In the cultural and musical life of every nation there are many songs that are created and transmitted from generation to generation and which have survived changes of musical tastes within society during different periods of time. One of these songs, part of the Albanian folk of Kosova is “The Song of Rexha”.

The quite dramatic song is about the mother’s call to the dead boy, who dies tragically in his wedding day. This call comes from the deep and great sorrow experienced bythe mother for her dead son, and creates a tremendous thrill inthe listener. Since the plot may be considered unusual, and it is coupled with a melancholic melody, the song gives us an example of the genre with countless possibilities of scientific study treatment.

This song has been reworked and adapted several times by groups of artists belonging to different genres of music. For this paper, our attention will focus on treatment of the morphological components of the song as a melo-poetic creation in its folk form. In addition, I will try to reveal the relationship between the interpreter and the receiver, both of whom play a major role in making a unique creation.


Visar MUNISHI is scientific researcher in department of Folklore (Ethnomusicology sector) at the Institute of Albanology in Prishtina – Kosovo. As a young ethnomusicologist, he is following a master school in Albanological Research Center in Tirana, Albania. His thesis is about Albanian musical instruments in Kosovo called Çiftelia and Sharkia. Munishi is author of several scientific publishings in the field of ethnomusicology and ethnology, dealing mainly with themes related to musical instruments, fieldwork and some other ethnomusical concerns.

Gerald PORTER (Vaasa, Finland)

Singing Back: The Role of Feminism and Aeronautics in the Politicization of Irish Travelers

Referring to the song culture of nomadic metal workers (Travellers or, negatively, “tinkers”) in Ireland, Mary Burke asserts that “the ballad tradition of Ireland is arguably a Traveller art form” (2009: 211). She does not back this bold claim, but the volume, diversity and distribution of their songs certainly supports this, at least for songs in English and macaronic songs featuring words in shetla (or cant). The Travellers were a very long-established caste whose main occupation was metalwork. They later spread to Scotland and England. Since the ability to work with metals once seemed very close to magic, tinsmiths clearly had high status, which is seen today in the many songs of sexual prowess which feature them as heroes. By the end of the 19th century, however, their status had declined as a result of poverty, lack of education and repeated exclusion by the settled population. It was not until 1988 that Travellers began to be described in legislation as an ethnic group with special needs, and by 2000 they were recognised as a group with equal status, because of their shared history, culture and traditions, which included a nomadic way of life. In 2002 a separate volume of the Irish Census was devoted to them.

These changes came about as a result of the rising awareness of the Irish Traveller community and of their distinct and positive role in Irish society. In particular, like the Roma (Gypsies) they were seen as social victims rather than petty criminals. Drawing on the work of Burke and on songs collected both in Ireland and the Diaspora, this paper suggests ways in which the widespread and distinctive singing culture of the Travellers contributed to this politicisation. Drawing on the work of Emily Lyle and others, this paper examines the construction of alternative, parallel or parodic worlds in song, a practice which draws on the numerous folktales told by Travellers which show mortals flying, hearing ethereal music or encountering otherworld creatures like elves and changelings, but also relates to recent work in gender studies on resistance and identity.

Prof. Dr. Gerald PORTER is Emeritus Professor of English Literature and Culture at the University of Vaasa, Finland, and Adjunct professor at the University of Umeå, Sweden. His research interests are centred on occupational song, but he has also written extensively on vernacular songs as metaphor and as resistance, and on social issues like cannibalism, ethnic displacement and child labour (lace makers’ tells or counting rhymes). His publications include The English Occupational Song, Fragments and Meaning in Traditional Song from the Blues to the Baltic (OUP; with Mary-Ann Constantine). He has edited Riots in Literature, Beyond Ireland: Encounters Across Cultures, Imagined States, Nationalism, Utopia and Longing in Oral Cultures, and Border Crossing: Papers on Transgression in Literature and Culture.

Ylva BERGLUND PRYTZ (Oxford, England, UK), Gerald PORTER (Vaasa, Finland)

Everyone Suddenly Burst out Singing.”Contesting Reality in the First World War


Both literally and figuratively, war has always been an arena for encounters with the otherworld. From the interventions of the gods in the Trojan War to the Angels of Mons in 1914, the mythology of conflict has offered resolution in the shape of alternative realities. As if war is too materialist, it must be endowed with magic. This might be from outside (the Angels of Mons) or through the appeal to internal anxieties implied by the famous question ‘What did you do in the Great War, Daddy?’

Drawing on the work of Judith Williamson (1978) and Raymond Williams (1993) in their groundbreaking studies of representation in the twentieth century, this paper examines the ways in which contemporary songs explored alternative representations of the First World War, asserted a critical consciousness of the paradoxes and ironies involved, and also, in many cases, asked whose interests the war served. In particular, many songs and poems challenge the philosopher Thomas Hobbes’ assertion that “nature is a state of war” by appealing from the erased landscapes of the battlefield to its antithesis, untouched nature as represented by forests or poppies, but in particular to that of birds, with their traditional links with the supernatural.

This study is based on a huge international initiative to gather oral and written narratives from all the countries taking part in the 1914-18 war. It takes examples of songs from both ‘sides’ in a war in which the ideologies of each were, in fact, remarkably similar.

Prof. Dr. Gerald PORTER is Emeritus Professor of English Literature and Culture at the University of Vaasa, Finland. His research interests are centred on vernacular song culture and oral narratives. Within that field, he has specialized in street ballads (broadsides) and occupational songs.

Dr. Ylva Berglund Prytz works for Academic IT Services at the University of Oxford. She creates and curates digital resources, including archives of stories and images from the First World War. She has a particular interest in cross-disciplinary use of digital archives in research and teaching.

Thomas A. McKEAN (Aberdeen, Scotland, UK)


Variation in Source-Learner Transmission

How do songs vary when passed from one singer to another?

Much has been said around the subject of variation in folk song (Coffin-Renwick, Barry, Halpert, et al.), mostly regarding the two main areas of story change and textual variation. These studies are usually based on song cultures of a particular critical mass, from small communities to transnational song pathways (e.g., Anglo-Irish-Scottish-North-American), and focus on change and substitution across time and across the body of tradition. Moreover, these variations are usually discussed in the context of “tradition”, a free-floating body of song divorced from the individuals who actually compose, shape, change and adapt the songs (Coffin’s classic resume of variation mentions printers, publishers, scholars, authors, and even individual ballads – many ascribed a collective identity by region or place – but not a single singer, pp. 1–19).

In fact, of course, variation is the result of decisions made and sometimes re-made by individuals, during successive renditions of a ballad. The structure and performance of a singer’s version can alter dramatically over their own lifetime, as James Porter has shown (1976), but I want to concentrate on the transmission transaction itself and the accompanying professed fidelity of singers to their original sources. This paper will focus, therefore, on variation within single-family source-learner relationships to document how individual singers make songs their own even while avowing conformity to the source and asserting accuracy of reproduction. I will argue that traditionality is located in these interstices of transmission.

Dr. Thomas A. McKEAN is a general folklorist specializing in Scots and Gaelic song, along with custom and belief, and fieldwork methodology. Of particular interest is the relationship of traditional practices to the individual, the role of creativity in tradition and in how singers acquire and adapt material to their own circumstances. As part of the James Madison Carpenter Project team, McKean have catalogued and transcribed cylinder and disc recordings of North East Scottish singers made between 1929 and 1935, leading towards publication of the critical edition. The project has been funded by the British Academy and the National Endowment for the Humanities under the auspices of the American Folklore Society, and in association with the Library of Congress, Washington, DC (www.abdn.ac.uk/elphinstone/carpenter).

His postgraduate teaching includes Custom and Belief, Scots and Gaelic Song, along with Fieldwork and Archiving methodologies. He is director of the Elphinstone Institute and the president of Kommission für Volksdichtung.

Red RADOJA (Epinal, France)

La structure du vers chanté des Chansons de Preux Albanais et sa relation à la conception mythique des anciens



Les Chansons de Preux Albanais sont une des dernières traditions orales, encore vivantes, de chansons épiques longues en Europe, véhiculées par des chanteurs-instrumentistes jouant sur une vielle monocorde archaïque appelée lahuta.

Leur vers chanté présente une formule mélodique tripartite (intonation-cordes-cadence), ascendante-descendante, serpentant autour les cordes de récitation et construite généralement sur le mode plagal de ré.

Oscillant entre le parlando rubato et le giusto syllabique, lors de l’exécution, ce vers montre une certaine variabilité de césures et d’accents rythmiques mobiles. La versification des chansons gravite autour du décasyllabe, obéissant plutôt à la logique musicale qu’à une simple conception poétique.

Etant un vers prédestiné au chant et non à la récitation, il est nécessaire de le prendre en considération lors de l’interprétation musicale, sans l’amputer de toutes interjections et autres syllabes complémentaires, qui constituent des parties intégrales du texte.

Une relation, bien que cachée, au mondes mythique parallèles se fait remarquer non seulement dans l’interaction texte musique, où cette dernière tente parfois de se superposer aux différentes fonctions du conte, mais aussi dans la construction-même de la mélodie laquelle suit visiblement le schéma de la conception cosmique de la musique antique.

Dr. Red RADOJA est un ethnomusicologue, pianiste et compositeur né le 20 mai 1976 à Tirana (Albanie). Diplômé de l’Université des Arts de Tirana (piano) et de l’Université de Strasbourg (musicologie). Il s’intéresse particulièrement à l’étude des chansons épiques de tradition orale, au sujet desquelles il prépare une thèse de doctorat à l’Université de Strasbourg.

Son deuxième centre d’intérêt est l’étude de la polyphonie vocale albanaise (orale) et sa place dans l’ensemble des traditions pluri vocales du bassin méditerranéen.

Ses compositions présentent un mélange de styles, s’inspirant largement de la musique folklorique, notamment celle de son pays d’origine. Récemment il s’engage dans l’édition des transcriptions de sa collection de Chansons de Preux Albanais enregistrées sur le terrain.

Arben HOXHA, Memli KRASNIQI (Prishtina, Kosovo)

The Oath (Besa) Between Two Worlds in the Albanian Ballad of Resurrection


The Besa is a moral code that has regulated order in the traditional Albanian family and society. As such it is also present in Albanian folk ballads.

In our paper we will explore the Besa’s role in establishing the relationship between two worlds: the Immanent and the Transcendent world of human beings.

In the Resurrection Ballad ‘Lule e shtatë vllazënve’ (Flower of the seven brothers), the Besa appears as an indispensable ethical and anthropological instrument, a tool that creates the harmony between body and soul. Within the community (tribe, family), it also sets the social order, while in a cosmic context, it creates the balance between the order of the human world and that of world beyond.

Besa in the Albanian ballad of Resurrection is a moral category that derives not from the viewpoint of utilitarian ethics, but from the worldview of monistic-pantheistic ethics, which are strictly deterministic.

Through the discipline of philosophical anthropology, we will discuss the Besa in the Albanian ballad of Resurrection in the context of the ethical views of Descartes, Leibniz and Spinoza. Meanwhile, using generalization and semiotics, we will try to explain the meanings of the symbols and special signs, such as: the tomb; the bird, the horse, etc., which give meaning and function to Besa in Albanian ballad of Resurrection.

Dr. Arben HOXHA studied Albanian Literature at University of Prishtina, where has defended his Doctoral thesis: “Developing of Albanian Literary Criticism (1944-2000): epistemological concepts and models”. He was a research visitor at University of Vienna (2006), and for four years was adjunct professor at University of Gjakova (Kosovo) for the courses on Aesthetics; History of Albanian National Literature and Albanian Literature of Romanticism. Since 1996 works as scientific worker at Department of Literature in Institute of Albanology. Until now has published one monograph, two books with selected articles and is author of many articles published in scientific journals and periodicals. He has participated in some international conferences in Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria and Turkey.

Dr. Memli KRASNIQI born in Gjilan, Kosovo. Bachelor and Master Studies at Department of History of Faculty of Philosophy in Prishtina. PhD thesis titled:“Albanian Awakening Movement: British and Foreign Bible Society and Bektashism (1814-1897)”, has defended in University of Skopje in Macedonia. He has participated in several scientific meetings and round tables in the country and abroad. Currently is Head of the Department of History in the Institute of Albanology. His interests are focused on Religion and Cultural History of the Albanians in the XVIII -IXth century, history of the Balkans and the Great powers. He speaks English, Croato-Serbian.

Lidija STOJANOVIĆ LAFAZANOVSKA (Skopje, Macedonia)

Memories of Kult of Moloch in Balkan Folk Songs


The aim of this investigation is to present the child sacrifice in Balkan folk songs of the Sinful Hero and the appearance of various types of sacrificial substitutions brought in accordance with the requirements of Christian religion. The main hero of this ballad forces parents to burn and eat their own child in a form of ritual trance. After this act, the sinner falls in nine-year illness. So, it could be established a relationship with the cult of Moloch. The legal and historical sources speak about passing children to Moloch (Melkart, mlk – king) in fire. The Book of Kings speaks about passing one’s son and daughter through fire (II Kings 16:3, 17:7, 21:6. II Kings 23:10 speaks about “passing a son or daughter through fire to Moloch”.

This paper will investigate the Balkan variants of this ballad (Macedonian, Serbian, Bulgarian, Croatian, Hungarian, Romanian), as a kind of memory to primordial type of sacrifice devoted to Moloch. It could be associated with the profanization of the Tophet (the second Book of Kings, 23:10). But, it is also very important to point out the relationship of a man and religion, sin and punishment, and above all the sacred – sacrifice and violence in pagan and Christian religion (Girard, Dundes). The interaction between sin, punishment and repentance, or the metanoia, in songs about sinful heroes, may be defined as Christian morality texts.

Dr. Lidija STOJANOVICLAFAZANOVSKA born in Skopje, Macedonia, received her B.A. from the Cyril and Methodius University – Skopje, Department of World literature at the Philological Faculty (1989); M.A from the Philological Faculty at the University of Belgrade (1993), Ph. D from the Philological Faculty at the Cyril and Methodius University – Skopje (1999). In 2003 she received a postdoctoral DAAD Fellowship at the University of Hamburg, Institut für Volkskunde. During her study visit in Germany devoted to Macedonian emigration in Germany, she realized intensive fieldwork including the methods of qualitative interviews and participant observation. Since 1990 she is working at the Institute of Folklore “Marko Cepenkov” – Skopje (Department of Folk Literature). She has been a visiting professor in Bucurest, Romania, Ljubljana, Slovenia, Kiev, Ukraine, Torun, Poland. The results of her investigations have been published in Europe, USA and Asia. Since 1995 she is a member of ISFNR.

[1] Arabistan – Arabian Peninsula

Louis Peter Grijp

Singing into Death

In this paper I will focus on the role of singing at a crucial moment in human life: dying, or in the terms of this conference, the moment in which people change the normal, everyday world for the eternal, parallel world.

I will start with examples from the movement of the Dutch Anabaptists or Mennonites, many of whom were condemned to death by the Catholic town councils in the sixteenth-century Netherlands. Such an execution used to be the culmination of a stressful period of persecution, captivity, interrogation, torture, and trial. The believer had the choice to die or to recant his/her new faith. Those who chose to die were included in martyrologies and martyr songs that described their “sacrifice” in detail. The emotions of the martyrs were acknowledged as well. Many martyrs were sad to have to take their leave from family and friends, others were happy, happy that they finally could enter the heaven they had so much longed for during the terrible last months of their life, or happy because they now could publicly bear witness to their religion. Some were so happy that they burst out in singing, and some were even singing on the scaffold, to the great annoyance of the magistrate or the executioner.

The question is whether this behavior of facing death while singing is unique to Dutch Anabaptists, with their rich singing culture and from which they took courage in their difficult situation. Or is it a more universal expression belonging to the crossing from earthly life to the parallel eternal world of which people have so much expectation? Is being persecuted essential for this behavior? To find answers, we will look for examples from other religions, cultures, in other social circumstances, both from the Netherlands and elsewhere.

Prof. dr Louis Peter Grijp, researcher at Meertens Institute, P.O. Box 94264, NL-1090 GG Amsterdam, the Netherlands; professor of Dutch Song Culture at Utrecht University; artistic director of early music ensemble Camerata Trajectina; vice-president of International Ballad Conference.

Reseach fields: Dutch Song Culture, Oral Culture, Early Modern Popular Music, Lute and Cittern, Music Information Retrieval.

Sandra Joyce

Border Crossing: Parallel Worlds in Irish Traditional Song

In an Irish context, traditional song, particularly in the Irish language, is an important expression of cultural identity. Today, it is a vibrant and vital part of Irish traditional music and has been increasingly professionalized since the 1960s. It has a distinct presence in the curricula of many 3rd level institutions in Ireland, including the BA Irish Music and Dance and MA Irish Traditional Music Performance at the University of Limerick, where it is taught through a synthesis of performance and academic studies. However, the integration of this oral tradition into the university poses challenges, many of which can be related to the ideals of cultural nationalism which have been particularly influential from the late nineteenth century. These factors can be traced to the strong and continued influence of history and politics on the cultural traditions of Ireland, particularly around issues of language.

The tutors who teach traditional song practically at the University of Limerick come from diverse backgrounds, some semi-professional, some completely non-professional but highly regarded within the tradition as iconic in status, some professional and operating on different levels of engagement, from solo singing to highly arranged performances within band or even orchestral contexts. The differences in levels of engagement with traditional song that these tutors represent could be described as parallel worlds. The student, who has to work within an institutional context and timeframe where the emphasis is on the program of learning with different demands in terms of skill acquisition, grading, etc., could also be seen to operate in yet another parallel world.

Through engagement with relevant literature, as well as interviews with key stakeholders, this paper will examine how Irish traditional song pedagogy within the University of Limerick negotiates parallel worlds of student and tutor experience, academic and performance studies, as well as the reality of traditional song in its wider cultural context.

Dr. Sandra Joyce is Director of the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, University of Limerick, Ireland. The Academy has 16 programs of study, from BA to PhD level. Together with Niall Keegan and Micheal O Suilleabhain, she founded the BA Irish Music and Dance and MA Irish Traditional Music Performance at the University, and has been Course Director of both these programs. She is a traditional singer and bodhran player who has recently performed at the Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow and Farmleigh House Dublin. She is Artistic Director of the a capella female vocal ensemble, Hazelwell, which explores repertoire from the Irish and related traditions. Her research interests include the Irish song tradition, the Irish harp tradition and historical sources of Irish traditional music.


One thought on “Abstracts

  1. The above are amazing presentations planned for the International Ballad Conference! I am very much looking forward to meeting new scholars as well as saying hello to my colleagues who attend the conferences year after year such as Majetka Golez Kaucic, Joseph Harris, Tom McKean, David Atkinson, Gerald Porter, J.J. Dias Marques, and others. The abstracts summarizing the presentations sound absolutely fascinating; each and everyone of them! This will be an unforgettable conference. I thank all of the organizers, staff and students who are working so diligently in making this conference an extraordinary event.
    I will see all of you very soon and thank you all in person,
    Maria Herrera-Sobek


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s