I was sitting in a local bus in Belgrade, on my way to the apartment I was staying at for two- weeks during a training last year, when someone’s phone rang, and the ringtone was the beginning of the song Bon Bon, sung by Era Istrefi, a Kosovar singer. My reaction was an instinctive one: A good feeling! I must say, this wasn’t the first time that I recognized the sympathy that people have for this singer. In the very first day of the training, I met a guy from Serbia, just when I told him where I’m from, he said ‘Oh, I love Era Istrefi’. I also heard and saw posts of her song being played in all clubs of Belgrade and met people who like songs by Flori Mumajesi from Albania. Imagine Rita Ora’s, Dua Lipa’s and Bebe Rexha’ s songs that I had chances to listen inall radio stations playing throughout the long car trip two months ago.
If I were to mention a singer from Serbia, I would say Zelko Joksimovic and his two songs that I’ve heard while watching Eurovision Contest, both of them wonderful. I especially remember the song ‘Nije ljubav stvar’, which was one of my favorite in the year he participated in the contest. I was especially interested in that edition, because Albania was represented by wonderful Rona Nishliu, who in fact is from Kosovo. Unfortunately, Kosovo can still not take part in the contest, which I find unfair!
In Eurovision, I also heard a song from Montenegro, Knez-Adio, which I like very much, also because of the video that reveals some natural beauties of the country. It is interesting that I do not appreciate this festival, however, as a platform it has allowed me to 'discover' some singers and songs from the region, which remain very much liked by me.
Since I started talking a bit about the Balkan singers, I don’t want to miss the opportunity and mention some of my favorite from Macedonia or Bosnia. From Macedonia, I will highlight Tose Proeski, by whom I like the two songs 'Pratim te' and 'Hardest thing'. I also likelso, composer Darko Dimitrov, who composed a considerable number of Albanian songs in recent years. A number of them were met with great success and awards at various festivals. In Bosnia, not just me, but many people from Kosovo, like Dino Merlin. I know more of his songs than from the others I mentioned. His concerts in Skopje are filled with Kosovars who go there to listen to his music. Although there have been rumors that he will also come to perform in Prishtina, that has not yet occurred. Let’s hope for it to happen soon!
I decided to write about artists, because I believe that music does not have boundaries and it surpasses any political barriers that might exist among people and countries. It is simple, the ear accepts a certain melody, likes it, even in cases when it does not understand almost a word. Musical noteshave broken down barriers caused by stereotypes throughout history. And while the Balkan politics continue with their millimeter progress, it is music that 'flies' across borders, beyond destructive media approaches, beyond hatred of over the years, penetrating the moments of silence of those who see beyond their nose and soul who seek individual, national and regional peace and progress.
There are only 7 musical notes, but when an artistic spirit creates sounds with them, the magic of the beautiful song is able to top the power of language and other boundaries.
Author: Migjen Krasniqi
Migjen has been involved in civil society since 2012, through working for different civil society organizations and being an advocate for different awareness campaigns.
As such, he has dedicated most of his work to the betterment of the relationship between the counties in the Balkan region where for the last 11 years he has organized events, that aim specifically this issue.
His work as an advocate for regional issues has started when he first started working for NGOs that had as focus Dealing with the Past and Reconciliation, to then continue with other regional projects that were organized by IPA an EU Project. In continuation, Migjen has worked for EcoFriend has the leader of the organization and for some time has also worked at the Italian Embassy in Kosovo. Currently, Migjen continues his passion for advocacy with his own organization called Innovative Center for Social Improvement – ICSI
Migjen has a Bachelor Degree in European Studies from the Institute of Political and European Studies in Prishtina, Kosovo. In addition, he has also been awarded as the Ambassador of Peace for the Western Balkans from a program which was held in Belgrade in 2017.
A passion that Migjen has is to travel, and until now he has organized a number of such travels around the world. Soon he will reach the 100thcity that he has visited.