An Albanian iso-polyphonic Choir

An Albanian iso-polyphonic Choir

Albania was represented yesterday at the opening of the Architecture Biennale of Venice, in an innovative way.

Instead of presenting visual art, Albania will showcase iso-polyphony music sung by four folk groups using lyrics written by Albanians and other international personalities.

The organizers months ago asked 10 personalities – poets, writers, architects and artists – all of whom have experience of migration – to write lyrics about migration – the central topic of the Albanian pavilion during the six months of the biennale.

Simon Battisti, Leah Whitman-Salkin, and design collective Åbäke have been selected to represent Albania with their project entitled, “I Have Left You the Mountain.” The project was selected from an open call for proposals from the Albanian Ministry of Culture that was held last year.

I Have Left You the Mountain seeks to “evoke places and loss through polifonic singing, or multi part lyric,” and to display a theme of displacement and migration, both of which have been prevalent in Albanian history, and recent European events. Through minimalism, the Pavilion will encourage people to think, and fill the space with personal memories, silence, and music. The program additionally includes performances, lectures, a book, and a record on displacement and migration.

The songs during the biennale will be played by a record player that is going to play simultaneously on eight channels, to fully give listeners a taste of Albanian traditional iso-polyphony, a unique singing tradition which included in UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage list.

The Albanian pavilion opens on Thursday and will remain open for the next six months.

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