As singing boomed among the apartment buildings of Albania’s seaside town of Durres, families took to their wrought-iron balconies, clapped in the windows and danced on the rooftops.
The group of singers serenading the port of Durres are among the only people in Albania given special dispensation to venture outside during lockdown hours.
Each evening before sunset they go to a different neighbourhood in Albania’s main port city, accompanied by a police escort and loudspeakers, to perform an impromptu concert to families shut inside the surrounding apartment buildings.
Tuesday evening’s concert, the fifth so far, lasted 90 minutes, with singers mostly wearing face masks, taking turns belting out traditional songs into a microphone wrapped in plastic. Residents clapped their hands in rubber gloves. A few bent the rules to venture out and dance on the street near their doorsteps.
They described the musical interlude as a blessing for a city which is enduring one of Europe’s strictest coronavirus lockdowns while still bearing the scars from an earthquake that killed 24 people less than five months ago.
“Wonderful, I forgot all my anxieties,” said Aishe, 60. She danced with a gleam in her eyes, holding up her phone to show the concert live to her son who is sheltering in neighbouring Kosovo because the quake made his house in Durres uninhabitable.