Cultural Activities

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National Festival of Folklore

This is the most important event on folklore in Albania. It is organized in Gjirokastra Castle every four years. All Albanian folklore groups participate together with Albanian groups from Kosova, Montenegro, Macedonia the arbëresh of Italy, Turkey, the United States, Greece and other countries. Folklore groups from other countries as well as international guests participate as well.

"National Typology Festival of Saze and Folk Orchestras", Korça
Saze (Albanian traditional clarinet) music is played throughout southern Albania and especially in urban centers such as Korça, Vlora, Pogradeci, Përmeti, Berati, Leskoviku,etc.

"National Festival of Rhapsodists and Folk Instrument Players", Lezha
This festival showcases rhapsodists from Northern Albania. It is the only event that is wholly dedicated to rhapsodists and bards who interpret their songs with instruments such as lahuta, (a very special instrument with only one wire ) çifteli and sharki.

"National Festival of Urban Folk Songs", Elbasan
This festival is organized every March as a tribune of folk songs from Albanian urban centers where inherited traditional music has been revised through more modern methods of orchestration and interpretation. The resulting sounds and rhythms are therefore more fresh and dynamic and require less of an acquired taste for Albanian folk.
The Festival is organized on the first day of spring which is a traditional celebration in Elbasan. Every group competes by representing the music of its particular region. The festival also helps promote the most talented young singers and players of Albanian urban folk music.

"National Festival of Iso-Polyphony", Vlora
The National Typological Festival of Iso-Polyphony is a powerful promoter of one of the most original strands in Albanian folk music iso-polyphony. The festival not only helps promote iso-polyphony in areas beyond its immediate reach, but it also helps the regions where iso-polyphony is a tradition to maintain and further develop this wonderful type of singing.
On 25 November 2005, UNESCO declared Albanian Iso-Polyphony "Masterpiece of the Oral Inheritance of Human Kind".

"National Festival of Folk Instruments", Gjirokastra
This is a multicultural event where besides the festival showcasing folk music instruments in Gjirokastra Castle, fairs, book promotions, seminars and other events are organized in Gjirokastra's historical center. The event promotes cultural tourism and local business in the city.

"International Festival Multicultural Përmet", Përmet
This is the only international festival of ethnic, cultural and linguistic minority in Albania under the patronage of CIOFF, an international organization that promotes folklore. The Albanian CIOFF branch is located in Përmet. This event is a great asset to Albanian folklore as it helps promote it in the international stage.
Përmet was selected to hold a festival for minorities because in this setting a number of cultural traditions from different minorities coexist with each other. Moreover, it is the city where masters of Albanian folk such as Laver Bariu, Mentor Xhemali, Remzi Lela, etc., were born.
Beside the festival, a number of other activities such as symposiums, shows and book promotions are organized in the town. By showcasing the musical traditions of minorities, the festival promotes peace and understanding between ethnic groups of the region.

Folklore Festival "Sofra Dardane", Tropoja
The festival aims to promote research, preservation and enrichment of Northern Albanian and Kosovo folklore and ethnography. The two are grouped together because the cultural foundation of both regions is one and the same.
The competition is held in the town's main square and in the beautiful Valbona valley thus combining tradition, music and nature.

Festival "Oda Dibrane", Peshkopi
Although "OdaDibrane" started only in 1994, now it has become a tradition of humorous dances and songs. The festival brings under one roof Albanian artists from throughout the world. Ancient rites, allegory and comedy are all showcased here at the accompaniment of traditional music instruments. Parallel to the festival, a number of other shows such as photography exhibitions, painting exhibitions and others are organized.