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date: 20 February 2020

Kângë kreshnikëshlocked

  • Bledar Kondi


Genre of epic songs in northern Albania and Kosovo sung to the accompaniment of the lahutë, a one-string bowed instrument. Kreshnik derives from Serbo-Croatian krajišnik, a ‘frontier warrior’ and it signifies a ‘noble hero’ in Albanian cultural context. These borderland songs are generally known as songs of Muji and Halil, both sons of a Turkish knight praised by Albanian mountain dwellers as heroes of resistance against south-Slavic expansion. Field recordings by M. Parry and A. Lord in Bosnia and Albania (1934–7) comprise full epic songs performed by bilingual male singers in the Albanian and Serbo-Croatian languages. Some scholars argue that north-Albanian rhapsodists have adopted the Bosnian heroic cycle of krajishnice together with the Serbo-Croatian decasyllabic meter, the deseterac, but the majority does not contest the authenticity of Albanian repertory. Unlike kangë trimash (songs of valiant men), which describe real persons and extol their deeds in national liberation, social revolt, blood feud, or banditry, ...

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