Lela family (Alb. Familja Lela)
- Nicholas Tochka
(Alb. Familja Lela)
Family of Romani musicians from the south-eastern Albanian city of Përmet. The group performs the traditional polyphonic repertory of the saze ensemble. The family’s patriarch, Mania Lela (1902–82), was a noted folk singer who moved the family from Përmet to Tirana in 1940 in order to pursue his musical career. Saze ensembles typically perform an Albanian-language repertory at weddings and other important life events throughout southern Albanian towns and large villages. Ensembles include clarinet, violin, accordion, def (frame drum), and vocalists. Mani Lela’s sons performed on these instruments and sang in their family group, gaining fame for their large repertory and musicality. His oldest son, Remzi Lela (1937–95), nicknamed ‘Çobani’ (‘Shepherd’) led the younger generation. He was especially noted as a virtuosic clarinettist. Since the end of socialism, the group has achieved substantial international success in the world music market recording traditional songs from central and southern Albania and touring throughout Europe....