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Mikaela Minga

( b Leskovik, Kolonjë, Albania, ? 1885; d Istanbul, Turkey, ? 1965). Albanian singer of Romani origins . Both her father and brother were saze musicians, a typical ensemble in south Albania, consisting usually of a clarinet, violin, laouto, baglama, and frame drum. Her activity is primarily related to her birthplace, Leskovik, considered a core place for saze performance in the first half of the 20th century. She sang and played the violin with the group. The performances with her brother Selim Leskoviku (singer and clarinettist), recorded for the Odeon label’s 78 rpm recordings, are well known. Their two-part singing is based on the multipart singing practices characteristic of the rural areas of south-eastern Albania. Their saze group was family based. They had their own tavern but were also hired to play in different places nearby. Leskoviku has been described as having a very large vocal range, of up to three octaves. It has been said that she used to dress like a man and cut her hair short, attitudes that attributed her a special status among the ...

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Mikaela Minga

[Qerime Baki]

(b Korça, Albania, 1898?; d Korça, 1968). Singer and dajre (frame drum) player . Qerimeja performed in the city of Korça from the early 1920s up to the early 1960s. A Roma musician, whose voice ranged between mezzosoprano and alto registers, she was hired to play and sing for female guests for wedding celebrations and in local festivities. She performed women’s songs and love songs, both solo and with saze accompaniment, a typical musical ensemble of her time, usually consisting of clarinet, violin, laouto, baglama, and frame drum. These performances made her popular in the musical life of the city. In the early 1930s her saze renderings of traditional songs from the area were recorded by His Master’s Voice. Qerimeja’s descendants have been musicians as well. The most acclaimed was her grandson, Novruz Nure-Lulushi (1954–90). He played different instruments including accordion, dajre, kaval, and laouto, but was best recognized as a clarinet performer (...