Balkan Passions is a collaboration album featuring artists like Okay Temiz, Sezen Aksu, Maria Farantouri, and Fanfare Ciocarlia. The music spans geographically over Greece, Romania, Serbia, Croatia, Albania, Macedonia,Turkey. The CD stands to prove the richness and diversity of traditions of the Balkan peninsula.
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The story began with the idea of creating a concept album under the working title ‘Balkan requiem’, intended to reach completion in the mid 1990s. The choir commissioned the renowned composer Ivan Spasov to write the requiem. Albania’s writer/ambassador in Paris, Besnik Mustafej, had already written the libretto when Spasov died unexpectedly, having barely begun the composition. Unfortunately no composer was found who could further develop his work.
For the choir, however the idea of the album remained alive. In correspondence with the changes taking place in the Balkans, the project underwent various transformations. The new, more optimistic climate that followed the war inspired the choir to join other musicians of the Balkans to voice a cultural-political statement: Now the connecting element of a common Balkan culture would be given expression in a boundary-transcending work of music. The “Balkan Requiem” became the “Balkan Passions.”
The Balkan Passions, then, are a moving demonstration of this element. The ethnic groups represented everywhere in the Balkans can also be found in Bulgaria. The political borders are one thing, the cultural borders quite another. Traditional songs and melodies turn up in the different regions in a variety of different interpretations.
The repertoire of this CD comprises titles from Turkey, Romania, Serbia, Croatia, Thrace, Albania, Macedonia and Greece and was recorded by ANGELITE with the guest musicians Okay Temiz, Sezen Akzu, Maria Farantouri and Fanfare Ciocarlia.
The texts are about nature and, naturally, about love. With this album, the choir strives to preserve tradition and, what is more, to show the music of the Balkans as a texture woven of influences of the past and present.
The participation of all persons involved was inspired by the thought that culture plants the seed of understanding and brings people together — and that a few positive headlines could serve to cast new light upon the entire cultural region of the Balkans.