West Coast Symphony Orchestra

Music has no language. Therefore, when West Coast Symphony Orchestra’s thirty-four members played in a concert in Albania, the group did not require any translator as their instruments did all the talking. The musicians of the Orchestra come from Lower Mainland and it is conducted by New Westminster’s Bujar Llapaj. The band embarks on a 2 weeks goodwill tour of Macedonia and Albania, dealing camaraderie of music with six concerts. They would also arrange classes for young musicians.

This is actually a kind of homecoming for violinist Lindita Musaraj, who left Albania 9 years ago. Musaraj told that everyone shares music in the same way. He can communicate perfectly with anyone with his music.

This Orchestra is not a professional one. Several members of its group earn their livelihood by teaching music or as a freelance music player. Some of them are also doctors and teachers and they also have a longshoreman as well as a judge of the Supreme Court. Jim DeFina, a member of that group, said that they do it for the love of music. Their goal is to present high-quality events at a low cost. People can attend all 14 events for free of cost or by donation to back their costs. In their preparation for this tour, the group is using their very own instruments collections as well as getting used instruments from rental events and those instruments will be donated to the brand new music school started in Antigone (which is Llapaj’s home village), in southern Albania.

Walking in the Mountains of Albania

Like several minor routes in Albania, the road from Shkodër, the northern city to the close mountains is not macadamized, as our van blows along, it adds to the beclouds of white dust which settles on all the things in view. We pass several old Mercedes, many horses, and carts, as well as bicycling men wearing featured shades and hats. Many roadside buildings are only half-built or falling apart, but seedy cafes, as well as petrol stations, are making nice business, alongside homes painted in shiny colors – aquamarine, lime green, lavender, and peach.

After that, we went to some low-lying domes made of concrete. During the communist rule that ended in the year 1990, it is counted that over 500000 of these bunkers were made in Albania. Our guide told us that their dictator made them so that people think that other countries would attack us and they would stop thinking about the state as well as the problems. That period of extreme closing off has long gone, but Albania stays a closed book to several: till recently Albanians required visas to go to most European nations, and the nation has had comparatively few foreign travelers. The group crushed into the ten-seater buses letting in a banker, a television executive as well as a supply teacher. What unites all of us is a hope to know more about this country. I could tell it was the relish of hiking, even though my sake in mountain walks has so far been fully theoretical. I am depending on raw exuberance to look at me for 5 full days on paths under a September sun.

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