Performing Nostalgia: Migration Culture and Creativity in South Albania

1st Edition

Eckehard Pistrick

Published August 28, 2015
Reference - 266 Pages
ISBN 9781472449535 - CAT# Y255605
Series: SOAS Studies in Music Series

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Migration studies is an area of increasing significance in musicology as in other disciplines. How do migrants express and imagine themselves through musical practice? How does music help them to construct social imaginaries and to cope with longings and belongings? In this study of migration music in postsocialist Albania, Eckehard Pistrick identifies links between sound, space, emotionality and mobility in performance, provides new insights into the controversial relationship between sound and migration, and sheds light on the cultural effects of migration processes. Central to Pistrick’s approach is the essential role of emotionality for musical creativity which is highlighted throughout the volume: pain and longing are discussed not as a traumatising end point, but as a driving force for human action and as a source for cultural creativity. In addition, the study provides a fascinating overview about the current state of a rarely documented vocal tradition in Europe that is a part of the mosaic of Mediterranean singing traditions. It refers to the challenges imposed onto this practice by heritage politics, the dynamics of retraditionalisation and musical globalisation. In this sense the book constitutes an important study to the dynamics of postsocialism as seen from a musicological perspective.


Winner of the 2017 Stavro Skendi Book Prize for Achievement in Albanian Studies, Society for Albanian Studies

Dr. Pistrick's book, in the committee's judgment, impressively connects ethnomusicology, anthropology and migration studies. Linking sound with space and emotionality, it offers a new understanding of the role of the oral tradition within Albanian communities, in particular its ability to deal creatively with painful experiences and the realities of migration.

Association for Slavic, East European & Eurasian Studies

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