by Admin

Joy in Motion: Rina Kaçinari and Jörg Mikula at Femart

I had forgotten about “Kur Hana Del” (When the Moon Rises) – a traditional Albanian song about love, longing and loss:

“When the moon rises and shines,
Our two hearts are united.
Oh my soul oh my light how I love you
Although you’ve forgotten me.

The one I loved the most,
Left me as I slept.
Oh my soul oh my light how I love you
Although you’ve forgotten me.

My heart cries, cries and mourns,
For the one I love.
Miserable me, how strongly I love you
Although you’re not with me.”

You can search for “Kur Hana Del” on Youtube and be exposed to all sorts of “fast food” versions of the song. Cellist Rina Kaçinari’s interpretation, played during a cloudy evening in the middle of Prishtina’s cavernous National Library is full of soul and darkness (not a bad kind of darkness – the kind that’s just as beautiful as happiness and joy). I can’t explain it any better than that, you’ll have to listen to it yourself here:

Kaçinari explains to the audience that she used to sing “Kur Hana Del” with her father (one of Kosovo’s first classical music composers and educators, Mark Kaçinari), who passed away in 1985.

Kaçinari has spent almost thirty years away from Kosovo. She left as a teenager to study the cello, first in Zagreb, then in Vienna, where she is currently based. Most may recognize her name from Catch-Pop String-Strong, an award winning musical duo consisting of Kaçinari and Serbian viola player Jelena Popržan. Kaçinari and Popržan’s pieces consist of wide-ranging, genre-bending compositions that incorporate Balkan folk songs, funk, jazz, and pop.

At Femart, Kaçinari performed with drummer and long time collaborator Jörg Mikula. The performance starts with a haunting rendition of “N’sabah” (Albanian: “In the Morning”), a composition by Kaçinari written based on her experiences of Vienna in the morning. “N’sabah” may be about Vienna, but it definitely doesn’t feel Viennese – it feels like very familiar in its folk-like melodies. The pieces that follow are about imaginary mouflons, a reclamation of funk for the strings (“all guitarists can play music that doesn’t really exist for us string musicians, like funk” – Kaçinari), a drum-heavy piece dedicated to Anton Fig, an Albanian ballad called “Pa Ty” (Without You), and a piece chronicling Kaçinari’s journey away from Kosovo at the age of fifteen.

Rina Kaçinari and Jörg Mikula at the Femart Festival. Photographer: Majlinda Hoxha

Kaçinari provides soul with the cello and her voice, while Mikula makes the audience tap their feet and clap their hands. They offer the perfection and skill of classical performance, but with the earthy elements and story-telling of folk and popular music.

The concert closed with Kaçinari’s song for her daughter – an uplifting piece with folksy Albanian lyrics like “Oh e kam një qikë, është si mrekulli…ështe ma e mira, buzët si qershi.” (Oh I have a daughter, she is a marvel…she is the best, with lips like cherries) She can’t help but smile while singing about her daughter, and I can’t help but be infected by her joy. From light to darkness and back again – isn’t that we want to experience every time we attend a concert?

Rina Kaçinari and Jörg Mikula at the Femart Festival. Photographer: Majlinda Hoxha

Check out Kaçinari and Mikula’s Facebook page for upcoming performances.

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