A unique project between the Albanian/Italian composer Robert Bisha and the Albanian Iso-Polyphonic Choir that mixes the Albanian reach folklore to the contemporary music and jazz. Robert Bisha is an outrageously talented pianist and composer, a genius improviser and one of the most gifted multi-instrumentalists you'll ever see. His music is contemporary, enhanced with Avant-Garde Jazz accents. He is an eclectic pianist, who the original music mixes the study, implementing the perfect technique of classical music to a contemporary harmonic research and the study of rich Albanian folklore.
Albanian Iso-Polyphonic Choir Otherworldly, complex and trance-inducing sounds manifested by the power of the human voice, carrying the emotional weight of centuries of pride, poverty and oppression; polyphonic vocal music is a living tradition in Albania and in 2005 was proclaimed a Masterpiece of the Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.
They are the most prominent representatives of the distinctive styles of southern Albania, where the drone can be sung either continuously or rhythmically against the interlacing melodies and occasional wild or mournful cries of the other voices to weave a haunting web of shape-shifting, dissonant beauty.Folk Iso-Polyphony is a form of traditional music of Albania. Most of the villages and towns have an iso-polyphony band. “Iso” refers to the drone accompanying the singing. Rendered principally by male singers, it is performed during social events (weddings, harvest feast, funerals, religious celebrations, festivals, etc.). It is practised in the south of Albania and is typical for two large areas: Toskëria and Labëria. If both Tosk and Lab polyphonic songs include ballads, historic songs, lyrical songs, etc, they perform the drone differently. The Tosks perform the drone continuously and sung on the syllable “e”, while the Labs sometimes sing the drone as a rhythmic tone. Traditionally, iso-polyphony in the southern part of Albania has been transmitted form parents to children, but large-scale migrations due to economic hardship have caused the discontinuation of this mode of transmission.
The project “Frymë" conveys Robert Bisha's, pianist and polyinstrumentalist, personal research as a composer. Bisha personalised his research taking into consideration the languages of improvisation, the harmonious rhythmic elements of modern Jazz and the composing languages of both Romantic and contemporaneous classical music. In particular his attention focuses on the folkloristic modes of both North and South Albania: experimenting mechanisms of improvisation and of a story-teller / troubadour. His works are unreleased compositions, improvised on existing songs. The cohesion of the male choral voices of the Albanian Iso-Polyphonic Choir and the language of Robert Bisha create new voiced dimensions where the piano often becomes an ensemble of many folkloristic instruments, relating with the typical pentatonic modes of the choir. Albanian soul and blues imbued with sufferings, tragedies, migration stories, erotism and pastoral life.
The Albanian choral singing, a Cultural Heritage of Unesco, is enriched of dynamics, micro harmonies and rhythms despite preserving a tonal drone characteristic of the initial Byzantine singing. Frymë, word of Albanian origin, means "Breath" and holds the same etymology of "Spirit". "Frymë", meant as the invisible point of contact between the outer and inner sides of ourselves, which connects every movement, every intention towards the other, towards sounds. Frymë, giving birth to a sound.
Robert Bisha & Albanian Iso-Polyphonic Choir
Chamber HallFilharmonia im. Mieczysława Karłowicza w Szczecinie
ul. Małopolska 48