Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Albania! (2)

The Joyfulaires
12" x 10"
oil on wood, 2011

The second installment of the two part series named Albania! marks the end of the Top 100 2010. In part one I discussed the relative obscurity of this country and her music, and how I've only seen it flying over en route to Greece. Part two then deals with Albanian's music outside the country's borders. The first one is from Ohio, the quintessential fly-over country in the US. I mentioned the Joyfulaires in the chapter Thrift Stores and even posted their photo. I didn't mention that the two Jeffries sisters and Dianna Woodgeard in that picture are from Albany, Ohio. Now six months later I painted these Albanians after I awarded them the #100 spot in the list. "Dianna is a young married student and has dedicated her talents to God. She was a neglected child, but God sent Mr. and Mrs. Pinney, wonderful christian parents, to adopt her as their own." (—The Joyfulaires, In the Valley He Restoreth My Soul)
Dianna plays piano in the group. Karen and Bonnie are young mothers who sing. Their phone number is listed on the LP and it's for me only a local call but I won't dial it (no, I'm not passing on that number either, it's 40 years old, for heaven's sake). The second group of Albanian musicians are immigrants in the "heel of Italy". More a destination than fly-over territory (unless, of course, you're from Rome and have business in Libya, or vice-versa). The musicians are an Albanian couple who, at Easter time, go from door to door to sing songs for a little food or money. I doubt if the couple singing on the record would have an outfit like the Albanian couple in the drawing. The music was recorded by Alan Lomax in 1950s. The copy I have is from the original release of that song on Music and Song of Italy. I hate to be sarcastic (this is the last chapter of the Top 100 2010, and I already quoted from the Joyfulaires' liner notes) but I can't resist quoting Mr. Alan Lomax in this sentence that probably wasn't reprinted when the music finally, fifty years later, was released on CD. "During the 19th century the accordion, which has done such severe damage to the old folk music of Central Europe, penetrated every region of Italy."

Since I installed the first part of Albania! I have met for first time real Albanians. They were running a Pizzeria on 6th Avenue (NYC) and were very pleasant and nice people. (Everybody would agree, I think, that the first impression you get from meeting somebody from a different country determines how you feel about a whole nation. Viva Albania!)
Albanian couple
11" x 8.5"
ink on paper, 2011

No comments:

Post a Comment