Saturday, December 8, 2012

Albanian clarinettists

Laver Bariu   
12" x 12"
oil on luan, 2012
Laver Bariu (b. 1929) is a virtuoso Albanian clarinet player who is, despite his old age, still active today (as far as I can tell, I hope I'm right). There are a few videos of him performing on line, so you can check out some of his wonderful music. In the context here he's only a stand-in for his fellow clarinettist and compatriot Ajdin Asllan of whom I could find find no available image on line. Asllan was born in 1895, recorded in Albania before moving to the United States where he started a record label featuring Balkan music including some of his own. He died in 1976. I found Valle Devollice on Excavated Shellac, a site that is an authority when it comes to early recordings from 78s. The tune is a duet of Asllan's clarinet and the traditional Albanian llaute, recorded circa 1930. There is actually a lot of information concerning this obscure Albanian 78 record but rather than poorly paraphrasing I'll direct you to the source here in the words of master excavator Jonathan Ward.

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