songs of the frontier warriors

Songs of the Frontier Warriors: An Amazing Heritage from North Albania

Songs of the Frontier Warriors (Eposi i Kreshnikëve), a cycle of songs with legendary motifs accompanied by lute and centered on the heroism of two brothers, Muji and Halil. It is considered an important part of the intangible spiritual cultural heritage, although it has not received the status from UNESCO yet. But why are these songs so important?

Where does this cycle of songs originate from?

Songs of the Frontier Warriors is a dive into the world of the north of Albania. Although these songs have been passed down by word of mouth, generation after generation, they are thought to have been created around the time before the Slavic and Ottoman invasions of the Balkans. They were mainly sung in the area of the Albanian Alps such as Theth, Vermosh, Lëpushë, Selcë, Tamarë, Hoti, Gruda, Bogë, in Puka and Dibër, as well as in Kosovo, mainly in the areas of Peja, Gjakova, Prizren, Rahovec, Deçan, Istog, and Suhareka. However, today they are known throughout Albania and beyond for their cultural and linguistic values. These songs were sung by rhapsodists and have resisted numerous invasions over the centuries.

What is the content of Songs of the Frontier Warriors?

The songs have a legendary epic character where the main message remains resisting enemies in the name of freedom. With fantastic use of popular language as an art tool, its values ​​have managed to attract the attention of foreign scholars as well. In particular, it is worth mentioning the English translation by Robert Elsie, as well as their preservation in one of the collections of Harvard University. Moreover, they bring a perfect description of the northern areas and the way of life with the beauty but difficulties as well. With the addition of mythological elements such as Mountain Fairies, the songs bring a sense of mysticism to that environment. No wonder today this part of Albania is a tourist destination which has fascinated every visitor, just like in those verses.

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