Performing Nostalgia: Migration Culture and Creativity in South Albania  book cover
1st Edition

Performing Nostalgia: Migration Culture and Creativity in South Albania

ISBN 9780367598334
Published June 30, 2020 by Routledge
266 Pages

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Book Description

Migration studies is an area of increasing significance in musicology as in other disciplines. How do migrants express and imagine themselves through musical practice? How does music help them to construct social imaginaries and to cope with longings and belongings? In this study of migration music in postsocialist Albania, Eckehard Pistrick identifies links between sound, space, emotionality and mobility in performance, provides new insights into the controversial relationship between sound and migration, and sheds light on the cultural effects of migration processes. Central to Pistrick’s approach is the essential role of emotionality for musical creativity which is highlighted throughout the volume: pain and longing are discussed not as a traumatising end point, but as a driving force for human action and as a source for cultural creativity. In addition, the study provides a fascinating overview about the current state of a rarely documented vocal tradition in Europe that is a part of the mosaic of Mediterranean singing traditions. It refers to the challenges imposed onto this practice by heritage politics, the dynamics of retraditionalisation and musical globalisation. In this sense the book constitutes an important study to the dynamics of postsocialism as seen from a musicological perspective.


Winner of the 2017 Stavro Skendi Book Prize for Achievement in Albanian Studies, Society for Albanian Studies

Dr. Pistrick's book, in the committee's judgment, impressively connects ethnomusicology, anthropology and migration studies. Linking sound with space and emotionality, it offers a new understanding of the role of the oral tradition within Albanian communities, in particular its ability to deal creatively with painful experiences and the realities of migration.

Association for Slavic, East European & Eurasian Studies



Eckehard Pistrick is a post-doctoral researcher and lecturer in ethnomusicology at the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Germany with a focus on Southeast Europe. He is an associate member of the Centre de Recherche en Ethnomusicologie (CREM), Paris and has, since 2004, conducted extensive fieldwork in Albania as well as in Greece, Bulgaria and Kosovo.


"The book stands comfortably above disciplines to offer an excellent anthropological study of migration songs, based on a well-researched case study: Southern Albanian villages and the surrounding regions." - Zana Vathi, Edge Hill University, United Kingdom

"The book remains a valuable contribution to the scholarship on migration in South Alabania, and around the world. I would recommend it storngly to those interested in migration in general, and specifically the migration in contemporary Albania." - Islam Jusufi, Tirana

"The accompanying multimedia DVD containing both sound and video examples is excellent; it helps the reader by capturing the intricate and unique characteristics of this singing which no muscial transcription can fully do justice to. As such, this book should be valuable to scholars of migration studies, and anyone interested in the intersection between musical creativity and emotionally."- Philip Ciantar, University of Malta