Performing Nostalgia: Migration Culture and Creativity in South Albania (Hardback) book cover

Performing Nostalgia: Migration Culture and Creativity in South Albania

By Eckehard Pistrick

© 2015 – Routledge

266 pages

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Hardback: 9781472449535
pub: 2015-08-28
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About the Book

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.


"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

About the Author

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.

About the Series

SOAS Musicology Series

Series editor: Keith Howard, SOAS, University of London, UK

The study of the world’s many and diverse music cultures has become an important part of the discipline of musicology. Often termed ‘ethnomusicology’, the resulting studies share the fundamental recognition that music is cherished by every society in the world. Like language, music is a universal means of individual and cultural expression. It is also infinitely varied. Music in any society has intrinsic value in its own right, and can tell us much about the culture in which it developed. The core of the SOAS Musicology Series comprises studies of different musics, analysed in the contexts of the societies of which they are part, and exploring repertories, performance practice, musical instruments, and the roles and impacts of individual composers and performers. Studies which integrate music with dance, theatre or the visual arts are encouraged, and contextualised studies of music within the Western art canon are not excluded.

Reflecting current ethnomusicological theory and practice, the editors recognize the value of interdisciplinary and collaborative research. Volumes may utilize methodologies developed in anthropology, sociology, linguistics and psychology to explore music; they may seek to create a dialogue between scholars and musicians; or they may primarily be concerned with the evaluation of historical documentation. Monographs that explore contemporary and popular musics, the effect of globalization on musical production, or the comparison of different music cultures are also welcomed.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
MUSIC / Ethnomusicology
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Emigration & Immigration