Song of Çelo Mezani

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The Song of Çelo Mezani (Albanian: Kënga e Çelo Mezanit) is an Albanian polyphonic folk song. It is considered to be the best-known Cham Albanian song.[1] The song increased the awareness in Albania about the Chameria region and its history.[2]


The song was composed during the period of the Albanian National Awakening and is a narrative and a lament of the death of Çelo Mezani, a well-known Cham Albanian revolutionary from the village of Perdika in modern north-western Greece (Çamëria). Çelo Mezani lived in the late 19th century and was a kaçak who fought against Ottoman rule in his homeland. The Ottoman agents managed to kill him through betrayal.[1]


The song of Çelo Mezani consists of three parts and is sung by two soloists and a drone group.[1] It was recorded officially in 1957 in Fier in the Myzeqe region and in Skelë in the area of Vlorë by Cham Albanian refugees who had settled in those areas after the expulsion of Cham Albanians. In both recording the groups sang a cappella.[1]

It was supposed to be performed in the National Folklore Festival of Gjirokastër in 1973, but the political regime censored it.[1] In 1978 it was performed in the National Folklore Festival of Gjirokastër by a folk singers' group from Rrogozhinë. In the festival of Gjirokastër the song was accompanied by an instrumental ensemble of violin, clarinet, llautë and def. It was well received by the public and became a synonym of Cham Albanian music.[1]

According to Albanian composer Agim Krajka, the song was one of the best ways for the Albanian public to know better the Chameria region and its history.[2]


The first soloist sings in a narrative way, while the second soloist replies to him by singing the second part of the verse again. The drone group provides vocal backing. The first verse of the song is:[3]

Albanian English

Doli djelli ne Malavire,
Qisi Çelua ne Harile,
Qisi Çelua ne Harile,
Për të shkretën Pajgorile,
Për te shkretën Pajgorile.

The sun arose in Malavire,
Çelo came out in Harile,
Çelo came out in Harile,
Out to offer his condolence,
Out to offer his condolence.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Ahmedaja, Ardian; Gerlinde Haid (2008). European voices: Multipart singing in the Balkans and the Mediterranean. European Voices 1. Böhlau Verlag Wien. pp. 241–2. ISBN 3-205-78090-6. 
  2. ^ a b Ymeri, Anisa (23 November 2007). "Gjysmeshekull ansambel per Agim Krajken". Koha Jone (in Albanian) (Koco Kokedhima). Retrieved 20 September 2010. 
  3. ^ Elsie, Robert. "Cham Folk Songs". Retrieved 26 April 2010.