Vace Zela (left) at Festivali i Këngës, 1972
7 April 1939|
Lushnjë, Fier, Albania
|Died||6 February 2014
Basel, Basel-Stadt, Switzerland
|Spouse(s)||Pjetër Rodiqi (19??-6 February 2014; her death)|
Vaçe Zela (7 April 1939 – 6 February 2014) was an Albanian singer. She began her career at a young age and in 1962 was the first to win the Albanian Song Festival (Festivali i Këngës). An 11-time winner of the festival, Vaçe gained fame during the communist era and was awarded the Merited Artist of Albania prize in 1973 and the People's Artist of Albania prize in 1977. On 24 December 2002 she was awarded the Prize "Honor of the Nation" by the Albanian president Alfred Moisiu. Before her death in 2014, she lived in Switzerland.
The first to discover Zela's talents were her school teachers. She was not only talented in music, but also in painting and theater. Zela was only ten years old when she began to sing folk songs from the Myzeqe region. She would often casually sing in her city of Lushnje's parks, attracting the passersby. Soon she would participate in small concerts organized in the city, although her parents did not like much the idea that their daughter took such a path. Nevertheless, she went to Tirana to compete in order to study at the prestigious School of Arts, but was not accepted, and attended Qemal Stafa High School, where she began to learn the guitar.
Zela was first appointed in the Army's Ensemble (Albanian: Ansambli i Ushtrisë), then in the State's Ensemble (Albanian: Ansambli Shtetëror), and finally the Ensemble of Songs and Dances (Albanian: Ansambli i Këngëve dhe Valleve).
Zela was the first winner of the first Songs Festival in Albania with the song "First Child" (Albanian: Fëmija i parë) on 26 December 1962. International awards include "Golden Disk", "Woman of the year" in Cambridge, England for '97-'98, "Golden Microphone" from the Ministry of Culture of Kosovo, etc. The latest award was "Special Grand Prize for Singing Legend", the 45th anniversary of the Festival at ART, for the singer's unique contribution to Albanian music, and participation since the very first years of this festival, during which she received many awards.
- Agolli, Nexhat (2001). Vaçe Zela: magjia e këngës shqiptare : monografi (in Albanian). Lisitan. ISBN 978-99927-739-1-8.
- Routledge (2007-01-01). International Who's Who in Popular Music 2007. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-85743-417-0.