NTOBFE grand concert with virtuoso artist Merita Halili, accompanied by NTOB Orchestra, Folk Ensemble’s Orchestra, Dance troupe, as well as guest artists, friends of singer Merita Halili.
“Lule t’bukra ka Tirona” – MERITA HALILI, Queen of Folk Music
27th and 28th of September – 19:00
Palace of Congresses
Orchestral with motifs from Central Albania
Interprets: Folk Ensemble Orchestra
“Lule të bukura ka tirana”
“Ëndrrat e mija”
“Ajka e qumështit”
“Fërfëlloi thëllonxa n’ujë”
“Mori vjollca që çel në saksi”
“Dy lule mbas malit”
“Trandafilin kur ta dhash”
“Hypi djali në mollë”
Fantazi për Fizarmonikë e Orkestër
Soloist: Raif Hyseni
“Në bashtën tënde”
“Ujë na iku jeta”
“Ani mori nuse”
“Lum tirana që të pat djalë”
“Kur dëgjon zërin e nënës”
Interprets: Folk Ensemble Orchestra
Rituali i dasmës së Tiranës
Interpreted by: Merita Halili accompanied by the Folk Ensemble’s Dance Troupe and Choir
“Ç’osht ky nushullim i modh”
“Të shtunën të djelën mroma”
“Ulu mol të dali hona”
“Nusja e re”
“Sa bukur na ka dalë nusja”
“Laje laje kryt si rosa”
“Doli goca në penxhere”
Merita Halili has long been considered as the “Ambassador of Albanian Song in USA”, a rare singer for the authenticity of her voice and performance, a great lady who at the core of her heart has the talent and simplicity that characterizes her. Merita Halili is one of the most popular singers of Albanian folk music. She started her activity at an early age at the Pioneers’ Palace and then became active with amateur ensembles such as: Tirana Ensemble and Migjeni Ensemble.
Born in Tirana, she made her national debut in 1983 at the age of 16, when she sang at the National Folk Festival in Gjirokastra. During her years studying canto at the Jordan Misja Artistic Lyceum, Merita was activated with the Ensemble of Folk Songs and Dances and performed her first recital at a very young age, 16, where her talent and her brilliant voice was discovered, would later make art lovers to describe the artist as: Queen and Nightingale of Albanian Folk Song. Merita along with the Folk Song and Dance Ensemble participated in many shows in various European countries where she had highly acclaimed performances.
Immediately afterwards she started singing on Albanian Radio and Television, recording and archiving many different songs and videos, which are stored today at the ART archive.
Merita interprets songs from all Albanian-speaking regions but mainly those of Central Albania regions and has performed numerous albums and songs dedicated to love, the homeland and heroes.
In 1989 she participates in the folk music show “Evening of folk music” organized by ART where she is ranked among the best singers of that show. In 1990, Merita performed on every night of “Europa 90”, where she sang new folk creations such as “Më ka marrë malli për nënën time”, “Kënga e ushtarit” and many other performances.
Merita Halili had her artistic peak in the shows “12 Dances Without a Saturday”, “Around Destiny in 12 Weeks” and “12 in Holliwood”. Merita became more prominent in 1995 when she was awarded the first prize at a “12 in Holliwood” Gala Festival in Tirana, attended by 90 diaspora singers.
Merita then leaves for the United States, where she will continue her artistic career, along with her husband, renowned musician Raif Hyseni. Together they have performed many concerts in Europe, Japan, Canada, Australia and other countries, presenting to the world public the artistic and cultural values of Albania and all Albanian territories. America’s most prestigious newspapers such as the New York Times have written extensively regarding Merita’s career, her artistic activity and her brilliant and rare voice. Along with her husband, acclaimed musician and songwriter Raif Hyseni, they are members of the New York Center for Traditional Music and Dance, being selected as the best performers to enhance folklore. With their professional work they have managed to educate about 3000 students, local and foreign, on genuine Albanian dance and song.
Merita Halili performed in the most famous and prestigious music halls and venues in USA. Alongside the orchestra led by maestro Raif Hyseni, she performed in concerts at Broadway, Lincoln Center, 4 times at the Library of Congress, Kennedy Center and at all the festivals organized by this center. Merita along with Raif have conducted many seminars at some of the most prestigious academies to introduce Albanian music to Americans. Merita and Raif have been invited to some of America’s most prestigious radio and TV shows such as MPR radio, News 12 TV, Action Bronson, where they performed and talked about their artistic lives.
Merita is the winner of many different national and international awards. She has been praised in the concert “Sofra e Tirana” as a brilliant voice of Albanian music. In the show “Stars in Folk Universe 2005” she was awarded the first prize. She is credited, along with Raif, by the New York Mayor as “Community Artists in the USA”. Merita has been announced as the “Queen of Albanian Music” in New York by AAWO (Albanian American Women’s Organization). Merita Halili is regarded by AAWO as one of Albania’s top performers and woman of the year. Merita Halili has also been included in the world encyclopedia with the songs: “Na leu dielli”, “Ku të ka lala moj kumurie” and “Doli goca në penxhere”.
Two of the most prestigious national awards she received from the Presidents of Albania were “Ambassador of the Nation” and “Grand Master”.
The year 2010 brought Merita back to Tirana to participate in the TV Klan show “Songs of the Century” where she was the only performer of songs of Central Albania and again brought the songs of the people without distorting them and she was received with standing ovations by the Albanian audience.
Merit was also a special guest at the 60th Anniversary Gala Concert of the Folk Song and Dance Ensemble, where she performed some of her most popular songs.
In 2019 Merita, together with her husband and their group of American students, performed for the first time in Kosovo and Macedonia several concerts where they played some of the most popular songs of folk music.
Edmond Xhani – Conductor
Edmond Xhani is one of the most well known musicians in Albania. He started his musical career as a youngster and at the age of 13, when he participated for the first time as a guitarist at the 9th Radio Television Festival, becoming the youngest participant in the history of ART Festivals, thus to continue for many more years in a row.
Edi is noted for high-level interpretations, receiving various awards in the field of interpretation and creation. He is the creator, orchestrator and processor of many different genres of music, such as children’s music, folk music, light music and various instrumental pieces.
Working for a long time in the Orchestra of Folk Songs and Dance Ensemble, Edi learned a lot from folk music, which served him to create a considerable number of songs, dances and instrumental pieces for this ensemble.
A well-known and beloved area for Edi has been children’s music where it is worth mentioning the famous song “Do-Re-Mi xhaxhi ç’bën në piano ti,” which remains one of the most beloved and beautiful songs for children.
In addition to his versatile activity as a musician, performer and creator in many national and international events where he has received awards and diplomas, Edi has had a successful activity in the field of education, having been a long time lecturer and music teacher in different schools in both Albania and USA.
In this Recital, he comes not only as the orchestrator of all the musical material but also as the conductor of this concert.