When the UK members of the ODA 3 team – Martin Appleby, Peadar Connelly-Davey and myself, Lucy Durán, arrived in Shkodra in November 2021, to record an album, we wanted to be as prepared as we could for the task at hand. We knew about Shkodra, its long and proud history as one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities of the Balkans, from our Albanian producer, Edit Pula(j) who as with our other Albanian projects, is the person behind the vision and the hard work to preserve and promote the musical cultural treasures from Albania to the world. Other than that, she is half from Shkodra and grew up steeped in the songs of the city that accompany her family’s informal gatherings and celebrations to this today.  Our aim – as with the previous album the team recorded in Albania:  Tirana 100 – (voted one of ten best albums of 2021 by Songlines, the top world music magazine) was to make the best possible recording of some of Shkodra’s most emblematic songs and musical styles, such as Aheng and Jare, so little known outside the region. We wanted to work with some of the most representative musicians, from across the spectrum of folk and professional artists. We wanted to ensure that some of the oldest surviving bearers of the deep folk tradition would have a chance to be heard and recorded, for posterity, while also including the young and talented voices of the new generation. We brought together these amazing artists and named this ansambel Orkestra Shkodra.

Initially we worked the project under the  ‘Shkoder Loce or Locka’ as working title, but only at the end of the process we blessed it with the title ‘Like Nightingales in the Spring” as more poetic and catching title especially for the non-albanian audience and what we have done with it could be described as a polished field recording, recreating the collaborative and spontaneous experience of music performance in Shkodra. We achieved this by recording all the musicians performing all together in the same room, without any added tracks or overdubs. We recorded each song straight through, often several times to get the best sound. We wanted to capture the kind of energy, raw emotion and exuberance that we witnessed at Shkodra’s vibrant wedding parties and celebrations.

Oda 3 team are all professionals with extensive experience of working with different musical traditions from around the world, on location and in the studio. We are cultural activists, performers, sound recordists, ethnomusicologists, and music producers. We learn by listening and we strive to achieve the best possible representation of oral traditions, such as those of Shkodra.

We are proud to be presenting this album to Albania and to the world, portraying the remarkable beauty and diversity of Shkodra music- which is both festive and soulful – through its remarkable multi-generational talent.

Lucy Durán, Professor of Music, SOAS, University of London

Music educator, music producer (with three Grammy nominations), documentary filmmaker and radio presenter.

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