Perspectives | Culture

Music will save us

In Kosovo, musicians thrive in a resurgent community.

By - 21.07.2020

It was Prishtina’s Night of the Living Dead 2019 metal concert, and all I managed to find for the party was an airport souvenir Venetian mask, shiny as the glittering lights of Prishtina’s kitsch clubs, which I’ve never been to, where expensive champagne bottles are said to shatter on the floor of the VIP section. 

Here, by contrast, in a “Halloween”-esque affair, I was surrounded by long-haired men, all of us sweaty in a smelly garage out near the city bus station. The empty bottles on the ground here had held beer, not champagne. 

The only other girl in the shutke, or the mosh pit, was a stranger to me, wearing a leather jacket and a spiked necklace. She grabbed me by the arm to join her in head-banging to Kosovo’s most explosive heavy metal band, Frisson. We swung our necks together to the live music, forging a bond as if we had known each other for years. 

That’s what music can do — transformative like a demon’s curse or Cupid’s arrow, it reads you, it gets to you, it sends you to another planet.

And if you live in Europe’s experiment in ghettoization — that is, Kosovo — then music might as well be the sun to Superman in a sea of kryptonite. For those not into metaphors from the comics: It will resuscitate you when no one can find a pulse. 

And maybe because musicians know how much power this sunlight has on their own emotional survival, our local music scene has thrived like no other artistic or cultural community in the country, a glue to any brokenness in all of us.K

This is an extract from a feature story in our new HOPE print edition. To read the full article, buy your copy of the magazine now — click here for more information.

Feature image: Majlinda Hoxha / K2.0.