Greece / Dasho Kurti Confesses: “My Sounds Are Bridges Of Friendship And Brotherhood”
Words sometimes even exaggerate or exaggerate. Sounds never! Especially the more echoed the music of Dasho Kurti, the greater the enthusiasm of the public, the more the demand for concerts increases, the longer the list of collaborations with the giants – without the slightest exaggeration – of the Greek pentagram.
Dasho Kurti, in his long career in Greece enjoys their respect, adoration and friendship, is a loyal, serious and dedicated collaborator for 3 decades. The most valuable composer and instrumentalist who came as a surprise “gift” from Elbasan, Albania, then still very mysterious, almost unknown.
Not anymore, because Kurti himself has taken care to dispel many myths, with his modesty, but also the wisdom and kindness he has for the two neighboring countries, with whom he has hermetically connected the inexhaustible creativity.
Among them, Janis Parios, Dhimitra Galani, Glykeria, Dhimitris Mitropanos, Manolis Lidhakis, Eleftheria Arvanitaki, Thanasis Papakonstantinu, Jota Nega, Melina Kana, Afentula Razeli, Melina Aslanidhu and many others, while there was a long-standing historical collaboration with Jorgos D with tens of hundreds of concerts in every corner of the world. In some of them, America in particular, a large part of the public claims in front of the great Greek singer that “we came for Dashon to the concert” Dasho Kurti, who united the icons of Greek and Albanian music. Deep in his conscience he has only one goal, to build bridges of friendship, his two peoples to be close in the good days and the difficult ones.
He has also collaborated with world famous singers Edi Napoli, Dulce Ponte, Jasmin Levi, Goran Bregovic, Dlec Koc etc.
Dasho Kurti is the author of music for several films and has worn many theatrical performances with his sounds.
He does not like interviews very much, because as he says, no money will “be confused with other things, except music”. He spends his time on the keyboard where he either creates, or composes, orchestrates or plays music in concert. This is the life of a born musician! Yes, the pandemic also has its benefits, few, but it has, more time, deeper meditation, unbalanced balances that would happen so early. Dasho talks, talks at length about the past, the present but also the objectives of the future. Projects that he only knows how to implement and that the truth is that we need them so much!
Musical theory in the bud
question if engagement as instrumentalist that children’s heritage stems from family of musicians or coincidence, Kurti responds with a large dose of humor:
“I come from a family qejflinjsh, not as professional musicians. People who get along well and enjoy the beautiful things. My grandfather understood my talent since I was a child, he insisted that I be taken from the age of 6 to both the house of culture and the music school in Elbasan.
I finished high school for accordion, with very good grades. My sister-in-law suggested that I pursue higher education because she was confident that I would move forward. So I got into composition, I started preparing for the competition, because then it was like that, I do not know how it works now. The first lessons I did with Klement Marku, the well-known composer from Elbasan, then when I went to Tirana he brought me in contact with the other well-known composer Thoma Gaqi. This was a great chance, because when I went to school I had a very good teacher and composer nearby. I participated in the competition for the school year 1990-91 and came out first, if I remember correctly there were 80 competitors and we passed only 4. I started school for composition, while the situation in Albania changed every day, it became wilder, I remember that one day we did, one day we did not teach.
At school I met Sokol Shuka, a very capable teacher of composition, through whom I learned the international music competitions organized by the Ministry of Culture, for schools in European countries. Thus, in 1992 I won one for 9 months in Milan. When I returned, I found another Academy of Arts, another Albania! There were no more skilled professors left, the students were leaving every day. The decision was easy to make… ”
On foot, through the mountains
Many Albanian musicians in the 1990s went abroad for concerts and never returned. This is not the case of Dasho Kurti:
“I came to Greece in 1993 from the mountains, like any Albanian. With fear, without documents, to help the family financially. A few months ago I had lost my father, I was young, poor and had family to support. When the mess started, I ran away like everyone else. “From the mountains, in the bitter winter, between the cold and the horror of the unknown.”
From high audiences, to ordinary work for survival
“At that time I was studying at the Academy of Arts, in 1992 I won a 9-month composition scholarship in Milan. But I lost my father and when the program ended I returned urgently. In 1993 I took the road of emigration, I had a relative here in Athens who said to me “come on, he has a job, he has money, why is he wasting his time?”. I was young, I did not think long, I came. “After I found a job with a lot of difficulties, I remember the dishwasher, about 12-13 hours a day, I settled in the area where I still live with my family, in Kesariani.”
Back to the keyboard
“… For months I collected the drachmas to buy an accordion, it was so expensive! I worked, helped the family as much as I could, and kept what was left aside. I worked day and night. The day I arrived, it was the “restart” point. As soon as I finished work, I studied the accordion non-stop. My relative who brought me to Athens, worked in a tavern with “live” music where, as he told me, they earned a lot of money. One evening when some foreigners came, I found the courage to go too, then I learned to accept cash, because it seemed absurd to me at first, until a maestro, George Pavlatu, heard me quite by chance. He proposed to me in 1995, to participate in the competition for the orchestra of Manos Hadjidakis, in “Megaro Musikis” (State Symphony Orchestra of Greece). In short, I won the competition!
I started working with Ilias Lungos, Lena Venecanu, Savina Janatu, Ludovikos ton Anogion, Vasilis Lekas, the best names of that time.
Then everything comes in chains, I gradually worked with Lizeta Kalimeri, Melina Kana, in 1997 I played in the album of the then unknown Thanasis Papakonstantinu, even the already classic part “Aerikos” when in the hall did not gather even 20 people, while now 10,000 people are considered a little about his concerts ”.
about his concerts ”.
Among the stars of the Greek pentagram
“All the following years I did not stop collaborating, I am mentioning these moments as I remember, by the composer Takis Burnan, do you remember the song” Min girisis “for the Katsimiheous brothers? Then with the singers Costas Makedonas, Dhimitris Zervudakis, Manolis Lidhakis, Alkinoos Ioanidhis, Dhimitra Galani, Janis Parios, Lucianos Kiliadhonis, Afrodhiti Manu, Eleni Vitali, Pizza Papadopoulou, Vasilis Papakonstantinu, Manolis Papos, Sofia Dimitros G, many Dimitris Goglu. The longest and most ongoing collaboration was with Jorgos Dalaras. I even discussed that period in parallel with Harula Aleksiu and Jorgos Dalaras. But since Alexius would not work hard that season, he would only do a few concerts, I chose Jorgos Dalaras.
“Abandoned villages” is followed by “Foreigner, what are you looking for here?”
… In 2006 I prepared the album “Abandoned Villages” with the theme, what else, this that we all experience. In the album with Albanian songs elaborated with Greek lyrics sung by Jorgos Dalaras, Eleni Vitali, but also Albanian singers Valbona Mema, Artjola Toska and Fatos Selmani. The album was welcomed and traveled to 30 countries around the world, where we did not give a concert “, he says.
While in 2017 he takes the initiative for the humanitarian concert dedicated to the great refugee crisis, with Jorgos Dalaras, Miltos Paschalidhis, Glykeria and many other artists. “Stranger, what are you looking for here?” by Dasho Kurti at the Iera Odo in Athens caused a stir both in the media and in Greek society, and was an extraordinary success.
The rare message of Archbishop Anastasios
Everything beautiful ends, and it seems as if it ends faster. The collaboration with Dalaras was followed by another well-known singer, Jota Nega. In recent years he collaborated with Dhimitra Galani and Natasha Bofiliu, as an instrumentalist in the “Vasilis Cicanis” orchestra, in a special dedication to the great Greek musician. Until the closing of the music scenes from the pandemic, Dasho Kurti collaborated with the Greek erotic whistle, Janis Parios. But before the two leaders sat down, a big concert took place in Tirana, in the summer of 2019. With the initiative of Kurti, the support of the Greek Embassy in Albania and the Municipality of Tirana, a very important musical event for the Albanian public brought in the Amphitheater hall the icon of Greek music George Dalaras and the musician without borders Dasho Kurti.
I will never forget the emotions of Archbishop Anastasios during the interpretation of my song “Mother”. At the end of the concert he met me and said some words that are deeply etched in my heart: “Love, you and I do the same hard work.” As a joker, I was ready to say “Do you like the accordion?”, But I restrained myself. The Archbishop continued “when I learned who you are and what you have done, I realized that we both constantly do the same thing, we build bridges. “They” will destroy, WE will build again. Be well, Dasho ”!
Pandemic and tomorrow’s projects
“The highest cost of the pandemic in Greece is being paid by art. I feel just as indignant as all the other artists. Art, music, theater influence the awakening of critical thinking, give life, liveliness, expand horizons. There must definitely be another formula, besides isolating the artists, completely blinding the people. It is not just the economic consequences, more precisely the economic destruction. “But we must also think about the social consequences that are equally major,” said Kurti. However, last summer, when restrictions were eased, he took part in many musical evenings with “rebetika” and other traditional Greek.
He spends this period with his wife and two sons in the strict lockdown of Athens, without stopping studying or creating music. In parallel, he participates in live-streaming concerts organized to financially support musicians, especially Greek technicians.
Meanwhile, the long-awaited plan is ready, as soon as covid-19 allows: another great concert, with well-known artists and good friends from all over the Balkans.
“Every time the sounds of a Greek, an Albanian, a Turk, a Romanian and so on come together, so many times stereotypes are broken, human feelings prevail and peoples come closer” insists Dasho Kurti… (DiasporaShqiptare)