Merita Halili & Raif Hyseni

MERITA HALILI-is one of Albania’s top performers. Born in the capital city of Tirane, her nationwide debut came in 1983, at the age 16, when she sang at The National Folk Festival in the town of Gjirokaster. Soon afterwards she began to perform on Albanian Radio and Television and as a soloist with the State Ensemble for Folk Songs and Dances. Perhaps her greatest recognition came in 1995, when she was awarded first prize at a Gala Festival held in Tirane in which 90 singers from Diaspora participated. In July 1995, Merita with her husband Raif Hyseni, and their daughter came to the USA, and settled in New York and New Jersey area. Merita Halili performed in the most famous and prestigious musical halls and venues such “Symphony Space Broadway” “Manhattan, “Lincoln Center”, “Barbican Center” London,UK, “American Museum of Natural History” Manhattan, “Smithsonian” Washington DC, “John F. Kennedy Center” Washington DC, “ US Library of Congress” Washington DC and at many other places in the USA, Europe and Asia. Merita’s voice can be heard in the movie tracks Italian production “La America”, as well as successful American documentary film “From Refuge to Immigrant”. Merita is a winner of many different National and International awards. “She raised her radiant soprano in buoyant wedding songs, punctuated by speed-demon accordion from her husband and bandleader, Raif Hyseni” (The New York Times 2002) “Albania’s Ambassadors” (THE STAR LEDGER 2005)

 

RAIF HYSENI-is the most famous Albanian accordion player. Born in the town of Mitrovica, Republic of Kosovo, he went to elementary music school in Mitrovica, and then to music high school and to the Academy of Performing Arts, at the University of Kosovo, and graduated from Caldwell College in 1999, as well as Master in Music from Montclair State University in New Jersey where he is Adjunct Professor and teaches Albanian Ensemble. As a young accordion player he performed for the Albanian National Radio and TV. Raif performed with maestro legendary violin-player Isak Mucolli. Raif has written numerous songs and instrumental pieces for the accordion: “Fantasy for Accordion”, “Traveling through Albania”, “One Song without words”, “Accordion and Three Glasses”, “Pearls” etc. He wrote music for theatre, as well as documentary film “From Refuge to Immigrant”. He has performed at the Smithsonian Institute, US Library of Congress, John F. Kennedy Center, Washington DC, Lincoln Center, New York, Barbican Center, London, and at many other places in the USA, Europe, Australia and Asia. Raif is a winner of many different National and International awards. “She raised her radiant soprano in buoyant wedding songs, punctuated by speed-demon accordion from her husband and bandleader, Raif Hyseni” (The New York Times 2002) “Albania’s Ambassadors” (The Star Ledger 2005)

 

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