What piece of art changed your life? How did it affect you?
When I was 10, I left Albania and arrived in Switzerland with my mother in the small city of Luzern. I was away from everything I knew, from my home, the sun, my friends, my grandparents, and my life as a singer in Albania. It was the first time in my life that I experienced the meaning of solitude. At school, the children looked at me first with some astonishment, then with great indifference. I was alone and feared every hour I was with the other children. It was at that very moment that I discovered The Beatles!
What a joy, what a sensation! It was wonderful!
Suddenly, I was not alone anymore. I had friends, four great friends! I had a Walkman and all Beatles on K7's (cassette tapes), and I used to walk down the streets for hours listening to their music. That's how I started learning English, and that's how the music of The Beatles changed my life and saved me.
They have been my companions since then, and every time I hear them, I feel like I am at home. For me, The Beatles have composed some of the best music ever!
Elina Duni's new album, Matane Malit (ECM), is an homage to her native Albania. Don't expect any Beatles references, just a dozen enchanting songs that seamlessly wed Eastern European tradition to modern jazz. It's Balkan music infused with the spirit of Bill Evans. The Elina Duni Quartet (with Colin Vallon, a fellow ECM recording artist, on piano!) plays An die Musik this Sunday at 8 pm and 9:30. Tickets are $15, $10 for students.