Alfred Papuçiu: Two words about the well known artist, our national Vaçe
E hene, 16.03.2009, 05:00 PM
By Alfred Papuçiu
Big people are modest- my composer friend was saying to me one day when I talked to him about our national singer, Vaçe Zela. I often remember her, listening to her wonderful voice on the stereo, a voice that reminds you of your home country, the land of your ancestors and gives you such an amazing feeling full of emotions.
It’s just like that night when I used to listen to her song of the homeland at “Cajupi” of Meriton at the Albanian Popular University as I was looking at her beautiful and expressing silhouette. She is really modest but still wants to communicate with the people that love her, even that night, although her voice sounded really tired on the other side of the phone. She sweetly expressed her gratitude towards Meritoni. She even couldn’t help but tear. Afterwards, as usual she put her husband on the phone, the very polite Pieter Rodiqi. He talks very fondly as usual about our national Vaçe and conveys to me that she is feeling much better. We talk a while and discuss the possibility of Vaçe being able to come to Geneva and listen at the Albanian Popular University, many of her songs sung by young talented people….The same as her trip in Germany a few days ago and she was very proud by the hospitality of the Albanian people in Diaspora.
This is what the Wikipedia says about our Vaçe, gathered words that speak really loud. “Vaçe Zela was born on April 7, 1939. She was a very famous signer in Albania during the period of communist dictatorship. She was discovered randomly at a very young age in Lushnja. Vaçe Zela has a very extraordinary voice. Her songs are still very popular and very preferred by the public. She is no longer as active in her music career. However, she remains the “exceptional voice” that used to fill with energy the Albanian arenas. Some of her songs are “Bloom like a mimosa”, “The young boy and the rain”, “I love my country”, “My dream”, “The hiccups”, “To the Albanian Mothers”, “ Oh young sun”, “Today I turned 20 years old”, “Happy, I love you”
Vaçe Zela started to sing when she was 10 years old. She was the oldest child in a family of 6 children and as she says “I inherited the song from my mother” Her brother Hysni, followed in her footsteps as well. From her first song she only remembers this catchphrase “…Oh white pigeon, when are you coming here…?” When she went to the Institute of Arts although she had wanted to become an actress nobody asked her for one or a monolog part. She grabbed a guitar and started playing it while singing. Prof. Nexhat Agolli says in his well written book:”…Vaçe Zela….the magic of the Albanian song”, “maybe she was brought in the song by somebody or simply by luck?” However, she would never judge how that happened. What the singing board didn’t do, the drama board did. But Vaçe never acted, but she became a song artist: of the folk music and easy music. That happens often to a person, especially an artist.
“I have listened all of Vice’s songs and I know them by heart. She lives in her songs. She gives light to the young singers as the sun gives light to the earth. Artists like her are very rare. I hope she feels better. Great respect for this big singer “says Talibja.
This is was Socrates says about the CD” My Song”. The CD is magnificent, not only the song quality but also the musical level and the song poetry. I have always liked Vaçe Zela and I have always tried to find as many of her songs as I could. Through this CD I was able to get introduced to songs that I had never heard before. I would highly recommend people to listen to the song “Rrjedh ne këngë e ligjërime” every morning, or at least when they need some inspiration. It’s a really helpful song when you are going through hard times. …and it’s not a song for the older generation. On the contrary I believe that Vice’s voice and songs give much more results for the younger generation than the old one.”
On the other hand Elona states: “As soon as I bought the Vice’s CD I can hardly wait to listen to whole of it. I am 20 years old and I am highly inspired by my parents to like this unmatched Albanian singer.”
« Vaçe Zela is Albania's secret weapon and anyone who wants to sample Albanian music at its best should buy this CD »- David Mitchell.
These words make me really proud like every other Albanian in Diaspora and as I have wrote before about Celine Dion on the day that her star was put on “Hollywood Boulevard” I would like to write about Vaçe Zela also when the Albanian people in America would try to do the same thing for her.
Vaçe Zela dedicates her success of her discs to three main factors: the luck that gave her the ability to do that, her indescribable voice as well as her tremendous work during the years and last but not least her Albanian admirers all over the world. Her discs were a very big success as well as her tours in Albania and in other parts of the world. She will always remember the day when President Alfred Moisiu declared her: “The Honour of the Nation”
“For her unique values as a Famous Artist, with a tremendous popularity, for the incredible interpretation of the folk and easy music, and for the treasure created with her music in the Albanian schools”.
…The people right there in the building called “Writers Unity” were listening to Vice’s wonderful voice as she was singing songs from her younger years. She was a little artist back then from a small town and along with the school groups used to perform shows on rural areas. Her friend Violeta Librazhdi remembers Vaçe Zela as a young student when she wore a hand sewed bride dress when she performed in a school concert. She sang the song “Piva ujë me dy bardhakë” “Qilimi me mollë” and received many applauses from the people present, the Lushnja citizens. Later on with a guitar in her hand she would sing Spanish, American and Italian songs that she had learned secretly from the radio.
That night at the building called ”Writers Unity” Pjeter Rodiqi, Vaçe Zela’s husband thanked all the friends and admirers who are always happy to donate financially for Vaçe Zela’s treatment and came up with the idea that the funds should be donated to the children suffering from Thalassemia in Albania. He stated that Vaçe Zela has no financial struggle. She had to go through a hard time because of health issues but thankfully financially she was able to afford treatment. “The only irreplaceable issue” he said “is the long distance between her and her friends as well as the Albanian people.”
Often as many admirers of Vaçe Zela I talk to her on the phone and usually in the evening after work I listen to her music especially in the Geisendorf Park, near Leman Lake. Her voice gives me hope, makes me feel closer to my homeland, closer to Myzeqeja, Devolli, Valbona, Lezha, Fieri, Pogradeci, Lushnja, Saranda. I remember my engineer friend Budjon Pojani who lives in Clearwater, Florida that often asks me about Vaçe and Pjetri.
Because of work and everyday life we are not able to come and go as often to visit our friends in life, especially such a big artist as Vaçe Zela who has a limited free time and is trying to fight every day in order to get healthier. Thankfully she has her devoted husband by her side, her daughter and other family members.
We love you very much Vaçe Zela, so please do not give up, fight this disease because we are sure that the near future will bring a cure for you. Medicine is taking big steps and devoted doctors are working hard on transforming the defected genes with healthy ones. So please be patient and not emotional but be hopeful for change just like in your younger days when you used to give us hope, courage, love, gratitude and solidarity. We can hardly wait for you in Geneva, when we will be able to hear the young people singing your songs. God bless You, our good Vaçe!
From the book “ Me zemër të hapur” ( With net heart), “Alor” Geneva, in Albanian, French and some stories in English