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The ancient, polyphonic singing tradition of southern Albania, in which one voice rides above a vocal drone (the ISO), has been preserved through the playing of multi-instrumentalist Laver Bariu . The son of a singer and llaute (Albanian lute) player, Bariu was inspired by the music that he heard his father play each night. Although he initially wanted to play the gajde (bagpipe), his family's inability to afford an instrument led him to build one of his own. Seeing his determination, his father agreed to teach him to play the llaude. Bariu later built his own drum set. Bariu's progress as a musician was setback after Germany invaded Albania in 1939. His hometown was burnt four times -- once by the Italian Fascists and three times by the Nazis. The war, however, had a bright side as well. When a Greek clarinetist moved to Permet to escape the conflict between Italy and Greece, Bariu was recruited to play drums and daf (large tambourine) in a band that played nightly at a local club. His father agreed to play llaute with the group. The experience had a profound effect on Bariu as he became increasingly fascinated by the clarinet. Temporarily moving to Korce, he began playing with clarinetist Vangiel Leskoviku, who taught him many tunes. Returning to Permet, Bariu formed his first band. More than four decades later, he still remained active. Songs From the City of Roses was released in 1996. ~ Craig Harris
'60s, '70s, '80s, '90s