And so to 2017, and once more first out of the National Selection blocks on Xmas Day comes Albania with Lindita Halimi with "World" and a wholly predictable effort it is too. Learn about it here
More Balkan balls, with a seriously robust metal tree swing and facial blousons. Eneda Tarifa ululates through "Fairytale". And as we know they tend to have periods of mild peril and this is no exception. Learn about it here

And again we see a gamine yoof being given the chance for cross Balkan appeal (at least Serbia & FYROM). Elhaida Dani will be trying to make sense of "I'm Alive" which I understand is rated, but not on these pages. You can look and see here

Hersi Matmuja continues the proud recent tradition of young operatic warblers prevailing against the odds with "One Night of Anger". If you listen carefully, you may recognise a tune trying to get out from the S.W. Balkans. It's here
The all-round mellifluously sounding Adrian Lulgjuraj & Bledar Sejko will be Balkan rocking the joint sober to "Identitet" in 2013. Be afraid here
Donning the crown of pretension, Albania in 2012 have come up trumps again with Rona Nishliu stood in a black box in an art gallery. Her song, "Suus", is a truly terrible ballard. The video though has clackers, a pointy mask, and two Damians drawing on a wall. Watch it here, with the sound off
Situated on the coast of the Adriatic Sea and bordered by Greece, Macedonia and the Yugoslavia Federal Republic, lies Albania. This pint-sized, sunny slice of Adriatic coast has been ground down for years by poverty, blood vendettas and too many five year plans...but Albania still manages to pack a wild punch of traditional Mediterranean charm and Soviet-style inefficiency. It is a giddy blend of religions, styles, cultures and landscapes.

...The oldest woman in Albania - and perhaps the world - has died at the age of 123 and was to be buried beside the husband she resented being forced to marry at 14. Born on August 22, 1880, Hava Rexha died in the picturesque central Albanian village of Shushice, where she had spent her whole life.... 18/11/03

But...
The security situation in Albania remains unstable. The presence of unexploded munitions along the Albania/Kosovo border is suspected. Armed robberies, assaults, mobster assassinations, bombings and carjackings have been reported.

Tirana
"Currently, the city suffers waste management problems, lack of running water and electricity. Despite the problems, Tirana has also experienced a very rapid growth in the construction of new buildings. It is alleged that many of these buildings are the result of money laundering operations...Tirana is presently trying to develop a tourist industry."

BC2000 Albania was part of Illyri. BC168 Illyria was conquered by the Romans. AD395 Became part of Byzantine Empire. 6th14th centuries Byzantine decline exploited by Serbs, Normans, Slavs, Bulgarians, and Venetians. 15th16thC 1000's fled to southern Italy to escape Ottoman rule over half of the rest of the population converted to Islam. 1912 Achieved independence from Turkey as a result of First Balkan War and end of Ottoman Empire in Europe. 1928-39 Monarchy of King Zog. 1939 Italian occupation led by Benito Mussolini. 1943-44 Under German rule following Italian surrender. 1946 Proclaimed Communist People's Republic of Albania, with Enver Hoxha as premier. 1961 Broke with USSR in wake of Nikita Khrushchev's denunciation of Stalin. 1992 Totalitarian and communist parties were banned. 1993 Conflict between ethnic Greeks and Albanians. 1997 Riots police killed demonstrators. Southern Albania fell under rebel control.

John & James Belushi was/is ethnic Albania

King Zog, who did little except play poker and smoke as many as a hundred and fifty perfumed cigarettes a day
Mother Theresa who, on the other hand, never smoked (I assume).
 
 

Life expectancy

69 men 75 women
Airports 11
Radios 217 per 1000 people
Internet Users 6.5 per 10000 people (not a stop on the information superhighway) 
Railway Network 56,619 miles
Death Penalty retained and used for ordinary crimes