Tallava or Talava is a music genre originating from Albanian-speaking communities in the Republic of Macedonia as well as in Kosovo, with a presence in Albania.[1][2][3] Having originated in the Roma community in Kosovo in the 1990s, it is oriental-sounding. It is becoming increasingly popular in Albania and Macedonia.[4] It is identified as part of the wider Pop-folk genre of the Southeastern Europe, which includes Chalga from Bulgaria, Skiladiko from Greece, Manele from Romania and Turbo-folk from Serbia.[5]


Tallava originated in the 1980s and 1990s within the Albanian-speaking areas of Kosovo region, created by the Ashkali (Romani) ethnic minority community.[4] The name is derived from Romani tel o vas, meaning "under the hand", referring to the Chochek dance where the hands are waved delicately.[6] Kosovo Albanian refugees of the Kosovo War in the Republic of Macedonia had brought their music with them, including Tallava.[7] It has since also been adopted by the non-Albanian-speaking Roma in Macedonia.[4]

Identity and reputation

Tallava occupies an ambivalent place in popular consciousness; it is both celebrated and vilified by the wider Albanian community. In the minds of many, its Ashkali origins imbue it with a lower-class connotation, and it is often disparaged. However, tallava is extremely popular and considered by many necessary for any party, especially a wedding.[8] Kosovo Roma musician Bajram Kafu Kinolli suggests that it is simple racism that gave tallava its low status: “Bearing in mind that it was the Roma, Ashkali and Egyptians who mostly cultivated tallava and that they are in a crisis in regard to presenting their culture… some people label it as a degradation, especially today when the word ‘tallava’ is a dirty, filthy, and degrading term for anything in Kosovo.”[9]

Style and attributes

Initially, tallava music was performed in cafes, and the def, a kind of tambourine, predominated. In the 1990s, other instruments like drums, bass guitar, guitar, accordion and clarinet were incorporated. Kafu Kinolli sees tallava as distinct from the wider turbo-folk umbrella genre in that whereas a turbo-folk song has a linear structure (e.g., verse-chorus-verse-chorus), tallava songs are longer, more improvisational, and without a definitive structure. However, this improvisational character leads other musicologists, such as Astrit Stafai, to believe that tallava does not constitute a genre in and of itself: “... tallava is an improvisation of a certain moment, for example at a family-related or personal occasion. Tallava has neither a musical form nor development. It just doesn't have the proper concept to be a musical style”.[10]

Popular singers



See also


  1. ^ Samson, Jim (2013). Music in the Balkans. BRILL. ISBN 978-9004250383.
  2. ^ Refleksion sociologjik mbi kiçin e muzikës tallava Archived 2015-09-24 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Gail Warrander and Verena Knaus (2010). Kosovo. BRADT. ISBN 9781841623313.
  4. ^ a b c Samson 2013, p. 79.
  5. ^ Natalie Bayer (2009). Crossing Munich. Silke Schreiber. ISBN 978-3-88960-108-7. Formen wie: tallava in Albanien, chalga in Bulgarien, skiládiko in ... in Rumänien, turbo folk in Serbien usw
  6. ^ Carol Silverman (24 May 2012). Romani Routes: Cultural Politics and Balkan Music in Diaspora. Oxford University Press. pp. 36–. ISBN 978-0-19-530094-9.
  7. ^ Samson 2013, p. 77.
  8. ^ Kika, Ardit. "The Sounds of Tallava". Prishtina Insight. Retrieved 3 September 2019.
  9. ^ Kika, Ardit. "The Sounds of Tallava". Prishtina Insight. Retrieved 3 September 2019.
  10. ^ Kika, Ardit. "The Sounds of Tallava". Prishtina Insight. Retrieved 3 September 2019.