Pranvera Badivuku

Pristina | Date: January 23, 2019 | Duration: 107 minutes

You know, very, I don’t know what did they do, the things were all over the place. The machine, for example, was ruined, an old stove was taken upstairs, you know, I don’t know how did they carried them, those things. There was a lot of disorder in the building, empty apartments, without anything inside them. They didn’t touch the pictures and some documents because, after all, it was a building. 

And one, one resident there, she was Dalmatian, older, she didn’t have anywhere to go, so she stayed there. She told us that they brought the truck at the entry, so we couldn’t see what they took, what are they loading. Cassettes, we had a lot of video cassettes, all with serious music, recorded, different kinds. My husband was fond of classical music, he used to record instrumentals, orchestras, of different kind. We found those in another building. So, unexplained things happened, I don’t know, I don’t know.

But it’s interesting how one remembers everything he had, it happened a few times, people don’t remember everything they have, but if the things are missing… It was a bit funny. I made the list of everything that was missing because I knew what I had in my cabinet. Only notes, notes, my songs and so, I, I threw them behind the cabinet, there was free space but couldn’t go down further, I found them there.

Kaltrina Krasniqi (interviewer), Besarta Breznica (Camera)

Pranvera Badivuku was born in 1945 in Peja. She graduated from the Musical Pedagogical Academy in Skopje, Macedonia. An award-winning composer known for her children’s and adult songs, she is among the first female composers in Kosovo, and. From 1979 until a massive expulsion from work in 1990, she worked at Radio Pristina as a producer and editor for the music program. Today, she is retired and lives in Pristina.

Pranvera Badivuku

Part One

Kaltrina Krasniqi: Start by introducing yourself and then tell us something about your childhood. What kind of childhood did you have? What kind of child were you? Who did you grow up with? In which city?

Pranvera Badivuku: Yes, I am Pranvera Badivuku, but my birth name is Basha. I was born 74 years ago, a while ago I celebrated my 74th birthday, so I was born in 1945 in Peja. I am… I mean I come from a traditional Peja family. I grew up surrounded by my family.  First my mom, my sister, who was a year and half older than me, my [paternal] uncles, my grandparents, my [paternal] aunts. So, we were a big family. And almost all my childhood was quite happy from all the love and care they provided for me since I was a child.

They say that I was a lively, happy child, I sang. Maybe they were senseless melodies but I expressed my happiness that way. Maybe this determined the career you picked. I said all of this from what I remember, even though, I mean our mother took special care of us even though we grew up without a father.

Like many families who suffered after World War Two, I don’t know, life difficulties, but my father was more fragile. He spent 20 years away from his family, over 20 years in prisons. First in the prison of Peja, then in Kulla Sheremeti which was a known prison, and even after some prisoners broke out, he got lucky and was saved by some of his friends. That day there was a huge massacre in Peja, they killed anyone they could, they executed… horrible.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: Which year?

Pranvera Badivuku: Around ‘46 maybe, I’m not sure because I was a kid, but I know of it since my family talked about it. So, my father was in prison for many years, in the prisons of Albania.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: Why did he end up there?

Pranvera Badivuku: Well here he was an enemy of the comminust regime back then, he became an enemy there in the favor of ex-Yugoslavia, I mean back then. I don’t really know the circumstances, historians know it better. I mean, his family was always worried about where he is, how he is, they did not know anything about him for seven years. Until they got the first letter from him from Albania, from the prisons in Albania, Tirana, Burrel, Fier, Çerma, different cities.

But, his hard life, his suffering, they all took another dimension when he got the opportunity to come back to Kosovo. And, it was 1966, here the conditions for Albanians were getting better. Because until then the maltreatment of families, the prosecution, people leaving to Turkey because of the tortures and so on didn’t stop… but in 1966 he was allowed to come back to us, the happiness our family felt was huge, and I’m sorry but I don’t think this happiness was felt… not just by our family, but by all citizens of Peja who knew he was an intellectual who studied in Torino. He completed the military academy there, and then he studied engineering, he had different job positions in Shkota, Peja, Tirana, but he still ended up in prisons.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: What was your father’s name?

Pranvera Badivuku: Shaban Basha. He also was Spain’s warrior with his friends from Peja, Xhemajl Kada, Emrush Miftari and then Mehmet Hasim Vokshin and some others from Albania. So given his hard hard life our family was very happy, even citizens of Peja were happy, they knew his intellect, they knew he spoke foreign languages, they knew he was an intellectual. His return happened to be the day of my engagement, so it was great joy.

Then he had a good life here, I mean among his family. We, me and my sister got married, and life went on with our mother, father and us. But, soon enough, my mother was young, she has two other children, a son and a daughter. So, my brother is… a little older than my daughter, so is my sister. So, they’re our biggest treasure, I mean, I can say that my father had a good, quiet life until he died in 1990.

This was normal, my family wasn’t the only one to go through his. There were many cases like these in Kosovo, especially intellectuals and traders, I think they were a target of the communist regime at the time. Now when I think about it, because back then I didn’t know what was their goal, but now, even from history, because Albanian people were always under the rule of others, how do I say it, they didn’t let us breath…

Kaltrina Krasniqi: Tell me about Peja. What kind of city was it?

Pranvera Badivuku: Well Peja was always a city that was characterized by its natural beauties. But of course the houses were classic and old. The house I lived in during my childhood with my family was beautiful but old. But, the main beauty of that house was its yard and garden. The garden had so many fruits…

Kaltrina Krasniqi: In which neighborhood?

Pranvera Badivuku: There are a few popular neighborhoods in Peja, Kapeshnica, Pohovc… I lived in Pohovc, near the Clock Tower, as it’s called. The river divided us from Kapeshnica. So, I remember the picnics we had with our family, with our neighbors. We went around Peja, often me and my friends went to Radavc, but also with my family, in Banja e Pejes, in Deçan. The sour water of Deçan was very characteristic, but I don’t know if they still use it. The majority of Peja’s beauties are used, but Deçan is different, I think those picnics, those parties we had there are no longer possible to do.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: Which school did you go to?

Pranvera Badivuku: I went to school… I registered in school early on. Actually when my sister started going to school, she was a year older than me, so I wanted to go to school too. So, I went to kindergarten when I was four and a half years old. Kindergarten then was like preschool now. I even have a picture from then, pictures bring out clearer memories than the mind. Sometimes I try to find my friends in that picture, even though it’s small, but I still know some of their names. So, I have memories.

For two years I was at the Shkolla e Madhe, it was the school of the city, it was old, then we moved to Karagaç. Karagaç is known for its beautiful park, near… I mean in Karagaç, we were pretty young, but we would go for walks at least once a week. We took advantage of nature. I remember the trips we took with the school, then the school programs which always impressed me, there was singing and so on.

I remember because the older children were in the school orchestra. Older students were involved with that, students played mandolins and so on. There was a lot of activity… as a city. I remember something, maybe it will seem interesting to you, during summer vacations courses were organized… since there wasn’t a lot of educational staff and everyone… so people who were educated had the opportunity to train as future teachers. So, for kids, us kids went there voluntarily, of course, the ones who wanted to, we went to school. The lectures were held in the now-gymnasium of Peja.

During the summer those teachers would come there to improve their teaching and at the end they would give us some symbolic gift, like a small ball or a book. Excellent students would get a book as a gift at the end of the school year.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: How did the end of the Second World War find you?

Pranvera Badivuku: Well I was…

Kaltrina Krasniqi: Very little.

Pranvera Badivuku: Little. I know that financial conditions, in every family, not just ours, weren’t very good. My mother was a very smart woman, she was educated, I mean she finished elementary school back then. They lived for a while in Albania, she was talented, we did handcrafts, but also the need to do that probably developed her skill.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: What was her name?

Pranvera Badivuku: Magbule. She is 91 years old. She lives in Canada with my brother and two sisters. So, she handcrafted. She sewed with a machine, she sewed with a needle and so on. So, whatever was needed, she made decorative flowers, she put on makeup and did hair for brides, she was talented. So, we survived. I can still imagine my grandmother working, she could make something out of nothing. She would especially make good bread, she would bake them with a saç,[1] with…

Most of the women, actually in Peja the women were very hardworking, they had their husbands but they were a helping hand for their husbands when it came to improving the family economy. Education was like a family tradition, how do I say it, so they did everything for us to get an education, just like other families. So there we saw our perspective and it’s understood that with the education of people the life of our people changed. What else do I remember from my childhood? {thinks}

From my childhood I remember, I mean, while I… While I was in Peja. Actually I only lived in Peja for 13 years, then we moved to Skopje, I went to music school there. So a part of my childhood was spent in Peja and then in Skopje, I came to Pristina after I got married, and I’ve been here for more than 50 years.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: Tell me, how did you go to Skopje?

Pranvera Badivuku: This is also a story connected to my family. I always loved singing, we had a radio in the house even though we didn’t have good financial conditions, but we all tried to at least have a radio at home. I would listen to the songs I liked there, I would sing. For me it was very entertaining when the xhagllixh came for different holidays.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: What are they?

Pranvera Badivuku: Xhagllixhi are instrumentalists, for example with a violin or a tambourine and they would sing neighborhood to neighborhood, they would come into a house’s yard and they would make a party, whoever let them in. I always liked those.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: What kind of music is that?

Pranvera Badivuku: Folk Albanian music, but usually Roma people would play. And it’s funny because I always sang and they say when you sing at the dining table you get married to a musician, you know. “Don’t,” my grandmother would say to me, “Don’t sing because then you will get married to a…” and I really got married to a musician (laughs) my husband was a violinist but unfortunately my grandmother was alive to tell me which one (laughs). This is a more cheerful story.

I wanted to narrate beautiful things from life here. I was always impressed by the Perparimi [Progress] Society in Peja, music, I mean, they would put on plays and concerts. But, it was characteristic that in the weeknd they would go and play in nature with their orchestra and their singers. And as a kid, we were living in Pohovc, the sounds would be heard in the city. It would be heard because back then there wasn’t much noise, and all of these pushed me toward music.

I wanted to study music, even though I didn’t know what was waiting for me in that school, but I wanted to. And my wish came true when we went to Skopje. You asked me why Skopje before, because my youngest [paternal] uncle had finished the technical school in Zagreb and he wasn’t able to find a job in Peja because he was the brother of the enemy. So, he researched and found a job in Skopje just when I was supposed to start high school.

So, I went to Skopje with my uncle. I was very good in the entrance exam, it was a hard exam, just like the exams for music school now. They see if you’re talented through a song, the rhythm and so on. So I passed all of them, I could even play violin. I was stuck at first but then I carried the violin with pride when I came… when I would cross the Vardar Bridge to go to the school.

I mean, we didn’t know, we didn’t have knowledge of serious music, now that it’s called classic music, or of different instruments.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: Was language a barrier …

Pranvera Badivuku: Well…

Kaltrina Krasniqi: Because you had to talk Macedonian.

Pranvera Badivuku: Well the language was, I was… Actually when the list of the people who got into the school was published I started thinking, I could have not gotten in, I could have not gotten in easly. But, luckily I got in and I was the only Albanian in that school. I was the only Albanian in the school, I didn’t understand Macedonian fully in the beginning but I understood Serbo-Croatian, I mean, we learned in school because we spoke it back then.

And for a semester I got better at the Macedonian language and I didn’t have any obstacles until I finished school. And, back then people were judgemental, I mean, we went there from Kosovo, but a Macedonian is the same as a Serb, for a while me and my uncle lived in the periphery of Skopje, the place is called Giorgio Petrov, I would travel by train. When the Macedionians would come, youngsters, “No, there are Albanians there…”  Begaj, tamo su šiptari you know, they didn’t want to meddle with Albanians.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: Not even on the train?

Pranvera Badivuku: Not even on the train. For example, the train was open, “Go away!” So, don’t go there because there are Albanians there. I don’t know how they brought up their children. Apparently they feed them with hatred from when they’re young, while for us it’s the opposite. As a nation we are more tolerant, softer, we find excuses for wicked actions of people… we, our family, we had many obstacles through life but we were never taught to hate, but we created that division in our subconsciousness. So, it’s normal to hate.

Some of my friends would say to me, “You don’t seem like an Albanian.” I don’t know how they thought it would be since I was the only Albanian there, I was just like the rest of the girls. I had a good time in school because I had a great will for the path I chose. So, my peers and teachers would treat me with respect. I especially liked the singing class, solfeggio and folklore. So, my graduation theme, with the help and suggestions of my teacher, I did the analysis of the theme, Albanian musical folklore.

Back then I didn’t have any contacts with Pristina. I would come to Peja during my school vacations and I didn’t know that music books existed. Lorenc Anton was one the pioneers of music, a folklorist who gathered songs from all regions of Kosovo and he had them in books. But, I didn’t know, and all those songs I knew, I also registered them with musical notes and analysed their melody, rhythm and so on.

At that time it was a little hard because they did it by hand, the pentagrams, for example when…

Kaltrina Krasniqi: You drew pentagrams?

Pranvera Badivuku: Yes, not for the songs, because we had the music notebooks with pentagrams, but the analysis of songs, or parts of songs that we did. I did all of them with ink… it was a lot of work, it’s sad that I don’t have them, there were no photocopies back then. So the theoretical part is somewhere in the house archive, while the other part no…

Kaltrina Krasniqi: What kind of city was Skopje at the time?

Pranvera Badivuku: Skopje, in comparison to Peja, was a bigger city, but not as big as it is now. Actually Skopje progressed after the earthquake of 1963. Then when the whole world wanted to help Skopje they built… the city was on flat land so they widened it and they merged with all the villages nearby. The old part was… I lived in the old city, I would pass through Bitpazar, through some alleys and would go to the old bridge of Skopje and on the right was my school, it was near. In front of it there was a gymnasium that was called Macedonian Women’s Gymnasium.

The gymnasium for Albanians was the gymnasium, actually it was Shkolla Normale[2] Zef Lush Marku. Later my sister moved here and she went to Shkolla Normale. For me it was interesting when I went to visit my sister at school because they were all Albanians, while here it was completely different and I was friends with me, but the course didn’t interest me.

I have very good memories from school. We went with the school’s choir in Slovenia, in Celje, Slovenia. That was probably the first time I went somewhere further as a high school student. I was impressed by the progression of Slovenian villages, when passing by them by bus we would see the beautiful houses and… I would compare them to our villages, the low, small houses, the grim rooms. I mean, there was a huge difference.

Our country was left out, not maybe there were some good moments, but there were always difficulties. They didn’t invest in the progress of Kosovo so we were always behind. So that’s why our people had dissatisfaction, they didn’t have anything to be thankful for. All those requests people had for a better life were very reasonable, thank God we are free today, we just need unity and strength to move forward.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: Explain, was it common for women of your generation to get an education?

Pranvera Badivuku: I think after World War Two it was a must to get an education, everyone, I mean the social circle I belonged to got an education…

Kaltrina Krasniqi: But in the school you went to in Macedonia…

Pranvera Badivuku: Yes.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: You said you were the only Albanian in the school…

Pranvera Badivuku: Yes.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: Music school, so there were no other girls, no other Albanians.

Pranvera Badivuku: No, no, there were no other boys or girls, I was the only one… after two years another girl went there, so there were two of us, I mean…

Kaltrina Krasniqi: Were Albanians from Macedonia very different…

Pranvera Badivuku: No, I think Albanians from Macedonia were more fanatic, more old-school, I think, that’s my impression. Because even after I finished school I went to a seminar in Tetovo and some friends who were also intellectuals and educational workers, and one of them would say to me, “We point with fingers, the woman who is working is…” they were labeled differently.

There were some intellectuals there also, but they were a few. Their outlook was more… and they still are like that in Macedonia.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: Tell me during the time you were in Skopje, Macedonia in general, did you socialize only with your sister and her friends or the Albanian community in general…

Pranvera Badivuku: Yes, with the Albanian community… our uncle would take us to the theatre constantly, and when I was in the second-third year of music school he would also take us to the opera because he wanted us to get acquainted with… So we would compensate with those visits. Back then we didn’t go out. There were more schools, learning, free activities. Music school… we didn’t have the same conditions as kids now have in music schools.

I didn’t have any instruments, the school gave me the violin. I didn’t have a piano, I had to go to school. Often we woke up at 4:00 am and we waited until the guard opened the door to get to the piano first so we could rehearse. So the conditions weren’t good, but the will, all of that… we had ambitions for our profession, for school, the ambition was more emphasized then than now.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: Tell me, what did you do after high school?

Pranvera Badivuku: After high school… actually, I finished high school in 1963, because music school lasted five years for those who didn’t have prior knowledge in music. So, I followed the preparatory year classes, and in that year our grade was determined, and it was determined whether you would continue classes there or you would have to change schools. I think that is right, at least you don’t try in vain. You won’t be in school for all of those years in vain, but you choose another profession.

So, from the kindergarten I was the only one who graduated, I mean among the girls, because there were more boys. Now it seems like I’m bragging but no, the will and talent, the hard work made it possible, hard work first. So, very early on, I was just a student when I created my first melodies. Because back then as homework we had to create melodies and based on that, based on the texts I found, based on children’s books I would make songs…

Kaltrina Krasniqi: Then you finished high school…

Pranvera Badivuku: Yes.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: And?

Pranvera Badivuku: After I finished high school, my [paternal] uncle always fantasized, he wanted to take me to Zagreb at the Music Academy,  but sadly… because there’s wasn’t one in Skopje, it only had the Pedagogical Academy, and I didn’t think I would gain anything from it because the music high school was good, I got a lot of knowledge there… I thought I wouldn’t have anything to learn there, it seemed like that to me.

But, I enrolled there anyway because I was forced to stay in Skopje, since my uncle was imprisoned again, now my uncle… everytime a diplomat would come from somewhere in the world, so as an educated man they would take him into isolation because the record got to Skopje after we did, because it was just one state back then. So the earthquake was a motive that the Russian president of the Sovient Union came, Khrushchev, Nikita Khrushchev to visit Skopje and they took him into isolation. But they didn’t release him for nine months, they were only allowed to hold him for that long without a trail, even though in the end he was declared not guilty, but my father was still in prisons in Albania. He was still considered the brother of the enemy so they imprisoned him.

So I was forced to work. There were some disorder from the earthquake in the city and I found a job in Saraj in Skopje, maybe you’ve heard of Saraj? I found a job in Saraj and I was forced because of my uncle… I couldn’t leave my uncle in prison and come back to Peja. But they were very welcoming in the place where I worked… I was young, I was 18 years old but I was supported by the director.

The school was in two languages, Macedonian and Albanian. The children were, the students were very good, well-behaved, simple, modest. It was a joy for them to have a female teacher, especially for music, and the classes weren’t only about music because the school was… I taught ninth graders. So, the director convinced me, “You have to teach other classes.” So I taught history and music to Macedonians and Albanians, history, knowledge of nature of society, what was its name, household education… so I would fill the number of classes that was required.

I learned history together with my students because it was a Macedonian school, so I would learn from the school books, but the students were very good, very quiet, well-behaved. So, with their help I passed these difficulties and I worked at the school with a great will, I formed the choir, free activities, I formed the orchestra. The director didn’t hold back, Besim Rusi, he would say, “We can buy whatever you need.” New instruments, mandoline… it was a tradition for school then to have…  these ensembles and soon… I think on the 28th, no I’m wrong, on the 29th of November we celebrated, we did a program at school.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: What was November 29?

Pranvera Badivuku: Republic Day.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: It’s important to mention.

Pranvera Badivuku: (laughs) I mean, of Yugoslavia. So with that program I won the sympathy of my friends and colleagues, students… but doing that job was a joy for me, I mean I was free at that time, a girl, I didn’t have other obligations so I spent my time at the school. I worked there for three years. I enrolled at the Pedagogical Academy, I passed some exams then I came back to Pristina because I got married.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: How did this happen, tell us a little…

Pranvera Badivuku: How we met? It happened… well music united us, we met at a concert, it was a spontaneous meeting then we continued that until we got married. We got married in ‘66, I came to Pristina and I continued working in education at Emin Duraku School, I worked there for a year. I worked with the same will and zeal, I formed the school choir, the school’s anniversary was in December. Emin Duraku was named after the hero Emin Duraku, and luckily I had a colleague of Albanian language who was a writer, he is still a writer.

He wrote the text about Emin Duraku, I composed the song, and it was an interesting program, back then directors of all schools were invited to the program. After that the director asked me to her office, she was Serbian… her last name was Radulović, but I don’t remember her name, she asked to move to Vuk Karadžić School, Elena Gjika now. It was more convenient because it was near the apartment where I lived… I continued working there with the same zeal, the same hard work… Actually I have worked in education for 15 years.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: Tell me about the moment when you came to Pristina… you came at a very specific moment, in 1966. What was Pristina like then?

Pranvera Badivuku: Well Pristina, as far as I remember, wasn’t a big city, it was smaller compared to Skopje, Skopje was a little bigger, it was bigger. I don’t know what to tell you, the city and the old part of the city were like the center…

Kaltrina Krasniqi: What was it like?

Pranvera Badivuku: Well like this… I don’t remember much but I know there were some stores in the center where the government is now. There was a street with stores on both sides, they were demolished recently when the shopping mall was built. There were some alleys like now in the periphery of the city. The city was up to Radio Pristina, somewhere around there, then they started to build it even further. Maybe it started before that but I don’t remember.

I remember the Aktash neighborhood, is it still called Aktash? New houses started getting built there but the roads were a mess, it was muddy, it was the kind of mud that stuck to your shoes, so the roads weren’t asphalted. Like this.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: Do you remember any building that was getting built?

Pranvera Badivuku: I don’t remember. I don’t…

Kaltrina Krasniqi: Grand?

Pranvera Badivuku: Grand yes, I celebrated the new year there, I mean when Grand opened.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: Which year?

Pranvera Badivuku: To tell you the truth, I don’t exactly remember, I don’t know, I don’t remember. But my husband was a musician and he played music there that night. I know that it was the first year that Grand opened, that… they were getting prepared for new year’s eve but I don’t remember the year.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: Do you remember what kind of party was it?

Pranvera Badivuku: New Year’s Eve..

Kaltrina Krasniqi: Yes, yes, I understand, but who organized, who was there?

Pranvera Badivuku: Just like how New Year’s Eves are celebrated in restaurants, with music, fun. At my time there was an artistic year for musicians, after a week or so, the first week after the new year. Mostly music and theater artists would gather there. I mean, it was a smaller circle and it was interesting, it was good.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: Where would this be organized?

Pranvera Badivuku: In Pristina in some restaurants.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: Wasn’t it specific?

Pranvera Badivuku: Or at the Armata, or, or at Grand, or somewhere like this. There weren’t many places back then, or… in Božur, that’s what it was called. It was organized in places like this.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: So you taught at Elena Gjika for 15 years?

Pranvera Badivuku: All the education…

Kaltrina Krasniqi: Working in education…

Pranvera Badivuku: Working in education. Then with my active work in television with programs that I would prepare, I created another orchestra at Vuk Karadžić. The instruments I found at the school were deteriorated, old and I saw some old instruments for kids called Hofner instruments. Karl Hofner is a very famous composer, especially for choir and orchestra. Apparently those instruments are named after him.

They are flutes, block flutes, melodies, xylophones, metallophones and other rhythm instruments. I thought it would be more attractive for the children I was working with and it turned out I was right. Block flute was very easy to learn. So I put them on the lesson plan and now, I think, from then the block flute remains in the lesson plans of schools.

I was very happy with the work I did and I always considered myself lucky that I did music and that I was committed to a job that I loved. I think it’s hard to have a job you don’t love, and I notice that today there are a lot of cases where they study something and do something else entirely. I’ll say it again, my generation was a little… we were few in numbers but education brought good things to us. We were able to create, to give.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: And then you got involved in RTP and…

Pranvera Badivuku: Then with my job that was… I was very successful, even at the last school I worked in, Elena Gjika, I worked there for eleven years, eleven years or more.  I was affirmed by the programs I would prepare with the children, we would even show them on television. So then… I did a lot of orchestrations for this ensemble…

Kaltrina Krasniqi: Was it the ensemble of the city or…

Pranvera Badivuku: No, no, school’s ensemble, simple. Those dam, dung, dam, dung {onomatopoeic} those instruments weren’t that good, but they were attractive for the children. But I also had the group of children who sang while the orchestra accompanied them, children’s songs and so on, we recorded around 20 songs at Radio Pristina. We went there, it was a special experience for the children to go there and record songs they sang themselves, a simple children’s ensemble.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: Where would you do the recording?

Pranvera Badivuku: Radio Pristina’s studio.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: You have to keep in mind that we are another generation and we don’t know…

Pranvera Badivuku: You don’t know. Then I was offered by the director of the musical production…

Kaltrina Krasniqi: Of the radio.

Pranvera Badivuku: Of the radio, to move to the children’s editorial office but in production. Now I’ll explain to you what production is. Since I would still be working with children I didn’t hesitate. So from 1979 I started working on music production then editor and producer of children’s music. Production… the Radio’s building, I mean, there was the discotheque, the note office, the studio where the recordings were done. The production, the journalists…

Kaltrina Krasniqi: The discotheque, how was it? You have to explain. Was it like a music archive or?

Pranvera Badivuku: Yes. That’s where all the recording material over the years would be saved, with all the notes. For authors, music authors, text authors, orchestration, when we would finish our work in production we would submit it to the discotheque. So, music production was the realization of all things in music that were recorded, different songs.

Orchestras were within the production. Folk orchestra, Turkish folk orchestra existed, it was, I mean, at the time when I worked there, there was a professional choir, symphony orchestra, even though it wasn’t complete, it was always completed with outside staff. And all their work was recorded. Everyone had their monthly programs that they had to fulfill, they had to realize those programs.

It was unfortunate that we only had one studio, only one music studio in Kosovo. Because… for example I was a kid’s editor, I was obliged, it was my duty to create new songs for composers and talented kids at that time. So, the preparation of the song would take longer. The author would submit that song and it would be assessed by the commission, they would assess if the text is appropriate for kids, then it would go to orchestration, after that the music notes were written for each member of the orchestra to…

Kaltrina Krasniqi: Read.

Pranvera Badivuku: Yes, and then the orchestra would record. And in the end the singer would join. So it was a lot of work, it would take time. So we couldn’t make more than ten songs a month.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: You did a lot.

Pranvera Badivuku: (Laughs). At a time, Zejnullah Hoti, a poet… he worked in the children’s newsroom and a poet…. He had many beautiful poems that I used for my work, he said, “The song factory,” you know, it called it a song factory. Honestly, with the conditions we had, there was just one studio all over Kosovo, it was a huge achievement. I don’t know… they also worked there during the night, they didn’t rest. Some… since we worked with children we had the advantage of working during the day. And then the cultural and artistic societies recorded in that studio.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: Describe what that studio was like…

Pranvera Badivuku: Music…

Kaltrina Krasniqi: The atmosphere in that studio.

Pranvera Badivuku: Folk music, festivals, everything was recorded in that studio. It was like a hall with… it was closed, soundproof, and then there was another part where the directors who recorded everything worked, the singer was on the other side. The music would play and… Sometimes I would go inside, sometimes I would direct the children from upstairs. It was, I mean, it was beautiful, it was good. With the children’s choir we had a radio that was hosted by my colleague Ramadan Ramadani. But I mean that we worked, we worked and the children came with joy because they also made new friends, they felt… they expressed their joy through songs. I had created a group of songs because there was a lot of interest in singing, but not everyone could be a soloist, so I would fulfill their wishes with that group.

[1]  A domed round iron plate for cooking.

[2] The Shkolla Normale opened in Gjakova in 1948 to train the teachers needed for the newly opened schools. With the exception of a brief interlude during the Italian Fascist occupation of Kosovo during the Second World War, these were the first schools in Albanian language that Kosovo ever had. In 1953, the Shkolla Normale moved to Pristina.

Part Two

Pranvera Badivuku: We were in Akorde many times. Akorde

Kaltrina Krasniqi: What was it, explain?

Pranvera Badivuku: Akordet e Kosovës [Kosovo’s Chords], was a music festival for children that was held yearly, with folk music and modern music, so there were three nights each year…

Kaltrina Krasniqi: When?

Pranvera Badivuku: Usually in the last month of the year, apparently they could never get it ready on time, it was always delayed. As far as I remember it was at the end of the year, it wasn’t a celebration just for the people who worked there but for the whole city, it was something new. We heard new singers, we heard new songs, I mean, most of the composers got their affirmation there, singers also.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: Where was it held?

Pranvera Badivuku: Usually in Pristina, but sometimes in other cities.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: What halls?

Pranvera Badivuku: Halls… it was sometimes held in the theatre, in the theatre I think, also in the Armata, back then it was functional, now I don’t know if it exists. It was held in the Shock Absorber Factory also…

Kaltrina Krasniqi: What about in Boro Ramiz in the Red Hall?

Pranvera Badivuku: Yes, when the Boro Ramiz was built in the Red Hall, I mean the last years. It started in 1963. The first festival of Akordet e Kosoves was in 1963 and sadly until 1989… because in 1990 they closed us down, they fired us from our jobs. Many tragic events happened in 1990 in our country. All the institutions were ruined, they took them, the autonomy was abolished, I mean, you probably know these. So when the television closed down everything faded out for us.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: Do you remember when it closed down and how it happened?

Pranvera Badivuku: It’s very interesting how it happened. I was… because it happened at 3:00 in the afternoon, on July 5, 1990, July, 1990. I was at home and I was listening to the news, because radio was alway part of our lives, and suddenly it stopped. My husband was working in the symphony orchestra and when he came he told us that they closed it down, they fired all the workers in the radio and television and so on.

We would go to protests everyday but it was in vain. They had some conditions if we wanted to go back to work, you know, different provocations. So, we were left outside of it. The same thing happened to Rilindja and other institutions. We thought it wasn’t gonna last, but it lasted quite a lot. After liberation…

Kaltrina Krasniqi: Tell me… let’s not talk about liberation yet, what were the ‘90s like for you? You were very engaged.

Pranvera Badivuku: The ‘90s actually… not just for us, but everybody was unemployed, me and my husband…

Kaltrina Krasniqi: Who was your husband once again?

Pranvera Badivuku: Hysen Badivuku was my husband, a violinist from Vushtrri. He was from a popular family in Vushtrri, he studied in Skopje, that’s where we met and started our relationship and we lived in Pristina. He was in the folk and symphony orchestra of the Radio, then later, I started working there as an editor and producer.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: Do you children?

Pranvera Badivuku: We have two daughters. My husband passed away a year and a half ago. My two daughters are in the music world. Our family was… maybe since we loved our profession, we… seeing they were talented we may have affected that they chose this profession. My oldest daughter, Sihana Badivuku is a violinist, while Zana, Zana Badivuku is a pianist but also in solfeggio… she has a master’s degree. So,  she is a pianist and a solfeggio.

She teaches… they’re both professors at the Faculty of Music Arts. The ‘90 were hard for many families, but thanks to music we survived. My husband, my husband was very outgoing and helpful, he played in different restaurants, he played at Grand until they fired them and didn’t allow Albanian music there. So, he also played music in Macedonia for many years. So those years passed by hoping…

Kaltrina Krasniqi: You continued to live in Pristina?

Pranvera Badivuku: Yes, yes, we were in Pristina all the time.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: What was the atmosphere in Pristina like in those years?

Pranvera Badivuku: The atmosphere in Pristina was… I know that we were very compact, we were very connected with our friends, with… people in general. There was a lot of solidarity among people, people were human, there were many protests held, student’s protests, women’s protests. I mean, those of the miners are… it was a very hard period of time, I mean, we were part of all of them, I mean, it was a total dissatisfaction, in general.

It was… those were very hard years but we survived just like our ancestors did, our mothers, grandmother and so on, we also had a hard period of our life.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: What was like it for you to pass by Radio Pristina when…

Pranvera Badivuku: Very hard, very hard, very hard. I couldn’t even look at it. But hoping that one day we would continue where we left off, but that didn’t happen. Because after the war, I mean, RTP [Radio Television of Pristina] became RTK [Radio Television of Kosovo], it was good for journalists because a lot of televisions and radio stations were opened, but music was left behind. The orchestra was created but within the city, production doesn’t exist in RTK at all.

Even that one orchestra that was created with many difficulties was transformed and now there isn’t any kind of orchestra. And now there is only one radio, a house without news isn’t enough. One public radio.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: Before we start talking about the other phase, I’m interested to know what happened to you during the war? What was it like?

Pranvera Badivuku: During the war…

Kaltrina Krasniqi: Do you remember when the bombing happened, those events?

Pranvera Badivuku: We were happy, because that’s what we asked for but that’s also when they started to make people leave Kosovo. They came to our building…

Kaltrina Krasniqi: Where do you live?

Pranvera Badivuku: In the center, we lived behind the national theatre. And a familiar face, a young Serbian neighbor came and said, “For your own safety you have to leave.” And we left. We had an old car and we decided to leave with another neighbor. We didn’t even drive 100 meters and the police stopped us, they told us to get out of the car, “Where are you going?” “Well…” I said, “They made us leave our house.” “Where?” “Well,” I said, “Come, you’ll see.” Because we were still near the building.

And there was Serbian police yelling, “You wanted NATO, you asked for NATO. Execute them!” But humans are interesting, in those moments we weren’t scared.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: They made you leave?

Pranvera Badivuku: They made us leave our apartment and we were forced… but there was no exit, no… the city was surrounded and there was nowhere to go.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: Who were you with?

Pranvera Badivuku: I was… like this, me, my husband, a neighbor with her two children, a girl and a boy. The boy was around 15-16 years old. We didn’t have a place to go to. I came over at my uncle’s house in Bregu i Diellit, our neighbor went at her sister’s house, also in Bregu i Diellit. And then we found out that there was a crowd of people who were going to leave from Elena Gjika School, Vuk Karadžić back then, would be allowed to leave the city.

So we joined that crowd of people, and that ground was so huge that when we passed by our apartment we saw people standing in front of the door… armed. We thought, why is there a need to have guards in our building? But apparently it was like a shelter for them, they picked it for themselves, for their protection.

And we headed to Skopje, to Macedonia but the crowd was so huge that the night came and we were still on the street. We were in Elez Han, once…

Kaltrina Krasniqi: How did you get to Elez Han?

Pranvera Badivuku: There were no obstacles because…

Kaltrina Krasniqi: By train or by car?

Pranvera Badivuku: No, no, by car. That old car, we spent the night there. In the morning we were still sleepy, I mean, we were sitting, in the early morning we heard some noises, not noises, but something like in the movies. We say people getting off trucks. They were all citizens of Pristina, they brought them and now they had to walk towards the borders. That… it was horrible. Just like in movies, as if it was… it didn’t seem like reality.

That created a… it made it harder to pass the border because they were passing it on foot, they didn’t allow us with cars. We stayed for ten days at the border, eight… we didn’t have much food, we took what we could, some cookies, my neighbor took some cheese and so on. And… kids would eat the cookies because we stayed there for eight days.

Women proved themselves again, they survived. Because the villages of Elez Han were emptied, in those houses there was flour, you know, so they survived. We were pretty close to the border but they didn’t allow us to pass because apparently they were waiting to set up the camp, because it was horrible on the other side of the border, Bllaca, this was mentioned in different stories and it really was like that.

Because I… on the eighth day they allowed around 15 cars, those who were more persistent, to pass the border. The others were sent back to Kosovo or they went some other direction. I went to my daughter’s house. My daughter is married in Skopje, Sihana. When we went there, I mean the situation was horrible. We saw some people we knew passing the border by food, but then when we passed it we saw them passing the border at the same time as us. They were so tired, it was a very hard time, it rained, they had to walk in the mud in Bllaca. The conditions were horrible. People died… there at the border.

When we went to my daughter’s house there were already other families there (laughs). They had some friends from Pristina but we moved in there. Each of us had a room so there weren’t any problems. Me and my sister-in-law, she was also there. She left to go somewhere else but she came back at Sihana’s house, we stayed there for a while… til June. From… we went… we… on March 25 we were banned from our house, the bombings happen on the 24th.

So, I mean, until the beginning of June when the liberation was declared, that’s when we came back. But there… we tried to adopt, we tried to support each other, to… it was good, it was my daughter’s house. I didn’t want to go abroad because my other daughter was in Peja, they headed in another direction. They went to Montenegro, it was horrible on that side.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: What was your house like when you came back?

Pranvera Badivuku: We found the house empty, totally, totally empty. We had a neighbor there, but they moved, Serbs, they escaped. And after some time, we decided to open their door, us neighbors. And we found in there most of the things packed and unpacked. You know, very, I don’t know what did they do, the things were all over the place. The machine, for example, was ruined, an old stove was taken upstairs, you know, I don’t know how did they carried them, those things. There was a lot of disorder

The buildings… empty apartments, without anything inside them. They didn’t touch the pictures, and some documents. Because that was with all the building. And one, one resident there, she was Dalmatian, older, she didn’t have anywhere to go, so she stayed there. She told us that they brought the truck to the entry, so we couldn’t see what they took, what are they loading. Cassettes, we had a lot of video cassettes, all with serious music, recorded, different kinds. My husband was fond of classical music, he used to record instrumentals, orchestras, of different kinds.

We found those in another building. So, unexplained things happened, I don’t know, I don’t know. But it’s interesting how one remembers everything he had, it happened a few times, people don’t remember everything they have, but if the things are missing… It was a bit funny. I made the list of everything that was missing because I knew what I had in my cabinet. Only notes, notes, my songs and so, I, I threw them behind the cabinet, there was free space but couldn’t go down further, I found them there, they didn’t touch it. Like this.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: What was the city like at that time?

Pranvera Badivuku: When we got back, you couldn’t see any livestock in the fields, nothing alive I think, even birds or something, so it was totally… I don’t know, without anything. And here some shops started opening, but you couldn’t find anything. Then slowly life started going back to normal. But we forget things, especially those that happened more recently (laughs).

Kaltrina Krasniqi: Let’s go back to when you were working at the Radio. How would you briefly describe… you said there was a very organized system where… people paid attention to what was being recorded, where was it being recorded…

Pranvera Badivuku: There were rules. There was… I mean everything that we produced beforehand was discussed. As I told you, there was a commission for song selection. I am not speaking about festivals, I speak about the day-to-day work. There were rules. There was a writer that we had, Enver Gjerqeku, who reviewed the lyrics and the melody. There was the Commission, the composers that were working at the Radio.  And, I mean, then the permit for production was given. Existed some, some principles, some rules, which I think were quite positive.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: Tell me… at that time probably most of the songs you wrote…

Pranvera Badivuku: Actually I started very young, as a student at the music school, those were children’s songs, children’s songs. I went to Flaka e Vllazerimit [Brotherhood Flame] with a friend in Skopje, it had the children’s column. Rilindja also had the children’s column Flaka e Vllazerimit. I was happy I wrote a song and I sent it to the editorial office. They doubtfully looked at me, “Did you write it yourself or did you copy it somewhere?”

But I wasn’t discouraged because of course I was too young to convince them that I wrote that song, but I didn’t back down. Soon I sent another song and they published it, and it continued like that. My first collaboration was with Flaka e Vllaznimit, I would publish them there. Now my songs were published. My teachers who worked in different schools would take them if they wanted…

Kaltrina Krasniqi: Was this a daily newspaper?

Pranvera Badivuku: It was… I don’t remember if it was weekly or… I think it was a weekly newspaper.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: So the music notes would be published there?

Pranvera Badivuku: Yes, yes. In the kid’s page… there was a page for kids, there would be stories, poems which were either written by students or grown-ups, but also songs. So it would be on that page. So, I would  submit my work to Flaka e Vllaznimit.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: So the music notes were also shown there?

Pranvera Badivuku: With music notes. I would write the notes and submit it. Later…

Kaltrina Krasniqi: The reason why I…

Pranvera Badivuku: Yes.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: The reason why I’m going back to that is because what you’re talking about is a very old system, and no one published songs like that anymore…

Prannera Badivuku: Yes, that’s how I did it. Now it’s different. It’s weird for us. In the old system that’s how we submitted the songs, later… actually after I finished music school I submitted… after I heard the first festival of Akordet e Kosoves, I submitted a song to the Radio, a folk song, they accepted it. It was the first song that was accepted. My husband notified me that it was accepted.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: Which song was it?

Pranvera Badivuku: The song was… a song Vashë e bukur, unë të du [Beautiful girl, I love you]. My cousin gave me the lyrics so I wrote the melody… it’s good, but it isn’t sung as much because… it’s old. Maybe it still exists in the Radio somewhere, Xhejlane Broqi sang it. Xhejlane Broqi was from Peja, there were many singers from Peja even then. She was young and very talented, also Gonxhe Gashi, then later Adem Ejupi, many singers from Peja.

So, soon enough I wrote another song. I submitted it to the radio again. I was still living in Skopje back then. That song was sung by Liljana Çavolli. It’s interesting because I slept at Lilijana’s house when I came for the enrollment exam. Back then my [paternal] uncle had just moved there. So, Liliana sang it, the song was called Të due shumë qyteti im [I love you a lot, my city] from the nostalgia for the city I was born in Peja, I wrote the lyrics myself. So I also tried writing lyrics.

So these were my first songs. I was part of the festival for the first time after I came to Pristina. It was in 1967, with a children’s song. Then later, in 1973, I participated with a song which brought me success called Eja, eja e bardha verë [Come, come white summer]. Later Esat Bicurri sang it, he is a victim of the last war. Very successfully, he was a young boy with a special voice, a very beautiful tenor and he won first place and the Golden Ocarina.

The Ocarina was the festival’s symbol. It would sometimes be given by the jury and sometimes from the audience, but it was part of the festival’s awards. The Okarina is an old instrument that was discovered by archeological discoveries in Runik I think, Skenderaj somewhere there. It was decorated in an interesting way, Simon Shiroka decorated it with filigree, master of that craft, I mean, with silver and gold. It was beautiful.

Now I have five Ocarinas, I mean I won five times…. With the Ocarina. But I got two Ocarinas in the same year, that year the management made some changes… back then there was a factory which was called FAMIPA in Prizren that worked with silver and gold, so they made them that year. But those Ocarinas don’t even come close to the beauty of Simon’s work.

In ‘74 I wrote the famous song that is still listened to a lot by people, E kujtoj atë takim [I remember that meeting] or Ma fal atë buzëqeshje [Give me that smile]…

Kaltrina Krasniqi: You wrote it?

Pranvera Badivuku: Yes. it was sung by Esat Bicurri and… I mean people still sing that song to this day from 1974, I think there’s no one who doesn’t know that song, right? (laughs) It was also sung in Albania when the artistic troupe of Kosovo went there for the first time, maybe not the first time, but they went there for a visit. Nexhmije Pagarusha sang it with new orchestration. Then people in Albania also sang it, and here, especially after the war.

So, the song was lucky, because it’s important to be lucky… I have many many other beautiful songs but they were forgotten. Some make it through. I…

Kaltrina Krasniqi: Were you able to…

Pranvera Badivuku: I participated in the festival regularly since that year, ‘73, I participated almost regularly… every year in Akorde, once a year. It was a celebration for everyone, we were all excited, we always expected a more special program because the preparations for Akorde were for a bigger orchestra, a bigger ensemble. They were organized better and… so we wanted our songs to be in the festival.

In ‘83 I wrote a song that I dedicated to the festival, it was the 20th anniversary of the festival and with the collaborator… actually the poet Zejnullah Halili, I said, “Please write the lyrics for the 20th anniversary of the festival.” So he wrote the lyrics and I wrote the melody. That song sounded like a festival’s anthem. Bashkim Baxhuku sang it beautifully, he was a young boy with an amazing potential with the Kosovaret octet.

It was a song different from all the other songs, and it won all the awards in 1983. 1984 was also a successful year because I won two Ocarinas. One for the folk song and the other for the children’s song. The children’s song was Pranë burimit dorë për dore [Near the stream hand by hand] I don’t know if you’ve heard it? I don’t want to talk about where it is being used now. It was a cute, three little girls came to stage in traditional clothes and a little boy, he was barely five years old, accompanied them with a çifteli.[1]

It was attractive and in a fold melody. So it won the Golden Ocarina. Sebahate Berlajolli sang the other song, I don’t know if you remember that singer, you’re young. She is from Peja. So, I won five of them. The other year until ‘89, because that was the last year… from the ‘70s I won first place many times but not Ocarina, only with the evaluation of the jury.

Also in the ‘80s… I mean in the ‘80s I participated in festivals, up until ‘89. Apart from Akordet e Kosoves there was another children’s music festival in Gjakova. That festival didn’t stop in the ‘90s, it continued having festivals, not regularly, but there were festivals. So I got two awards in a row there with children’s songs, first place. Then since everything was closed here in the ‘90s, I started to submit my songs to Shkoder.

There were some talented kids so they also had fun there. For me it was a fulfillment, when I saw that my songs were being sung, it kept me going.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: Where did you realize these songs in the ‘90s since the studio didn’t exist anymore?

Pranvera Badivuku: Back then you didn’t need to record the song, you would just write the music notes. It wasn’t the same as now, they just record the song and then sing it playback, it wasn’t like that. This has changed. Then it was all about music notes, you just submitted the music notes. We would submit two copies of the notes when we participated in festivals. They were all anonymous, we didn’t write the names, we would write some digits and they would only open the envelope with the digit after they accepted the song. I mean, this is how it worked for festivals, not for regular programs.

We were in the service of, actually of the radio and television. For the television, several songs for different shows, for different seasons of the year, or for the months of the year. Then, we would record children’s songs on the radio.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: How did you come across talented children?

Pranvera Badivuku: The talented children we met in schools, contacts with teachers, they would propose, “This kid is… has a voice, a talent” and so on. Some came forward themselves and I tested them. Those that had more voice and talent I engaged them as soloists, the others in the choir.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: Then during the ‘90s did you have the same opportunities, so that festival on Gjakova was still going on, even though not regularly, then also Zambaku i Prizrenit [Prizren’s Lily]…

Pranvera Badivuku: Yes alo…

Kaltrina Krasniqi: Which stopped…

Pranvera Badivuku: It didn’t stop completely. It was active during some years. Actually in 1997 in Zambaku i Prizrenit I won first place with Edona Llaloshi with one of my songs in ‘97. So, it existed but I wasn’t very involved, you know? I mostly… those years I mostly did children’s songs. There was a festival in Prishtina Kanga e Pranveres [Spring’s Song], then it changed the name to Show Fest. But all of those festivals faded away after the war.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: What was the beauty of festivals?

Pranvera Badivuku: Well the beauty of festivals was, I mean… as author or as organizer?

Kaltrina Krasniqi: In both aspects.

Pranvera Badivuku: As organizer of the children’s festival I was very happy, we were very committed because we sang for a long time, I mean, the children sang live, not played back. It was a big responsibility, how will the children sing? How will they do it? Because there were children of different ages, but luckily our children are very talented, we are very talented people as a nation, and now that… I mean, there are talents in all the regions. But our singers are very successful all over the world, but also in Kosovo.

The festival was important back then because it always had new things. Each composer who wrote songs tried to be as original as they could, they weren’t… maybe the influences were smaller back then. We followed festivals that were held in ex-Yugoslavia’s time, in Belgrade Pranvera e Beogradit [Belgrade’s Spring]. The Zagreb’s festival. Even the ones in Sarajevo… Actually I participated in Sarajevo with a children’s song, I think it was in the ‘90s, or before. I don’t remember exactly.

It was before the war in Sarajevo. I also participated in Sarajevo twice with folk songs. Like this.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: Were there many women composers in your generation or?

Pranvera Badivuku: You know, maybe more… I am the only one who worked on this profession, and I still do, some started and quit. But they mostly did it out of necessity. For example, we didn’t have original children’s songs. The songs were translated from Serbian or… songs with that kind of lyrics. Now some music teacher may feel the need to create a simple, easy melody with Albanian lyrics, just so it is in Albanian.

So, I think, for example, Sevime Gjinali, she is the first song composer and she has many beautiful folk songs, she also composed children’s songs. But they’re not… there were other women but they didn’t commit for long… I have many colleagues, Selveti Krasniqi, she is the first who brought her children’s songs to my editorial office. I encouraged her. I tried to push them all towards creating.

One festival… Women dominated in that festival. There were five or six children’s music authors, but not many did folk music. Maybe this is what distinguishes me from the rest, I worked in cultivating and creating music for a longer time. Not just folk, but also soft music, children’s music…

Kaltrina Krasniqi: What did you do after the war?

Pranvera Badivuku: Well even after the war… I mostly created children’s songs, because there were many festivals, many festivals. Many festivals were organized. Peja, each city would organize their festival, so in Peja, Gjakova, Prizren, Ferizaj, Pristina, Polifest, Show Fest. I mean there were many festivals for some years. This period of creativity was mostly about children’s music, in the meantime I also worked on folk music but they’re not professionally done.

They’re not produced because now as you said the system has changed. People make songs because they want them to be hits, they want to gain something from them. It’s a shame that there isn’t any institutional way of production, where songs who didn’t need to pay for anything would be done. That’s what we’re missing.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: Why is you name Pranvera?

Pranvera Badivuku: My mother picked it (laughs). My mother, my mother. Even though I was born in winter.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: Really?

Pranvera Badivuku: Yes, yes, Pranvera. My sister Aferdita, my brother Genc, my other sister Besnike. We all have Albanian names.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: This was influenced by…

Pranvera Badivuku: My mother, my mother. My mother was a very smart, intelligent woman, even though she was young she knew how to preserve her dignity. She had a… because during the ‘40s most of the families who had means were supplied with clothes from Italy. It was trendy, just like going to different cities today. So she had many interesting things and often she would sew shirts and dresses for us from her clothes. I know she would order from the shoe repairman… I don’t know where she would take those books with different shoe models. She also made shoes out of her old bags, a very beautiful matching of colors. Because back then there were craftsmen who did these things, she even made us sandals. She was talented. She was very creative.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: With which one of your siblings were you closest to?

Pranvera Badivuku: I was the closest with the one with the least age difference, we grew up together. The two others are closer to my kids (laughs), because they’re all grown up, too.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: If you don’t have anything to add Mrs. Pranvers, or maybe something we didn’t ask you..

Pranvera Badivuku: I don’t know. I am not used to these kinds of interviews. Usually I talked more about my work, about my songs. So, I want to say once again that I was lucky because I love my profession, creating songs. I won’t stop as long as I am healthy. Time after time I still work.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: Actually I wanted to ask one more question about the archive. Were the materials that were composed since the ‘60s archived…

Pranvera Badivuku: Well, I don’t know how… I think it’s chaotic in RTK now, that’s what they show. It takes a lot of work to digitize those materials. Then in the beginning, during the liberation they said that a place atRadio Television was burned down. That’s where the music notes were. Now I don’t know how that building got burned.

Now in archives, the material… it takes a lot of work. Researchers, those materials need to be found. From what I’ve learned from my colleagues, they’re digitizing the music programs, I mean, those old tapes that were recorded. But there’s a lot of work there. Probably a whole staff is needed to work on it. So the capacity of workers is not enough. And some of the old songs are going through the programs, even though I don’t listen to the radio much now, we watch more TV.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: Can you tell us how the transformation of RTP to RTK happened, even though the working staff were…

Pranvera Badivuku: I don’t know. Some continued working there, some didn’t. Maybe they were younger or… but there aren’t any in production. Production isn’t included.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: Because there’s no production?

Pranvera Badivuku: Because there’s no production.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: Thank you very much Mrs. Pranvera.

Pranvera Badivuku: I don’t know if I was able to fulfill your requirements, because as I said I was used to different kinds of interviews. I usually talked more about my profession, here I had to talk more about my life.

[1] Two-string instrument with a long neck, played in Northern Albania and Kosovo, used to play folk songs and epics.

Download PDF