By Anne Ryan
Oda Quartet singlehandedly is transforming Albanian ancestral stories into music when they perform Twilight In The Vineyard at Aquila’s Nest Vineyards on Saturday, November 27th at 6 p.m to celebrate Albania’s Independence Day. A portion of the proceeds from ticket sales will benefit the Albanian Youth Center, founded by Albanian-American philanthropist and businessman Richard Lukaj of Greenwich.
A brand rooted in gratitude, Aquila’s Nest Vineyards was co-founded by Neviana Zhgaba and Ardian Llomi. This husband-wife team were determined to blend three passions – winemaking, mythology and art – all inspired by their Albanian roots. The brand consistently supports causes and communities that are important to the heritage of the family – from sponsoring the Albanian American Festival of Waterbury, showcasing Albanian storytelling as part of their business brand, hosting the Connecticut Albanian Dance Group to perform dances from all parts of Albania on their annual grape harvest festival, to creating opportunities to help absorb the Albanian culture into American culture.
“The Albanian Youth Center was founded to facilitate and preserve the Albanian heritage to Albanian-American youth and relies on donations from individuals and companies like ours to provide support and resources to help children to aim high and make a difference in becoming ambassadors for Albania,” explained Zhgaba a mother of two young boys. “Hosting Oda Quartet as well as the Waterbury Albanian Dance troupe, exposes our guests to Albania’s language, history, culture and art.”
Returning to the vineyard this fall, Oda Quartet’s concert performance will include Tango Trios, a full-length performance of their latest album, MUZGU and a selection of Broadway musical pieces, ancient Albanian songs, as well as French Chansons.
In a sense, Oda Quartet, is a cultural ambassador of Albanian culture. Ergin Oda, the founding member is from Mitrovica, Kosova, and is the first Albanian soloist to perform with the New York City Master Chorale. Playing the baritone horn, Oda studied music at the University of Prishtina as well as the Vienna Conservatorium.
Beside Oda, the quartet includes New York City-based concert cellist and native of Albania, Gjilberta Lucaj, whose solo career started at the age of 13, performing in the Vatican for Pope John Paul II. Joining them is Joana Kaimi, a violin virtuoso, who recently moved to the United States from Albania, who recently performed at the prestigious Carnegie Hall concert venue.
Together, these four individually acclaimed artists aim to reach a global audience by mixing world-wide genres and cultures. Oda goes on to explain, “Amongst our rich selection of musical pieces, we are performing Albanian music for Western audiences, as such representing Albania globally. Music is a universal language that brings us together.” he concluded.
Tickets for the performance are $49 and can be purchased online at Aquila’s Nest Vineyards (Holiday Special: Soirée with Oda Quartet (aquilasnestvineyards.com).