Yll Limani is perhaps the most outstanding newcomer in the Albanian music scene. He just released his first EP and listening to it for the first time was a complete delight for the soul. It’s an overall traditional Albanian and Mediterranean tune, full of Albanian traditional and modern sounds. Some of the tracks use epic ensembles of Albanian folk instruments. The five-track record showcases his Gheg-Albanian heritage very well, which combines various styles, including Albanian ethnic/folk, pop, soul, jazz, and serenata from Korçë.

Let’s start with:

The EP kicks off with “Lshoja zanin”. It is an ethnic-folklore, pop track propelled by plenty of Albanian instruments. You can hear the calming sounds of the Fyell brezi, an ancient Albanian flute, along with the drums of the Tupana, which together make it more powerful. It’s amazing and surely the highlight of the EP. The emotional ballad takes a deep dive into feelings of disappointment and heartbreak. Ylli desperately asks his beloved girlfriend why she forsakes him, despite his promising to love her forever.

We continue with:

“Qaj” is the EP’s second song. It combines the ethnic-pop and Albanian serenata, typical from Korçë, genres with Balkan influences as well as an affectionating instrumentation. The sounds of the Ottoman Bouzouki are just captivating. “Qaj” sings of a failed relationship, during which Ylli becomes very nostalgic while acknowledging its sorrowful culmination. “Qaj” is beautifully cooked and would be a perfect entry for Albania/Kosovo at the Eurovision Song Contest. We would love to see Ylli at the contest.

The next song is:

‘Se ti je gënjeshtare/ You’re a liar’. “Gënjeshtare” is the succeeding song. It’s a great composition with a blend of magnificent Spanish guitars and an exciting build up. The production is Albanian pop-jazz done absolutely right. Here, Ylli passionately sings in frustration. He relives the aftermath of a broken and failing relationship. Combined with his reflection of deceptiveness and mistreatment, Ylli tries to work through his emotions for love. They’re not just about the disappointments but also about how he never wants his girlfriend back. Who lied to our Ylli?

The follow-up is:

In “Vonë” we see a more emotional Ylli performing his stunning piano-accompanied pop and jazz-leaning ballad. Here, Ylli reflects on sadness, leaving him feeling hopeless, and alone, two things that are hard for him to cope with. Expressing regret, he believes that things ended without the opportunity to address his problems.

Last but not least:

Lshoja Zanin rounds off with “Çka nëse”. Incorporating reggaeton and other Latin-elements, it is a modern Albanian pop song perfect for a visit to the bars and lounges of Prishtina. It centers on Ylli’s frustration with an ex-lover who has violated his trust. It’s a jam.

Across five songs and 17 minutes, Ylli turns emotional and super fresh at the same time. We get a mix of the different facets of him, showcasing his talented soul. We definitely need more after listening to it. The EP reflects on all facets of love, ranging from infatuation, endearment, and heartache, as well as emotional evolution and moving-on from the past.

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