Hands off Vjosa!

“Mos ma prek Vjosën (Hands off Vjosa!)” was the slogan at an atmospheric open air concert held in Tirana, where musicians let everyone hear about the need to protect this Albanian wild river.

The initiators of the Vjosa concert: Eda Zari (left) and Elina Duni © Moris Rama
The grand finale - all singers sing together for the protection of Europe's last wild river. © Moris Rama

A mood of celebration hung over Skanderbeg square in central Tirana, as musicians came together on stage one more time to perform their parting song. Around 4,000 audience members took out their phones to capture the moment. It was the emotional climax of a very special concert.

Top Albanian singers and bands with a wide variety of different styles came together in Tirana on the evening of 18 October to make music in support of a free-flowing Vjosa and protest against the hydroelectric dams planned along its length. The event was dreamt up by two well-known Albanian singers Eda Zari and Elina Duni. “The Vjosa isn’t just a lifeline for our country; it is also part of our cultural heritage. With this concert, we are raising our voices against the destruction of this unique natural and cultural treasure,” says Eda Zari, who is also an official cultural ambassador for her country.

The Vjosa in the south of Albania is one of Europe’s last major wild rivers outside Russia. EuroNatur has been working together with its partner organisations Riverwatch and EcoAlbania to ensure its protection for many years now. The fact that artists are now also supporting the campaign is a sure sign that the efforts to protect the river are meeting with the approval of Albanian society.

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