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Review: The Albanians: A Modern History

The Albanians: A Modern History by Miranda Vickers My rating: 4 of 5 stars Albania is one of those countries that have a colourful history and is a place that was a bit of an anomaly to me. I know that it is publicly perceived as a poor backwater of Eastern Europe but I wanted to read this well-written book to glean further information. After the fall of the Ottomans in the Balkans, Albania came into being as an independent entity. This came out of the back of several Balkan conflicts. The Albanians are one of the rainbow of ethnic tribes in the region, with their own language, culture and religions. The new country was plunged into a period of turmoil, facing the brunt of two world wars as it attempted to establish itself. The ancient ways of Ottoman times left a great deal of difficulty for any ruling power to modernise and Albania seemed destined to become isolated and a haven for political extremes, reaching a zenith under the charismatic tutelage of the communist dictator Enver Hoxha. His forty year rule paved the way for Albania to develop in its own unique way, relying at different times on the patronage of Russia, China, Yugoslavia and Italy. With the fall of communism in the modern era, a new democratic age was heralded, though the much anticipated improvements were not quite so instant with the country facing many political crises, the collapse of pyramidal banking schemes, the rise of organised crime and ongoing disputes about the ethnic Albanians in neighbouring countries. I found this book particularly enlightening in helping me to understand the Kosovo situation and all that it entails. As we move into the twenty-first century Albania holds Kosovo’s hand and makes inroads into its own emergence as a balkan power. It is now a member of NATO and has high hopes of full EU accession. The region is an interesting one and to understand Albania and its peoples this book is heralded as the cornerstone text for English-speakers. View all my reviews

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Shuffle Artist Management expands its roster

Shuffle Artist Management has expanded its roster of artists. In addition to managing Wez G, Houston-based dance vocalist, Tricia Lee Kelshall and Trinidadian rock n’ rollers jointpop, have been on the books for a while. We are now pleased to welcome aboard a pair of talented up and coming producers from the Balkans. Uusikartano is a tech house / techno DJ/Producer from Kumrovec in Croatia, currently signed to Be-Nice Records, Los Angeles, USA. Toris Badic is a techno DJ/Producer from Belgrade in Serbia, regularly releasing on multiple European labels. I think that this pair will be great to work with and offer a slightly different range of genres to what we currently have available. Websites etc are in the process of being built and the whole Shuffle Artist Management shopfront will also be getting a new look refurb… In the meanwhile you can check the sounds of Uusikartano and Toris Badic on their soundcloud accounts. http://soundcloud.com/uusikartano

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