Magi Kapllani is continuing the legacy started by her parents, two classically trained musicians in Albania who established a music school and cultural center that’s now the namesake for Kapllani’s own franchise, DEA Music & Art.
Kapllani’s mother started teaching her piano at the age of 4. When Kapllani immigrated to the U.S. in 1999 to get her master’s degree in piano performance at the University of Illinois, she ended up performing all over Chicago and eventually moved to New York. She taught piano in her living room and had eight students who would put on small performances
“My parents have accomplished in my country what governments would not do, establishing a music and arts and cultural center,” Kapllani said of her parents’ DEA Center of the Arts. DEA stands for Dizdari Educational Academy, after Kapllani’s mother’s maiden name. “They offered numerous activities for the community when there was nothing like that” in the region.
Kapllani, though, worried her music lessons weren’t being taken seriously enough. “Maybe the fact that we were in a living room was a factor,” she said. So she and her husband decided to lease a commercial space and establish a full-blown school. Then in 2003, Kapllani opened DEA Music & Art in Staten Island.
Albania’s past as it is transmitted to us in popular songs is therefore more relevant than might be thought to present-day questions, and in any case it is always interesting to see the lower classes encountering the challenges of invasion and exile without losing anything of the qualities which give strength to a sense of national identity.
Mr. Hahn the Albanians are descendants of the famous Pelasgi. The Pelasgi would have formed the pre-historical population of Epirus, Macedonia, Illyria, Greece, the Peloponnese and large Italian territories. In Greece, the Pelasgi would have adopted the Hellenic language, when the Hellenic population came to dominate the Pelasgic one,
while the native language would have lasted until both the Bulgarian invasion of Macedonia and the Serbian invasion of Illyria. In Albania, southern Illyria and Epirus, the Pelasgic population resisted assimilation by the Slavic population. Since the fourteenth century the Epirus colonies of modern Greece have sprung from these too little studied countries.