Kosovo's music scene has never been more developed and diverse than in the past ten years. Cafes are sprouting up everywhere, especially electronic music clubs. Nightclubs that can accommodate up to 1,500 people are being built. Internationally-famous DJs like John Digweed, Terry Francis, Eddy Richards, Method Man, Red Man and Gaz-Gaz are being invited to play at these clubs.
Kosovo also has a number of quality DJs many of whom perform abroad, like DJ Totoni, who is currently in Japan. Others are eager to test themselves in cities like London, Paris and New York. Perhaps all of this would not be as interesting if Kosovo – where young people make up 60 percent of the population in a society that is fast opening up, where the borders between a once extremely conservative countryside and cities are being wiped out, where the internet has reached even the most remote villages - was not suffering from power outages, which puzzles visitors from the outside.
Sometimes, there can be no electricity in the capital of Pristina for several hours, right in the middle of the day. Traffic lights can go dead leading to massive traffic jams. This, however, is no problem for Kosovo's young DJs. "We have generators, but as of lately the electricity problem has been solved. We purchased a 15-kilowatt generator and when the outages were going on for up to three hours we would not turn it off until the party was over," says Skelcim Sehu, also known as Goja, one of Pristina's best-known DJs, who started in 2000.
Together with Mentor Mejzonoli, also known as Naka, he works in a club called the Sprey Club in Veternik on the outskirts of Pristina. They say they are happy and that there is plenty of work, even though gigs are less frequent in the summertime when the young are away on vacation. Cooler weather and the start of the school and academic year at Pristina's university means more work for these two DJs. Naka says that the competition is getting strong. The club where he works at was once the only one of its kind in town.
Now, there are three others clubs downtown, so that people do not have to go to the hassle and expense of driving several kilometers to where his club is. "When we started playing music, no more than 80 to 100 people would come to the parties and now this number is up to 20 times higher," Naka stresses. As for live music, both Naka and Goja agree that Kosovo lacks the kind of quality bands that could attract a crowd of more than five thousand people. Clubs exist in other places in Kosovo: Prizren, Djakovica and Gnjilane, where young people gather every weekend. "For the DOKUFEST, a festival of documentary film, I was in Prizren... It was really crazy with lots of young people from Kosovo, but from the rest of the whole world too. It was great," says Goja. Naka and Goja say that the music of choice is techno and commercial domestic music, but chiefly house and hip-hop. "
Albanians like techno-house and hip-hop music. They can listen and dance to this kind of music for up to two hours," Goja claims. Kosovo also possesses several very good sound recording studios. "There are good studios in which a lot of money was invested, and we also have friends who are studying sound engineering in London, Paris, and the U.S.," says Goja. Goja spent time in Albania where he instructed young DJs. Since then, DJs in Albania have been getting better, and the situation there, says Naka, is how it was in Kosovo three years ago.
Both Goja and Naka are well-acquainted with the music scene elsewhere in the region and agree that "the best situation is in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia." "The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia always had a better standard of living than us, a European standard. There are conditions for concerts and DJs and electronic performances alike. They had DJs back in 1995 and that was a while ago, and they also had and have numerous concerts, and up to three DJs at a club in a single evening," says Goja.
* Under UNSCR 1244/1999