By Nora Kalaja /
Producer Adem Belliu on November 4, 2012 organized a grand celebration at Maestro’s Restaurant in honor of the 15th anniversary of the Albanian Culture TV and Albania’s 100th independence year. The event opened with both the Albanian and American hymn. Around 500 participants were present, including representatives from the scientific, artistic and political community, namely well known singers such as Gezim Nika, Hajro Ceka, Eagles Up Entertainment (Gem Belushi, Marty Magz and affiliate PhaZe), Alba Band, Muharrem Borova, Cobo Music Studio, Valerie Veneski and Tom Smajlaj of the famous group “Shoqata Kulturore Artistike Kelmendi”, the talented actor Agim Rugova and more. Amongst the well respected figures were the New York favorite Mark Gjonaj, who won the political race in the democratic primary for the 80th Assembly District seat, former congressman Joseph DioGuardi, Bajram Doka from the Albanian American Academy of Science and Arts, Dalip Greca and Danny Blloshmi from Vatra Pan-Federation and the Sun Newspaper. The event was televised by the Albanian and local NY media including TV Alba (Kozeta and Qazim Zylo), RTV 21 (Halil Mula), TV Kultura, etc.
“The100th year of independence has a special significance for the Albanians worldwide. It is great to see Albanians from all parts represented here tonight. It is especially an honor for EU. An event like this by the Albanian Culture TV symbolizes the unifications of all Albanians and I wish them much success wherever they are,”said founder of Eagles Up (EU) Entertainment, Gem Belushi (Producer, Artists, Entrepreneur).
“I am honored and grateful to be part of this historic moment celebrating it with the New York Albanians. I appreciate greatly the Albanian-American partnership and especially America’s contribution and dedication to Albania over the years, starting with U.S. President Woodrow Wilson, strengthened by Bill Clinton and furthered by President Obama’spro-independence effort for Kosovo. As we celebrate Albania’s 100years of independence it is important to stand united in our mission of peace, democracy and prosperity. A free Kosovo is a step closer to a peaceful world,” said Ermira Babamusta, Ph.D., foreign affairs expert and Obama 2012 Campaign community leader/GOTV Director 2008 Obama campaign.
The talented singer PhaZe Rugova, founder of the New World Outlaws debuted ‘Jam Shqiptar’ at this prestigious event. The crowd cheered as PhaZe stood up to the microphone and Avdi Rugova and Korab Sacipi took the stage to perform the number # 1 hit song ‘Jam Shqiptar’. Driton Rugova and Gem Belushi were energizing the crowd showing their support while the girls from the Kelmendi Cultural group joined in the dance. The performance was outstanding; it energized the whole room and left the audience applauding for an encore performance.
“The feeling I got walking up to that microphone could not be described. I was proud and full of motivation after seeing the reaction of the crowd as soon as I started singing ‘Jam Shqiptar’. The song is specially meaningful to me because it reminds me of my Albanian roots and it was an honor to perform on such a great night,” said PhaZe (Arben Rugova).
The Albanians in New York and around the world continue the independence celebration throughout the month of November. Upcoming celebrations include: November 3-9 at the Albanian Film Festival with director Artan Minarolli in Tirana Albania; November 11, 2012 at Lehman College in New York; November 11, 2012 in New York with the Albanian-American Writers Society; November 17 at Alba Life School with director Qazim Zylo in New York and November 24, 2012 in Canada with director Tonin Ndoja.
“The Albanians here in Canada have become part of the elite due their hard work, dedication and talents in all aspects of life. On November 24, 2012 we unite to celebrate the grand 100 years of Albanian’s independence. Through music and appreciation for arts we can honor the Albanian history and express our cultural perspectives as we strive to leave an imprint for the generations to come,” said Tonin Ndoja, director/founder of Albanian-Canadian Events.
“To me the celebration of the 13th Albanian Film Festival as part of the Albanian jubilee independence greater commemoration is a crucial event for the Albanian cinematography. The festival is known for its artistic creativity and attracts Albanians of the artistic community from around the world, opening doors for their careers. Personally, I am extremely happy to be part of this prestigious festival, considered to be the Albanian Oscars. I hope that the near future will maintain close relations with the artistic community and the art lovers in and outside Albania,” said the well-renowned Albanian actor in Germany, Kasem Hoxha.