Poezi nga Kolec Traboini

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Albania – a growing country rich in family, culture and dignity – Interview with Ms. Charisse Parham (Executive Director, Producer/Composer) / Interviewer: Jeta Vojkollari


charisse's albanian pic (1)

A photo of Charisse at the Marubi Film School with the students and Mr. Kujtim Cashku.



Albania – a growing country rich in family, culture and dignity.


Interview with Ms. Charisse Parham

(Executive Director, Producer/Composer)



jeta vojkollari


Interviewer: Jeta Vojkollari






When did you go to Albania for the first time?


The first time I visited Tirana was September 2013.



Can you describe Albania in one sentence?


A growing country rich in family, culture and dignity.



I have said that the Albanian youth is the wealth of Albania. What is your opinion about it?  What did you notice to be different from the American youth?


You are right the youth is what brings the wealth to Albania.  This is in all countries.  The American dream I call it.  The media of music and film is a great tribute.  The pop, soul and dance music of the clubs, the hip-hop culture of dress attire, the strong desire to speak English.  I believe we all have the desire to be the opposite of what we are.  To experience the other side.



Do you like the Albanian food?


I love the rich foods, wine and cappuccino in Albania.  To tell the truth is better than American food.  It is presented with love and cultural dignity.  I love Artigianos restaurant.  All of the food is great.



Did you like Tirana’s traffic? 


Wow! (laugh out loud)  I am still alive.  I managed with the help of a friend that lives in Tirana. My description: fast, alert, eyes on all sides of your head and patience.  It’s like a game of chess, who will make the first move.



Which cities did you visit in Albania?


Tirana, Durres, Saranda, and I passed through south Albania on our way to Greece.


You’ve made a video about Albania.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WbtXJH72z5I Who is the little girl dressed in a shirt with the Albanian flag?

That is my daughter, Chancy, she is 14 yrs old. She also hosts and dances on my TV show, “Chicago Kids Got Talent”.



Did you find the Albanian people to be snobby, or indifferent, or selfish?


Not really.  The people are very hospitable.  Sometimes you have to smile first, then they will smile and are happy you are in their country.



Are you involved with the Albanian community in Chicago?


Yes I have associated myself with the Chicago Albanian Community.  I spoke at the Independence of Kosovo for the Albanian Community in 2013 at the historical Daley Center. I aired the documentary I produced, “Albania: The Hidden Secret” on my TV show, “Chicago Kids Got Talent”.  I have met and spoken with Albanian officials in Chicago, New York and Boston.



You are a composer. Tell the reader something about yourself.

I’ve played the piano since age of 6.  Teaching piano to children for 25 years.  I decided to start composing music in 2000.  I have composed for short films, infomercials, commercials and documentaries, etc…  I love to create beautiful music.  I hire vocalists sing my songs. www.moltopassion.com



Do you talk about Albania with your friends?



Yes, all of my friends know that I have a love for Albania. I am executive director of a before/after school and summer camp for elementary kids and I have educated the kids about Albania.  I want them to know about a country that they have probably never heard of.  I want to broaden their horizons about the world.  I am very internationally cultured with friends all over the world.  Believe it or not, there are adults that have never heard of Albania. I have done a lost of business ventures in Tirana.  Played piano at the Piazza Restaurant, interviews with Top Radio and RTSH radio.  I’ve met  Alban Dudushi, and other prominent film producers and business people.  I know Vedat Ademi , the famous singer and more. Mr. Kujtim Cashku, executive director of the Marubi Film Institute.  I plan to meet with University Students to offer them a Illinois accreditation to Chicago Universities. I also want to perform in Tirana in the summer.  I would like to talk to the kids at the schools about our American education. Also I’m forwarding you my newly composed song about a beautiful (bukur) Albanian girl called “Lejdalej”.  I hope to make a music video of the song in Albania.  Lejdalej_MAST2 .mp3 Download


Are you going to visit Albania again?



I have been traveling to Tirana every four months for a year.  I will be returning April through May 2015 with my daughter.  I feel it is my second home.  I have friends that welcome me with open arms.  Maybe in four years I will reside there at least 6 months out the year.



You promised me you are going to read my novel The Devil I Paid for Advice. You’ll see that life in Albania is not described as a bed of roses in this book.  Are you still going to love Albania after that?


I will definitely read your novel. I am excited to read it and learn more.  I have also been given a beautiful historical book of Albania since the early 1900’s by a historian of Albania that lives in Detroit, MI.  I have researched about most of the history of Albania, but there still is a lot to learn.  Especially from the older culture.  All nations have devils in their closets.  I appreciate the period of “BESA” where the Albanians helped refuges from other countries escape from war.  However, being in Albania for some time, I experience the Gypsies begging for money. Albanian citizens have told me not to give money to the gypsies because it makes them lazy. It is a mystery to see how Albania is rich in food, wine, coffee and fashion, but yet they don’t make much money. The citizens seem happy.  However, it is the high import taxes that Americans pay to keep up with the European fashion and culture.


Anything else?


Another  thing I love about Albania is that religions are together.  There is no fighting. My daughter and are very lucky to have experience a wonderful hidden secret such as Albania.  I know that there is much poverty in Albania, so is there in America.  However, Albania is rich in family, culture, food and beauty. I am happy that you took an interest in my experience of Albania.  I am trying to spread the word of my experience as an African-American in Albania.  I feel very fortunate to talk to friends and strangers about my travel to Albania.

I would really like to grow with Albania.


Jeta  thank you for giving me the opportunity to be interviewed for this article.  I am honored. I hope to meet you in Albania. Please keep in touch. I can be reached at moltopassion@gmail.com





Shtëpia Botuese “Toena ” sjell në shqip romanin “Gruaja në pasqyrë “ të shkrimtarit Eric-Emmanuel Shmitt dhe përkthim të Rina Çela Grasset , roman i cili ka fituar Çmimin Letrar ” Agrippa d’Aubigné” . / Nga Irena Toçi

  Shtëpia Botuese “Toena ” sjell në shqip romanin “Gruaja në pasqyrë “ të shkrimtarit  Eric-Emmanuel Shmitt dhe përkthim të Rina Çela Grasset , roman i cili ka fituar Çmimin Letrar “ Agrippa d’Aubigné” .       Të dhënat … Continue reading