Tulla – a hidden Art Hub in Tirana
Tulla is the Albanian word for brick. It is also the name of a newly established art hub in a hidden corner of Tirana. In this 2 floored brick house you’ll meet a group of people who a year ago decided to come together and put words into action, ideas into art. Rubin Beqo, Alban Nimani and Florian Cara are the three musketeers who today can proudly show Tulla off as one of the most lively, frequented and buzzing art spaces in the city. In any given weekend, Tulla will welcome you with a good glass of raki or wine, some live jazz, a contemporary art installation, a poetry night, a good old open stage for jamming enthusiasts, or even a feminism workshop. When you enter this brick house, you’ll instantly find yourself surrounded by people who are eager to listen, to see, to have a good conversation and to find out about the newest talents around town. That is exactly the vision that Rubin, Alban and Florian had from the very beginning: creating a space where art and culture can flourish, and where people can spend a few hours appreciating it along with some good laughs.
The concept of an art house or a multifunctional culture center is relatively new in Albania. It has only been in the last decade that such spaces have started opening up. The three musketeers found this little space, belonging to a family but unused. A few months and some interior decoration later Tulla was born, with its traditional – meets DIY – meets lounge vibe. It was not long before the team expanded and clients became regular. Today, Ared will take a candid snap of you looking more elegant than ever, before Henri comes over to shake your hand and greet you. With a proud smile he’ll nod towards the stage and you’ll see that the smooth music you noticed earlier is in fact coming from Alban and his guitar. After a busy night, you might want to not hurry out. If you sneak into the back room, you’ll find those mad ones who’ll stay after hours to turn furniture into percussion instruments and sing some old folk.
Whether you’re interested in art, theatre, poetry, film or music – Tulla has it all, and it’s always looking for more. It is also a great spot to meet new people, both local and foreigners. Tulla has a certain welcoming quality to it, that makes everyone inside it share the same feeling of belonging and comfort. Since its opening in 2014, it has certainly been busy. Here are just a few Tulla moments of this year:
1. Elina Duni and Besa Myftiu
Elina is a jazz singer, most known for taking traditional Albanian music and giving it a unique jazzy and bluesy twist. Elina mounted the Tulla stage with her mother, Besa Myftiu. Besa is a poet, and the pair offered an evening of poetry and jazz and just the right dosage of folk. The audience was enchanted, sitting cross legged on cushions on the floor, closing their eyes and opening their ears.
2. The Two Acts in Action photography exhibition
This exhibition brought snaps from the shooting sets of 24 Albanian films, introducing fragments of the cast and crew in action. It was divided in three sections, or acts. The first act presented snaps from films that treated issues of development in Albania, the second act brought forward films on social life and family, and the third revolved around the Albanian woman and her place in society. The exhibition was complemented by a commentary by PhD and professor Julian Bejko.
3. The Qerimi Family Concert
The Qerimis have been part of the Albanian artistic scene for generations. Their performance was emotional and special for most people present. The applauds they received were not only a show of gratitude for the musical moment offered, but also a tribute to the legacy that the Qerimi family has left.
4. The Fanfara Tirana Concert
Tulla has also taken its activities outside a few times. One of these has been the concert of Fanfara Tirana, a brass folk funk band. Tulla gathered a large and hyped crowd of people inside the Pyramid in the city center (more on this another time), where everyone danced under the rhythms of Balkan funk.
The Tulla team is now on a well deserved summer break. In September 2015, Tulla will resume its activities, and we are all eager to see what this new season of the little brick house will bring.
(the pictures have all been taken from Tulla’s official Facebook page)