Jaku Goja, the poor mechanic who climbed the ladder of art

2024-04-02 13:58:00, Kulturë Agim Xhafka

Jaku Goja, the poor mechanic who climbed the ladder of art

Jaku Goja has nothing to do with Francesco Goja. He is Albanian, more precisely, he no longer lives. It's been a few years since he left us and flew away like an angel. This is how it should be talked about. He carried only virtues and was full of ornaments.

I never get tired of explaining who Jaku Goja was to the Korçars. For others, I have to list the life of this bohemian.

I had the house near Jak. I don't know if he got the name like that or something else. But for everyone, until he passed away, he was and remained Jaku. I didn't understand how that Goja got to him, but in Korça he explained it like a joke that the city was filled with such sayings. As encountered eg Piro Buti, Ilkë Kokmadhi, Nasi Gjuja, Spiro Speci, Petro Keci, Landi Mamaja, Gaqo Gjella, Peçi Bajamka, Koço Goxilla, Vangjo Buçe, Koci Kanarina, Stefo Rabecka, Kliti Kukumjaçka and a whole lot of them that exactly showed a public figure of the town and of the city.

Jaku, until he became an adult, worked in the car park. How are you a motorist or a generic? He would leave the house early in his overalls and come to dinner with black on his dark face, his hands and face full of car oil and smelling of diesel from yesterday. Tired and hungry. At the door, the company of the night, the group of serenades, was waiting for him. They didn't hang out under the windows. Nor did they sing to any particular woman. They sang about love, like everyone's daughter, which could be different in everyone's imagination, but in the song she appeared as a beautiful muse and full of youthful adrenaline. This was understood by the shouting in the sky dome and by the duration of the concerts until almost morning. The next day, Jaku rushed towards the office with the same oils and the same smell of oil. So until one day...

- You heard about Jaku Gojë, didn't you?!- Ndreçi Dosa told me. -I went to Tirana with work, at the Opera!

- Hahaha, - I laughed. Even half the town laughed. But Jaku had entered the opera stage as a pure and unheard bass in many years and three. At first in the choir, then at school, and that's how Jaku got the surname artist.

This road was followed by many Kor?ar artisans who worked, eg carpenters, or drivers, or officers and ended up lyric singers. Without doing art academy and school. The auditoriums had the alleys, the teachers had the experience, and the zeal came from the genes of being a crook. When I remembered Jaku in America after watching a concert on TV with lyrical singers that he puts on his heels, I thought of many others of Jaku's group; Petrika Zguro, Petrika Qorri, one with the last name Terezi. Nor did I remember Gjergj Suljoti, the inimitable Albanian tenor whose love for the city brought him back from the opera to the neighborhood where he grew up. A few days ago I learned that he also passed away. Gone is a loaf of bread, my father used to say about rare talents.

When I was a student and when I started working in Tirana, I found all these music lovers together. That they worked, that they drank without limits, that they sang and were redeemed from the limitations of that time. Even the police were perplexed in the morning since when they asked him his name, he told them: "Jaku jam bre!" Here I am!" We know, we know, there you are. Let's see, but you didn't tell us who you are, they were nervous with Jaku.

They lived among pentagrams, entertained themselves and entertained us, and they gave art without a ticket even in kebab shops, in the alleys, and in the Opera. In a way these guys were our Pavarots. Full of great art and full of simplicity. They injected music into our blood like honey with Moravian pollen. They made us proud that we are Korcarians, fellow citizens and friends of the soloists who came from the street. Coming from life and filled with the joys of hungry people. Hungry for bread and hungry for art.

Yak is getting more friends over there. They are probably recreating the group. And it will not be a surprise when some night their serenade comes to us from the stars:

- We will, we will not,

 In the middle of the sky we are,

 Where the sun and the moon tear over the clouds...

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