After hearing all 22 acts competing in the 56th edition of the Albanian music festival Festivali i Këngës, the question is what do they have to offer? The two semi-finals take place on the 21st and 22nd of December, and they include a lot of variety..
This Saturday, we will know who will represent Albania at the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest. Below, we review the rest of the 22 songs, following the first half from last week. After listening to all the songs, Albania has indeed, a lot to offer – from romantic and passionate ballads to the most unexpected rock songs.
Lorela Sejdini – Pritëm edhe pak
Lorela Sejdini is an Albanian law student who sings in her spare time. She is originally from Albania, but lives in Turin, Italy. She has performed at the Albanian version of ‘The Voice‘, and makes many covers. This year, Lorela enters the Festival i Këngës with her song: ‘Pritëm edhe pak’ (Wait for me some more). It is a lively, party like song, however very repetitive. It is very fresh and modern, something radio-friendly, and Lorela’s voice is very sweet.
Luiz Ejili & Rezarta Smaja – Ra një yll
Luiz Ejili and Rezarta Smaja are two Albanian singers. Both have won many awards in the music industry, and both have had experiences with the Eurovision Song Contest. Luiz Ejili represented Albania at the Eurovision Song Contest in 2006, with the song ‘Zjarr e ftohtë’ but failed to go through the finals. Rezarta, however, did not represent her country in the contest, but she placed in the top 10 in the 53rd Edition of the Festival i Këngës, placing 7th, and then in the 54th edition, placing 4th. This year, the two form a duo, and enter their song ‘Ra një yll’ (A star has fallen) to the festival. The song is very harmonic, Rezarta is a very good singer, and Luiz fits in very well. It is a very dramatic entry, very passionate, and it seems like there is a lot of chemistry between them.
LYNX – Vonë
LYNX is an Albanian pop and rock group. It is a band composed of four members: Aurel Sesso, Endrik Beba, Eno John, and Renato Rexha, all coming from Tirana. They are quite noted in Albania. They first formed their group in 2007, and since then, they sang in different places from clubs to music festivals. One of these music festivals being the Kenga Magjike, which they have participated in three times, in 2012, 2014 and in 2016. This year, the band sings their song ‘Vonë’ (Late) at the 56th edition of the Festival i Këngës. It is a contemporary song, and very accessible to people, as it is a song with a style that is very much liked. It is a rock and electric song, it sounds like a hit, and we are sure it will be!
Manjola Nallbani – I njëti qiell
Manjola Nallbani is a fifty-one-year-old famous Albanian opera singer. She is noted for winning the Festival i Këngës three times, in 1989, 1992, and in 1993. In the 49th edition of the festival, she sat in the jury who appointed the winner and who would represent Albania at the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest. At the 56th edition of Festival i Këngës, Manjola Nallbani will perform her song ‘I njëti qiell’ (The Same Sky). It sounds like something that would be sent to Eurovision. It is fun, yet also ferocious.
Mariza Ikonomi – Unë
Mariza Ikonomi is an Albanian singer. Not a lot is known about the singer, but she will participate in the Festival i Këngës this year with her song ‘Unë’ (I). Her voice is powerful, and her piano solo is also. It is soft, it is loud, it is calm and it is crazy. This song has everything – it is a beautiful ballad and is very promising.
NA & Festina Mezini – Tjetër jetë
NA is a popular Albanian group. They have released many songs, of which are mostly covers, and are quite noted in their home country. Festina Mezini’s voice, on the other side, is said to be one of the most powerful voices of X-Factor Albania. She comes from a family of artists – her parents involved with music too. She was one of the favourites to win the X-Factor in Albania; however, after not winning, she joins NA and together they form a duo at this year’s Festival i Këngës, singing their song ‘Tjetër jetë’ (Another Life). The song is harmonic, and very heart-warming. The band and Festina fit in together well, and with a good performance, we are sure they could both impress us and the jury.
Orgesa Zaimi – Ngrije zërin
Orgesa Zaimi is a 32-year-old Albanian singer, who participated in many music fesitvals such as Kënga Magjike, in 2006. She was one of the background singers of Kejsi Tola, who represented Albania at the Eurovision Song Contest in 2009. This year, Orgesa tries to get her own experience at the Eurovision Song Contest, and enters the Festival i Këngës with an energetic and fun song: ‘Ngrije zërin’ (Raise your voice). It is very promising as it is loose and the audience will feel good as they listen to the song.
Redon Makashi – Ekziston
46-year-old Albanian singer and composer Redon Makashi will participate in this year’s Festival i Këngës. He participated in the festival before, his first time being in 1989, where he finished second. In 2011, he was one of the judges at the 50th edition of the Festival i Këngës. This year, he sings at the festival for the third time with the song ‘Ekziston’ (It Exists). It is a mild rock song, strangely friendly, mature, the song accompanied by a guitar, however, repetitive.
Tiri – Orë e ndalur
Tiri, although not a lot is known about him, is an Albanian singer, who enters the 56th edition of the Festival i Këngës with a fun, country song .- Tiri seems to be a very fun person and a bit dreamy from his music video – which is slow, unlike to most country songs. It is very likeable.
Voltan Prodani – E pamundur
Voltan Prodani is a musical artist from Albania. He is not such a noted singer, however he will enter this year’s Festival i Këngës as a passionate pianist with his song ‘E pamundur’ (Impossible). He has a very nice voice, he seems to be very into his song during the music video and passionate as he plays the piano. With a good performance on stage, he’d be able to get through the finals.
Xhesika Polo – Përjetë
Xhesika Polo, an Albanian artist, participated at the Albanian X-Factor, and is very successful in general in her home country. She has many songs released, and this year she will participate at the Festival i Këngës, with her song ‘Përjetë’ (Forever). She has an amazingly strong voice, and the song is something that would do well in Eurovision. It is a song that would impress many people, and it certainly impressed us as her voice is very good. With a good performance, we might see her performing on the Eurovision stage soon!
This brings us to the end of our Fesitval i Këngës song reviews. We are very impressed by the high standards delivered from these artists, and we are sure they will do extremely well during the live show. You can listen to all the songs here:
In My Head are one of eight groups or duos, competing in Latvia’s 2018 Supernova competition. Do they have what it takes to represent Latvia in the Eurovision Song Contest 2018, in Lisbon, with their song Sunset.
In My Head are a trio comprising of two men and a woman. The band was established in 2015, when, at age 23, popular Latvian singer Evija Smagare began a musical collaboration with Armands Varslavāns and Rugo Iļķēns.
Armands and Evija were born in Daugavpils, Latvia’s second biggest city, extremely close to Lithuania and Belarus. Rugo, real name Rudolfs Iļķēns, studied at the University of Central Lancashire, in Preston.
Evija has recorded English songs, like Upside Down and This Is Why We Fight.
The band’s preferred musical style is electronic dance music. However, they also like to experiment with new sounds and sample other genres of music. This helps them create their novel and original sound.
Rugo oversees the recording and production, while Armands is the main instrumentalist. Evija is responsible for all vocals and harmonies.
Sunset, the song is about breaking through and achieving one’s goals. This can be achieved by ignoring misleading obstacles. Sunset is used as a metaphor for the happiness you owe to yourself. Unlike in romantic films where the hero walks of into the sunset, In My Head goes beyond the Sunset because that is not the end of the cycle.
Enjoy the song below, and if you like it, make sure you show In My Head your support. The group will be releasing their first EP soon.
Agnese Stengrevics is already gaining a lot of fan support for her song You Are My World. She will be hoping that this is an early indication she can win Supernova 2018. Then she can sing her song in Lisbon in May at the Eurovision Song Contest 2018.
It is easy to see why You Are My World would be a fan favourite, with its electric dance feel. The song though is not just about having a good time on the dance floor.
Agnese revealed to EuroVisionary that the song is about people who give endless chances to somebody. In the end, they are scared to love again, because they have been hurt multiple times.
However as living without that somebody seems even harder, sooner or later you go seeking them again, hoping they are the one.
See alsoLatvia 2018: Jenny May's Soledad brings Latino influences to Supernova
The lyrics of the song are about Agnese’s personal experience. She sings about how much he means to her and how much she wants to be with him now. She is scared but wants to try anyway. In this time and place, he makes her feel happy and loved. He gives her everything that her heart wants.
Agnese wrote the song along with her father Helvijs Stengrevics. You can sing along with Agnese using the lyric video below.
“Excuse Me Ao Vivo” is the title of Salvador Sobral’s new album that has just been released. It includes live versions of many of his songs including a Jazz edition of his Eurovision winner “Amar Pelos Dois”.
Right in time for Christmas. If you were in doubt what to give to your best Eurovision friend as a Christmas gift, Salvador Sobral may just have helped you. The Portuguese singer found some time while waiting for his heart transplant to put together a few live versions of his songs and build a new piece of work. Excuse Me Ao Vivo reflects Salvador’s journey through his many concerts around Portugal and brings live versions of many of his songs.
On the cover, there’s a picture of Teatro Garcia de Resende (Évora, Portugal) which represents the very first stage Salvador stepped on after winning Portugal’s Festival da Canção. Nonetheless, the live versions of the songs were recorded during his farewell concert in Cascais and his concerts in Centro Cultural de Belém, Casa da Música and Centro Cultural.
See alsoEurovision winner Salvador Sobral got a new heart
The release of Excuse Me Ao Vivo brings along a Jazz version of his Eurovision winning song and it marks the very first time the track gets to be on a Salvador’s album. The single version of Amar Pelos Dois along with the releases on the Festival da Canção 2017 and Eurovision Song Contest albums have now crossed the ten million streams in Spotify.
Excuse Me Ao Vivo is now available on streaming services like for example Spotify.
Latvia has to be commended this year for their wide musical diversity in the Supernova 2018. The contest will be held in February 2018. Can Jenny May’s Hispanic treat go all the way to the Eurovision Song Contest in Lisbon, Portugal?
For those of you sorry to see Despacito ride into the sunset, Jenny May offers a new Spanish summer hit. Her song, Soledad isone of Latvia’s 2018 potential Eurovision entries.
Jenny May tells EuroVisionary that she was a huge Latino fan when she was a child. Like so many children, she used to turn up the music, when alone at home. She danced in front of the mirror, pretending to give her own concert.
See alsoLatvia 2018: An introduction to Funny Girl Laura Rizzotto
Jenny May started her musical career singing pop songs. Her musical producers had their qualms about Jenny May performing Latino music, fearing her Latvian audience would have no interest.
In 2011 Jenny May released the song Es gribu vēl mīlē (Still Want To Love). The success of the song proved to Jenny May that she should change her musical direction, to the Spanish influences that she loves.
Jenny May has recorded a Latino album and hopes to use Supernova 2018 as a stepping stone to advertise her sound, outside of Latvia. The song, Soledad, was written by Maija Stuģe, Martin Karl Hägglund, Martin Björn Hanzén, Tim Erik Åström, Michael Javier Hernan Barraza Alfaro. You can sing along to the infectious tune below.
They won hearts at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest with their interval performance, and now Onuka and the NAONI Orchestra have collaborated on a live album together. The album includes full versions of the songs that were mashed together for Eurovision.
Yesterday, Onuka announced the release of their latest album. Although not a new album, the album is a live recording of the folk funk band performing with the NAONI Orchestra. The two collaborated together as part of this year’s Eurovision interval performance.
The album was recorded in December 2016, long before they presented these songs to Europe.
With the new album, fans will get to enjoy the full, live versions of the songs that were mashed together during the interval. Such as Vidlik, Untitled, Around Me and Zavtra amongst others.
“Music-wise, it’s sort of a countdown for us personally. The one we go back to time to time, again and again” Onuka explained via Facebook post. “The story began on June 28th, 2016 with the release of the music video for ‘Other’, accompanied by the National Academic Orchestra of Folk Instruments. Over time it was followed-up by 17 tracks that were presented on December 11, 2016 in front of the Kyiv audience. We do not look back. We just want to remember this magic”.
Following their interval performance Onuka quickly shot to the top of the European electronic music charts. Many people enjoying the refreshing sound of modern mixed with traditional folk music.
Listen to, and buy the album
The album has been released for streaming and sale through the following channels: Apple music, Google play, Spotify, Deezer, Sound Cloud and iTunes.
You can remind yourself of the unique performance of Onuka alongside the NAONI Orchestra by watching our video below.