For whatever reason, artists in Albania’s Festivali i Këngës are sometimes given short shrift with regards to speculation and picking pre-show favorites. To help you along in finding artists to get yourself excited for, we’ve compiled a (two-part) “scouting report” if you will to help you research, or in some cases jog your memory about, the candidates.
Albulena Jashari: She seems to have strong production credentials behind her and a penchant for modern, minimalist pop productions, such as on “Bashke.” This could be a difficult match for the orchestra.
Classic Boys: X-Factor alumni with a tendency towards older, folk-influenced material and operatic singing technique This may help them benefit from Festivali i Këngës’ staging.
Dilan Reka: Dilan came top 10 at last year’s FiK with “Buzëqesh” and had a hit earlier this year with “Naked.” With greater name recognition this time around, he could improve even on his previous placement.
Edea Demaliaj: Edea emerged victorious on X-Factor last year – her following single, “Ne,” combined synth influences and sweeping balladry. Not sure what she’ll do given the orchestra.
Edona Vatoci: She’ll often work with sparser productions and subtle vocals, including on her song “Hala” – she could stand out in a bombastic lineup or get lost in the shuffle.
Elson Braha: Familiar to followers of Albanian festival Kenga Magjike, he tends to work in the reggeton field, including in his Kenga Magjike 2016 entry “Mi Ninia.” Wondering how this will translate to a less contemporary stage.
Erlind Zaraliu: He’s a veteran of Albania’s musical theatre scene, having starred in Tirana’s production of Moulin Rouge several years ago. Being comfortable with orchestra-laden performances may help him with FiK’s format.
Fabiola Agalliu & Agnesa Çavolli: Emerging from The Voice, both have breathy vocals and work in jazz – they could be a good match reinforced by each other. The two of them also spoke to us in an interview – give it a read! Additionally, their song is written by Sokol Marsi, lyricist for “I’m Alive” and “S’të fal.”
Festina Majzini: Festina is an X-Factor alum with quite a nuanced contralto (and a penchant for Eurovision – check out her cover of “Zemrën e lamë pëng”). She seems open to rock influences, which will help her fit nicely into FiK if she goes in that direction.
Flaka Krelani: Having received praise for her 3rd-place electronica entry last year “S’je për mu,” Flaka has returned after a year of exploring similar dark synth pop to her entry, including on “Rebelohem.” Expect something similar this time.
Franc Koruni: Specializing in acoustic guitar ballads such as his “I Shkreti Mbret” from this year’s Kenga Magjike, will Franc eschew the orchestra for the quieter production he sometimes favors?
Genc Salihu: Genc has had a very long career with over a decade in the industry. His songs demonstrate a modern, alternative sensibility with lounge jazz tinges, such as his “Krejt Andrrën,” which he may bring to the Festivali i Këngës stage.
Stay tuned tomorrow for Part 2, as well as over the next few weeks for interviews with more of the candidates!
Image courtesy of RTSH