Today the Wiwi Jury, our international panel of music un-professionals, heads to Skopje to review Kaliopi’s “Crno i Belo.” That means “black and white.” Will our critics’ opinions be as clean cut? Read on to find out.
Wiwi: Kaliopi may sound like a chain smoker, but that only adds to her appeal. The dark, mysterious quality of her voice fits well with her song about a woman trying to make her lover realize how special their bond is. The raspy sound of her voice matches the protagonist’s personal torture. As she pleads in the song: “Open your soul and confess to me/ Now, truly what are we?/ Half of me – inside of you/ And half of you – sleeps inside me/ Come on hug me now/ And raise me to the sky.”
That’s serious, y’all. Which likely explains the sudden shift from soft violins and a piano to an electric guitar and drumming. The rage she feels for her wayward boyfriend—who apparently can’t commit—gives the song drive. It’s like she’s giving trauma rhythm, and setting a woman’s personal breakdown to a beat. Her mix of edginess with classicism, and leather with lace, makes her one of my favorites in Baku. I’m not convinced Europe will embrace her as much as I do, but I’m sure the jury will respect talent when they hear it.
Vebooboo: Kaliopi has spunk, and we like that at wiwibloggs.com. She reminds me of last year’s Belarusian entry. The first minute of this song is a bit dreary, but when Kaliopi picks it up, so does my interest. I think she has a decent chance of making the Final, but I ain’t holding my breath–or releasing my funds on betting sites–any time soon!
Meows Kitty: Hmm, sounds like someone needs to go get their larynx checked. Apart from the bad vocals that make me want to cough, the song is pretty terrible too. It starts out like all of the other other dreary ballads in this year’s contest, but then turns into very dated 80s rock. This is definitely not going to qualify.
Deban: After 14 years of participation, it was decided by the F.Y.R. broadcasters that in order to set the tone for a top finish in Baku they needed to dispatch the Macedonian Madonna to Azerbaijan.
Enter Kaliopi. She is Macedonia’s most awarded artist with a catalogue of a dozen albums and record breaking performances. She’s also helped shape the success of many other local artists as a songwriter. Her success in her homeland is matched in Croatia, Montenegro, and Bosnia & Herzegovina. Simply put, they couldn’t have found a bigger star.
Her contribution to ESC 2012 is one of my favourites. Her voice is melancholy yet possesses a haunting quality. “Crno i belo” tells the story of a couple struggling to fuse their binary emotions, resulting in the heroine demanding surrender. This story is beautifully laid bare during an a cappella intro. Then it moves seamlessly into heavier rock featuring an electric guitar. Kaliopi’s rendition is masterful. She is clearly in control of the pace and range of the song.
It should come as no surprise. She’s been in the music business for over thirty years! What’s surprising is that she is a representative of the Former Yugoslav Republic. As a country, they have consistently sent weak entries. In 2006, there was a brief shining moment with Elena Risteska’s Ninanajna, but it all went speedily downhill again from there. This time, I’m happy to see them taking the contest seriously.
The Wiwi Jury Verdict: 5.86/10