Pryvitannie Bielarus! The Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of music unprofessionals — has arrived in Minsk. After exploring some of the city’s cathedrals and watching the National Library’s futuristic light display, we sat down to discuss Naviband and their Eurovision 2017 song “Story of my Life”. Were we charmed by their upbeat folk pop? Or did we want this story to end? Read on to find out…
Naviband – “Story of my Life”
Folk-pop duo Naviband consists of Arciom Lukjanienka and Ksienija Zuk. They’ve been performing together since 2013 and first competed in the Belarus national final in 2016. “We’re a romantic couple on the stage,” Ksienija told us in March. “But off the stage? We can’t decide,” Arciom said. He wrote their song “Historyja majho žyccia”, which they have since re-titled “Story of my Life”, following a vision in the night. “It was a dream,” Ksienija tells us. “He dreamed this melody and after he woke up he said, ‘Oh my god! It’s wonderful! I saw a wonderful dream and I must do something!'” They describe the song as an emotion — “to love our country, to love people all over the world.”
“Story of my Life” reviews
William: It feels like two singers have been lifted from the Navajo Nation, transplanted to Belarus and handed a top-notch producer. Wild, rambling, uplifting and just a little bit crazy, this song has character and personality in spades and it sounds current but indigenous at the same time. The singers’ charisma and chemistry make me smile and the vocals are as delightful. It’s the first song from Belarus that ever has made me want to shout, “Hey! Hey!” It’s a cry of joy that doesn’t get old.
Rezo: Traditional songs are very risky at the Eurovision Song Contest. Georgia failed to qualify to the final in 2014 because it was too folksy and regional. “Story of my Life” is a similar product, but this is more upbeat and catchy. The lyrics are not in English, so I hope Naviband will have good staging that helps establish a connection with fans on stage.
Padraig: Navi better scoff all their brownie points while they still have the chance – because while Eurofans may be excited about their decision to sing in Belarussian, regular viewers just won’t care. Once you strip back the layers, “Story of my Life” is simply another happy-clappy folk ditty that hovers dangerously close to irksome. It’s a genre that’s been done much better in the past, including by Navi themselves in Belarus’ 2016 selection.
Chris: Charm and enthusiasm can get you a long way at Eurovision. Naviband bring both in spades and a truly good song to boot. It’s not hard to imagine that many parents around Europe will be having their kids “hay-yay-yay”-ing for some time. The universal appeal of a Belarusian folk-pop song is hard to believe, but “Story of my Life” balances everything perfectly. If there was only one act I could root for, this is it.
Deban: Ethno-folk often nests in some form at the Eurovision Song Contest. As far as that genre of music goes, this is a decent effort. “Story of my Life” is bursting with energy and patriotic passion. However, much of this comes off as shouty. A softer delivery with masterful restraint can sometimes work wonders.
Jovana: “Story of my Life” is definitely not a Eurovision winner, but it certainly is a nice addition to the contest. It is one of those songs that make you happy and optimistic. Naviband seem really sweet and likeable, and with a good performance, they could actually go to the final – although the odds don’t give them the biggest chance. A big plus goes for singing in their native language.
Robyn: Navi are adorable, as is their song. They bring loads of positivity and cheer, to the point it’s impossible to listen without feeling all 😀 . It’s also a good example of how a song’s emotion can cut through potential language barriers. Audiences may not understand Belarusian, but they’ll still feel Navi’s good vibes.
Bogdan: This musical equivalent of Zoloft should be prescribed as an antidepressant. Ksienija and Arciom have amazing chemistry, great voices, and charisma to boot. The only issues one can find with “Story of my Life” is the staging — which, in the national selection, was too static and repetitive. A key change would have been welcome in the final minute as well. Otherwise, it’s the best Belarusian entry ever.
In our Wiwi Jury, we have 38 jurors but only room for eight reviews. The rest of our scores can be found below:
Before calculating the average score, the highest and lowest scores are dropped. This is to remove outliers and reduce potential bias. We have removed a low of 1 and a high of 10.
Wiwi Jury verdict: 6.9/10
What do you think of this song? Share your own score and review below!