Zhara Fest 2017: Ukraine’s Ani Lorak channels class in a night dedicated to pop star Sofia Rotaru

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The Eurovision 2017 season may be over but countless europop stars are turning up the heat at Zhara Fest — an erernational music festival that celebrates music from Azerbaijan, Russia, Ukraine and beyond. This year’s line-up features Ani Lorak, Sergey Lazarev, Alexey Vorobyov, Svetlana Loboda, Emin, Monatik and many, many more.

The four-day celebration kicked off on Thursday at the Sea Breeze Resort in Baku, one of the most beautiful resorts on the Apsheron coast of the Caspian Sea. The Land of Fire is most definitely lit.

Wiwibloggers Bernardo Tavares Pereira and Deban Aderemi touched down in the Eurovision 2012 host city on Friday after a seven-hour flight from London on an Azerbaijan Airlines dreamliner. Y’all, when Azerbaijan goes big, they go big!

Bursting with excitement, they dropped off their luggage at their hotel and ran directly to the Sea Breeze complex to take a look at the infrastructure and logistics of the event.

With a clean runway from the stage to the Caspian Sea, performers can move from a sick dance routine to a smooth bath with a beautiful view in a matter of moments. Hala!

You’re probably aware of the complexity of Eurovision stages. Multiply that by two and you have the Zhara Fest stage — colourful and channeling the latest technology for acts like MBAND. Prior to their performance they cosied up to Bernardo for a quick snap. Peace!

But the night belonged to Sofia Rotaru. The Ukrainian diva boasts a repertoire of nearly 500 songs and she treated the 9,000-strong crowd to a medley of her greatest hits.

Looking dazzling and ever so youthful in her red two-piece, which she accentuated with a black belt, she moved and swayed on stage whilst flanked by a team of traditionally dressed Ukrainian dancers and a generous pyro shower. She gets it!

Eurovision 2008 runner-up Ani Lorak turned up and turned out in a white feather cocktail dress enchanting crowds with her sweet and delicate voice.

This may not be the “Shady Lady” fans remember, but let there be no mistake: the sass still beats strong in her heart and her performances.

You can watch our Ani Lorak interview here.

Eurovision 2012 guest performer Emin — the brains behind Zhara Fest — chatted with us briefly backstage. It was so nice to catch up with Emin, a friend of wiwibloggs who we last spoke with at the Miss Austria pageant, on home soil. The World Music Award winner discussed his music, business and, of course, this amazing festival.

You can watch our interview in the coming days on wiwi.tv. And yes: We discussed the possibility of him singing at Eurovision one day (and not as the interval act as in 2012).

Friday was big — and Saturday promises to be even bigger.

Tonight several artists will take the stage once again as we welcome Eurovision legend Philip Kirkorov and Eurovision 2008 winner Dima Bilan.

Don’t forget to follow our social media updates on Instagram, Twitter and Youtube. The Zhara Fest extravaganza continues for another three days. And you better believe we ain’t leaving till it’s over!

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