The Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of music unprofessionals — continues to rank and review the 43 songs competing in Eurovision 2018. Next we journey to Serbia and take a look at Sanja Ilic and his group Balkanika with their song “Nova deca” (New children). Were we feeling their Balkan sounds? Read on to find out!

Sanja Ilic & Balkanika – “Nova deca”

“Nova deca” reviews

Angus: For a country that has done emotive ethnopop so well in the past, it’s interesting that “Nova Deca” feels as soulless as it does. The performance looks like an exercise in Balkan ballad bingo – old man playing an instrument, young man wailing in a smart black suit, man bashing drums, women singing in pretty long dresses – but despite the right visual notes, the heart of the song isn’t there.

Score: 4/10

Deban: “New Children” linking a bridge to ageing parents, “Nova Deca” is as predictable as folkpop gets. Balkanika have fused traditional sounds with electronic beats and wheeled in Sanja Ilic to wail a few adlibs. Despite its slow build, this entry has a decent melody. However, this is what Balkanika have been doing for nearly two decades, therefore, this effort isn’t earth-shattering by any means.

Score: 5.5/10

Jovana: I have a problem to rate this song. Sanja Ilic & Balkanika are so famous in my country for the work that they do — combining folk music with modern beats — so it is really hard for me to judge them. But my biggest problem is my own taste. I personally do not like that ethno-style of singing that is so dominant in the song. I would have liked it better if those traditional elements were kept for the instrumental background and if the singing were more pop, like in the chorus, which I like. A long story made short, there are parts that I like and parts that I do not like, but I will still support them and I hope they do well in Lisbon.

Score: 7/10

Kristin: Balkan ethno-pop! Woohoo! No one does that better than Serbia. Fact. “Nova deca” is one of this year’s most memorable songs, though it seems very low-key at first. The melody drags you in and doesn’t let go until the end, and don’t get me started on the wonderful flautist, who truly is the star here. Hvala, Serbia!

Score: 9/10

Padraig: The studio cut passed me by. But I was completely won over by the live performance. I have no clue what they’re singing about, but their collective vocals stir emotions deep within me. The fusion of modern and traditional works almost seamlessly, and the group nimbly avoids the traps Bosnia & Herzegovina fell into with their similar effort in 2016.

Score: 7/10

Steinunn: If there is anything I love as much as Balkan ballads it’s Balkan ethno-pop. “Nova Deca” might not be as great as what king Zeljko Joksimovic has given us or as epic as Goran Bregovic’s work, but it sure is helping with satisfying my need for the Balkan fix I so crave every year. All three of the singers are great but it is the ethnic vocals of Danica that stand out by far.

Score: 8/10

In the Wiwi Jury we have 20 jurors but only have room for six reviews. The remaining scores are below:

Anthony: 6.5/10

Antranig: 7/10

Bernardo: 2/10

Bogdan: 4.5/10

Chris: 7/10

Cinan: 9/10

Jonathan: 8/10

Jordi: 5/10

Luis: 6/10

Renske: 6.5/10

Robyn: 7/10

Ron: 9/10

Sebastian: 5/10

William: 5/10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We have removed the highest and lowest scores prior to calculating the average. This is to remove outliers and potential bias. We have removed a low of 2 and a high of 9.

Wiwi Jury verdict: 6.50/10

What do you think of this song? Share your own score and review below!

See all our Eurovision 2018 reviews and rankings

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63 Comments on "Wiwi Jury: Serbia’s Sanja Ilic & Balkanika with “Nova deca”"

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Alkmini
Guest

This song is really getting into my heart. I dont know the meaning behind this but only from their expressions and singing style i feel like they are talking about our father’s faults and that we shouldnt be like them, but better and maybe more openminded. I love the song, hope it will pass the semi so i can vote for it in the final. Love from Greece!!

LCH
Guest

Took me a while to get into this. I felt it was a little too busy at first and a third in it does like an odd shift.

However, I like it and it’s in my top 10 now. Despite good vocals I don’t think they will do fantastic (simply because of the style) but maybe we’ll see them in the final. They are in the second semi final after all.

Marcelo
Guest
One of the problems with Serbia was that all songs in Beovizija were average at best. This is the same feeling with “Nova Deca”, not good but not bad either. The fact that it’s in pure Serbian gives it an exotic and folky vibe, yet it also has a nice and powerful instrumental that doesn’t makes me bored unlike Greece’s song. But still I can’t deny the fact that the song is still pretty average, plus the national live performance was not that strong. Still, I’m hoping Sanja and Balkanika could pull the ticket to the Grand Final. 2. Italy… Read more »
Briekimchi
Guest

In my top ten. Feel so much better when Serbia do something authentic to them rather than what they have done with their last three entries (with diminishing results). This has great beats, traditional instruments and some great vocal performances. I can understand why some people won’t like this but it certainly is different and Serbia should be proud of themselves. They definitely picked the right song!

Héctor
Guest
For some reason “Nova Deca” sounded better in its Serbian context, but now I feel it isn’t enought viewing all the line-up. The concept of mixing ethno sounds with modern pop or EDM music is always interesting, but I think the result is kind of dated and boring. There weren’t any better songs though. Given the fact that we are talking about Serbia and the “weaker” SF, Serbia has a lot of chances to reach the Grand Final. Serbia is in my 33rd place: 11. Italy (7.25) 13. Lithuania (7) 15. Denmark (7) 18. Poland (7) 21. Armenia (6.75) 23.… Read more »
Mari(o)Vision
Guest

Adore Serbia’s entry this year <3
From the best songs in this year's EuroVision.
My 3rd favorite actually!
9/10

Torbjörn
Guest

I didn’t even have nerves to listen to it past 20 secs. Terrible!

vili
Guest

Ali srbija je mnogo uspesnija od Hrvatske na esc….i ove godine prolazi u finale, dok cete vi lizati esc dno!

AnteHR
Guest

Keep it in English! This is not “Borba” newspaper, idiot!

Purple Mask
Guest

@AnteHR: That was unnecessary. Use a translation tool, and show more respect.

AngieP
Guest

I don’t know how to feel about it. It’s good, but not great. It didn’t have any impression on me when I first heard it. However, I appreciate the traditional elements and also that they brought the Serbian language back to Eurovision after 2013.
5.5/10

PP
Guest

Serbia is in my TOP 10
My TOP 10
1.Israel
2.F.Y.R Macedonia
3.Belgium
4.Estonia
5.Sweden
6.Norway
7.Germany
8.Serbia
9.Belarus
10.The Netherlands

Bottom 5
39.Iceland
40.Spain
41.Hungary
42.San Marino
43.Slovenia

Magpie
Guest

I think the biggest problem with this song is selling it. Technically it is very likeable, however this needs to click with the wider audience outside of the Balkans if this is to do well.

M
Guest
I can already see all the Serbians getting pissed off and being ashamed of our entry because it’s so trashy and ethno, but I actually quite enjoy it. It has a really nostalgic feel to it, as in this would’ve probably won in the 2000s when there was no juries, and it shows in the fact that in the national final they had so much going on onstage in terms of the LED panels and the costumes and the guy playing the frula. Structurally this is a hot mess. I have no clue where the bridge is or where the… Read more »
Graph
Guest

I don’t get why people think the word “trashy” could even possibly describe this song. Are we to the point where if a song isn’t like France, or Italy, or Salvador, or Jamala, it might be be trash?

It really shows how serious Eurovision has gotten.

15 years ago this would have been one of the classier songs.

Tibor
Guest

“It really shows how serious Eurovision has gotten.

15 years ago this would have been one of the classier songs.”

You make it sound like that’s a bad thing … 😉
But I know what you mean. By any means, this is not trash.

Graph
Guest
I think the trend toward deeper or more serious or authentic songs is good for the contest. I don’t have an issue with the songs, my occasional frustration is more with fans who write off songs that aren’t riding the wave. This year, in particular, there are a number of songs that haven’t been given a fair hearing IMO (no pun intended). But the good thing is that the actual results of the contest tend to contradict prevailing sentiments about what “should” be doing well in the year. That keeps the contest interesting. I have a feeling the winner this… Read more »
Eve
Guest

Hey @M, interesting review, I laughed so much at the part -”they just threw stuff at the wall and hoped it would stick” 😀
thanks for your support, much love <3

Tibor
Guest

I agree.
Nobody is obligated to like a particular song, of course, but people dismissing something so readily without apparently having listened to it … It makes any song appear disposable and that’s a shame.

Purple Mask
Guest
Serbia – Sanja Ili? & Balkanika: “Nova Deca” Keys: B minor Time Sigs: 4/4 Song structure: Verse 1 – Chorus – Verse 2 – Bridge – Reprise – Coda Harmony: Shifts to chords VI, VII and other related harmonies Influences: Traditional Music comments: With the first part lasting approximately 56 seconds, I think this song might have set a record for the longest opening section in the contest’s history. The instrumental music moves from chord to chord, pausing at each step to give the performers time to deliver their traditionally inspired melodies, which are very melismatic. It’s nice music with… Read more »
Colin
Guest
Nice review. I can tell you that the lyrics are very good. They are actually a two-parter in meaning. First part includes: “S osmehom se budim zato što postojiš ti”, meaning: “I wake up with a smile because you exist”. It’s quite ambigous on who ‘you’ is, but the vibe I got is that it’s a love message. The second part: “Svet je naš i nova deca s nama stvaraju bolji svet” or “World is ours and new children are creating a better world with us”. It’s about a revival, a new creation. I get it if someone finds it… Read more »
Purple Mask
Guest

@Colin: Thank you for the explanations of the lyrics. The song is beginning to make more sense to me now. As you know, I found this entry to be the most challenging song to review this year; mainly because the culture behind it is so very different from my own. So thank you.

Héctor
Guest

I could read all your reviews one after another and don’t get tired at all, even if I don’t understand some of the things you are talking about. Anyway, thanks for your professional reviews! They are very interesting.

Purple Mask
Guest

Thank you so much. 🙂

Eve
Guest

Yeah, sometimes I agree with mr. Mask and sometimes don’t, but you can’t deny the fact that he’s one of a kind and his review can’t be skipped 🙂

anonymous
Guest

This gives me FYROM 2013 vibes, which is not necessarily a good thing… but still, best of luck.

4/10

Andrea
Guest

It would’ve been a fantastic song if they hadn’t added any electronica beats to it. Leave it 100% ethnic, 100% folkloric, and it would’ve been much better. But the EDM takes away the charm in it.

Lewis S
Guest

I give this 6.5/10. This has really surprised me; the studio cuts of all the serbian entries this year were terrible; but listening to this live… It came to life. You could really get the ethnic feel and the power behind the song. I don’t speak the language: but I could tell it had a powerful meaning, that needed to be heard. (But have forgotten cause I’ve forgotten the translation). Good Job this year, A strong qualifier.

Tibor
Guest
I kinda like it. The problem with this entry seems to be that many different people dislike many different parts of it, so this might be a problem. I, myself like the female singers (the voice of the dark haired one has a hint of a lower pitched Kate Bush ring to it), and yes, I totally get the “apocalyptic sect” vibe, they look and sound like high priestesses in their flowing gowns and chanting like that, but for me it’s still strange in a good way. On the other hand when the dude starts singing … that’s a major… Read more »
EscFan
Guest

Sanja Ilic is the man on the keyboard.

Tibor
Guest

Okay, thanks. 🙂

Eve
Guest

Sanja Ilic is also founder of the group and writer of the song, and as every founder, he likes to mix in everything 😛 He won’t be on stage in Lisbon tho.
(they bring one more female backing vocal)

Tibor
Guest

Got it.
That’s really a curious way of naming an act, though. A band “featuring” another artist, you wouldn’t think that he was a proper member of the band, let alone their founder. That’s why I was so convinced, that the male vocalist was the one being “featured”. To my ears his style sounds so different to the others, but I guess that’s just beacuse I don’t listen to this kind of music very often.
But I still do like it and hope it goes through to the final.

friedenau
Guest

Thanks! you made my day

Jo
Guest

5.0/10

Roelof Meesters
Guest

I absolutely ADORE this entry. I love every part of it, the ethno beginning, the modern parts and those two mixed together. I hope this’ll qualify, this group deserves it because they have awesome vocals and bring an awesome song. This is maybe not as good as 2012, 2008 or 2007, but it’s definitly up there with the better Serbian entries.
9/10

M_K
Guest
Serbia is one of my favourite countries in the Eurovision Song Contest (even though they’ve only had ten entries so far). Sadly, I have to admit that this is my least favourite Serbian entry so far. If I had to pick one adjective to describe the song, it would be… creepy (not in a good way). “I nova deca s nama stvaraju bolji svet” sounds like the slogan of an apocalyptic sect, which is also underpinned by the robot-like harmonies and the female singer’s elegiac mantra-style singing. The musical arrangement sounds so unbelievably cheap; if you only listen to the… Read more »
Sabrina
Guest

I love the old dude with the flute! I will admit he’s a little creepy, but in a charming way. 😛

ninasublatti
Guest

ok now serbia will withdraw because of your words

Purple Mask
Guest

They will not withdraw, and they should not withdraw.

Digital Style
Guest

I like this, but it isn’t a song that translates very well live. I also don’t like the woman doing the long notes – I understand their significance, but they don’t match with the rest of the song. I love ethnopop however, so to have an entry like this in the contest made me really happy. If they have good staging and amazing live vocals, I feel like they could pull off a qualification. Maybe I’m being too optimistic, though.

EscFan
Guest

I follow their work since years and I have always had the dream that they will represent Serbia one day. It seems that these Balkan sounds are familiar, but they still create something unique (for example Danica’s ethno part in the beginning) which could blow away the audience with an amazing presentation. The stage director will be Gorcin Stojanovic (SRB 2007, 2015). Sanja Ilic will not be on the stage, we will have another backing singer Ivana Banicevic. It’s gonna be amazing

Ana
Guest

I’m so strongly ambivalent towards this song! I LOVE the “Svet je nas…” part and the tempo, changing to faster one in the third minute. But, well, I hate the idea of the woman singing that “eee, aaa…”, I can’t listen to this 🙁 I’m not sure how to rate it as a whole but anyway, I’m glad to hear real Balkans this year, AGAIN.

6/10

Weißbrot
Guest

I’d just like to mention, thst Salvador got the same score last year… Which is…. questionable. 😉
This isn’t really my Cup of tea… I LOVE ethnic Music, but this is just not as good as I’d like it to be. It’s totally messy and I can’t make myself listen to this for full 3 minutes. I also sometimes skip the part in the beginning a bit, because after a couple times, this really started to annoy me. However, I don’t think it’s bad. It’s not my Cup of tea, but I appreciate it..
6/10 Points (Because at least they were original)

Frisian esc
Guest

I want the serbia from before 2015 back

Kris
Guest

The first minute is too stretched out and the song only gets going after 1 minute. The ethnic elements are good but the subtle electro elements in the NF suited more than the revamped version. I was more excited about this when it was selected but not that much any more.
Also we can’t tell 100% if we have indeed seen the song performed live. The 3rd slot is the worst one but Serbia does yield some voting power. Wouldn’t be surprised if it just misses out or just makes it in.
A 6.5/10
Now that’s some exactitude

TK
Guest

I personally really like this. I love that Ethno pop is back and I think the lyrics are lovely!

That said it does feel like two songs in one, so I can understand if it is jarring to some people. It’s also super ethnic so, again, I totally understand that it isn’t to everyone’s taste.

In any case I like it! Good luck Serbia.

Colin
Guest
SERBIA – When I was listening to Beovizija candidates, this was the first song that made me stop and enter their world. I really like the blend of traditional and modern here, especially since the lyrics are about connecting generations and making a better world together. Surprisingly, this holds the record of a song with smallest amount of lyrics this year, and yet, it’s not that noticeable, as beautiful instrumental seems like it brings a story for itself. In the second half, however, there was room to tweak the lyrics a bit instead of just pasting them again. It’s a… Read more »
Sabrina
Guest

I’m glad I wasn’t the only one unaware about the lenght of the lyrics for this song. They sure could add a few extra lines there on the second part, but somehow this hasn’t bothered me. After all, I wouldn’t understand the language anyway. 😛

Colin
Guest

I do, so the repetition becomes obvious, as well as the long notes. But that’s the part of Balkan ethno music. And as far as that goes, I really like Nova Deca. Your review is very nice, as always. 🙂

Colin
Guest

The good news is – there are no *really* repetitive songs this year (e.i. Do It For Your Lover, Spirit of the Night). Among more repetitive songs this year are Nova Deca, O Jardim and Together, and all of them are quite good, with nice voices, instrumentals and messages behind it. There are no songs with the same insipid lyric 20 times in a row (Thankfully, we avoided that by Lithuania choosing Ieva and not ‘Yes I Do’).

Sabrina
Guest

Thank you! I agree that no song this year is repetitive to the point of getting annoying. “Spirit of the Night” almost drove me crazy. “Yes I Do” would go the same way. By the way, there was a talk that “O Jardim” could get a different version so it could reach 3 minutes (it’s 2:40 if I’m not mistaken) but I haven’t read anything about that since then. I don’t think it needed changes though. My only concern about it is the way Cláudia and Isaura harmonize. But that’s a subject for a different review!

Kris
Guest

Wiwi jury
1)NET 7.28 2)AZE 7.22 3)ITA 7.17
4)SLO 6.58 5)SRB 6.50 6)ARM 6.39
7)POL 6.36 8)BLR 6.36 9)MLT 6.31
10)CRO 6.19 11)DEN 6.17 12)MDA 6.08
13)GBR 5.97 14)LTU 5.83 15)IRE 5.67 15)NOR 5.44

Modified Score
1)NET 8.88 2)ITA 8.81 3)AZE 8.19
4)MLT 8.13 5)DEN 8.00 6)SRB 8.00
7)SLO 8.00 8)MDA 7.75 9)CRO 7.69
10)POL 7.63 11)BLR 7.56 12)ARM 7.50 13)LTU 7.44 14)NOR 7.38 15)IRE 7.06 15)GBR 6.94

Total:
1)NET 16.14 2)ITA 15.98 3)AZE 15.41 4)SLO 14.58 5)SRB 14.50 6)MLT 14.44
7)DEN 14.17 8)POL 13.99 9)BLR 13.92
10)ARM 13.89 11)CRO 13.88 12)MDA 13.83
13)LTU 13.27 14)GBR 12.91 15)NOR 12.82 16)IRE 12.73

Eve
Guest

Italy so underrated, if I may say..

Sabrina
Guest
I’m always up for some solid ethno-pop on Eurovision. It’s a good way to showcase a country’s cultural background and make it accessible for people who came from totally different places. This is the kind of music I would probably never listen to if it wasn’t for the contest and that would be a pity, because there’s something very unique on balkan sounds. I must say I still think the intro is too long. It lasts almost a minute, an eternity for Eurovision’s standards. I don’t know if I’m being culturally insensitive by wanting to rush things up a little… Read more »
Boy
Guest

I dont like it. This song it always in ESC. Come whit something news.

esc freak
Guest

It’s decent. An interesting concept that works pretty well. I really like Sanja’s vocals as well. Having said that, there is still room for improvement in this entry. Not sure if it will qualify.

6.5/10

Nickc
Guest

Serbia can do better. 3.5/10

Kaz
Guest

I love this song and it’s structure. Everything is perfect to me and I can’t see this falling out of my Top 3 even in such a tough year. I am worried this may not qualify especially with its early running order but for me the song is personally a 10/10.

Dew
Guest

That woman ruins the this song for me.

Erasmus
Guest

Wow this was overrated, this is my second to last. It just drags and even tho it’s ethnic I don’t feel it. It sounds more like a mess of ethnic and folk sounds rather than a mix of them. Just 3,5/10 for me, mostly for very good vocals

Pablo
Guest
This is not the most immediate song in the mix… but after listening to it for a while, it grabs you in. It will be a challenge to transmit this multitude feeling to the ESC stage. It takes a long, dreary verse for the interesting chorus to hit us and bring us that meditative, Buudha Bar feeling. I’m not seeking for it, but pleased when it arrives. For what is worth, it’s the best Serbia had to offer this year, and it could go either way in terms of results. In a way I’d say this is the Voda of… Read more »
Fast Food Music Lover
Guest
Fast Food Music Lover

The song should’ve ended before the “na, na, na…” part but they were like, well, we have 3 minutes better fill it with something.