They’re known for taking traditional sounds and setting them against contemporary beats. And Sanja Ilic & Balkanika did it again today during their first rehearsal, taking their ethnic sound to Lisbon’s thoroughly modern stage.

The performance begins with an elderly man – with a very long white beard — playing a traditional flute. That gives way to the group’s three female singers, who wear goddess-like dresses and sing before an orange background. It channels soul and adds a nice colour contrast to the group’s washed-out, lilac dresses. A bit of grit and modernity comes courtesy of the drummer beating on industrial canisters with black spray-paint detailing. They’re building a bridge from the ancient to the modern.

The group have added quite a bit of choreography, with the singers slowly lowering themselves and raising their arms as the lead singer, who wears all black, stands in the middle of them. It creates an interesting Balkan take on Charlie’s Angels.

As with so many of the acts thus far, the camera angles need a lot of work. At times the group seems to be swallowed by the stage – even in close-up shots — and this diffuses the energy of the performance. The final minute grew a bit boring, owing to repetitive camera cuts.

Sanja Ilic & Balkanika — “Nova deca”: Reviews and Reactions

Serbia: First rehearsal at Eurovision 2018

Keep checking back for more reviews of Serbia’s first rehearsal

Serbia: First press conference 2018

Read all of our Eurovision rehearsal reviews

Read all of our Serbia Eurovision news here

Footage & Photos: EBU & RTP

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32 Comments on "Serbia: Sanja Ilic & Balkanika serve ethno-spiritual realness along with urban drummer during first rehearsal"

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AngieP
Guest

Nice staging, I like they’re going for the drums and flut there like good old times. But I don’t really like it.

Mladen
Guest

I am from Serbia and I feel ashamed of this entry. Everyone here hates it because apart from having been chosen by one ill-reputed person (there was no televote and no other juries), the song itself is very, very bad. Unfortunately, the next year will be the same for us as long as that man makes decisions on his own head.

Mima
Guest

I am also from Serbia, and quite like the song. I respect its uniqueness, and the attempt at fusion. Plus it’s in Serbian, which is what I prefer to see on Eurovision in acts from non-Eng nations. Good luck in semi, Serbia!

Danijel_here
Guest

Remember that this is traditional music from your country. They’re sharing our beautiful culture with the others. Samo dalje

Jamm772
Guest

Wtf was that press conference about? The weirdest thing I watched in a long time. Their spokesperson is a tool. 0/10
Rehearsal was 2/10 . Cannot see this in the final. Just a mess.

Malin
Guest

Like the traditional sound, my top 3 today together whith Greece and Danmark. Hmm… all traditional sounds … I’m getting old. ; )

Good luck from Sweden

Sabrina
Guest
The snippet gave me the same feelings Chris had after watching the whole thing: something was lost on the way to Lisbon. The biggest strenght of this entry is that they have a bunch of very interesting people to show, but the way they were displayed isn’t working. The lighting seems darker than it should too. The good news is that all the problems are solvable, since there’s no prop on their way. I like the song and Serbia would be a qualifier to me, but after Norway and Romania had good rehearsals, they need to up their game ASAP,… Read more »
perrs
Guest

Wiwibloggs must banned Diana (UK ) from this cites to post any comennt. In Jasenovac Croats kills about 700000 Serbs, Romans , Jews and in NDH (Independt state of Croatia) Croat had concentration logor for Serbs children when they killed them with help of catholich nurses. They killed 4000 childs.

perrs
Guest

Jastrebsko logor is for serbian chilrden in NDH from 1941 to 1945.

Austria Above All!
Guest

Honestly, I think that Croatians should have exterminated all serbs, including their children, before they grew up and killed other children in Bosnia and Kosovo. As an Austrian, I support completely Croatian ideology and will do the utmost to restore the New Jasenovac Camp.

Ante (CR)
Guest

Remove the subhuman serb! Hail to you, Austrian brother!

Austria Above All!
Guest

Remove the subhuman serb! Hail to you, Croatian brother!

Nijk
Guest

As an Martian myself, I think all of you should be banned from this contest so I can no longer read this cr*p. Nobody cares about your tribal fights!!

Austria Above All!
Guest

@Nijk: Since when subhuman serbs became a Germanic tribe?! Head down, subhuman, and march yourself to Jasenovac Camp! SCHEEELL!!!!!

HAILSTORM
Guest

Those serb subhumans did not commit genocides just in Bosnia and Kosovo but in Croatia and Slovenia as well! They also cowardly killed the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and thousands of Germans and Hungarians in Vojvodina. We will get revenge by killing those subhumans to the last one, including their ugly children!

Marcelo
Guest

I can see some elements from the Greece staging here: blue backdrop, girls dressed in white, ethno-ballad. I’m not sure if that’s enough for Serbia to qualify but good luck.

Hans
Guest

Terrible! They will fight with Montenegro and San Marino for the last place on the 2nd semi.

Danijel_here
Guest

You wish hehe

Miguel
Guest

There is not much to say here…
It’s a simple staging, but it works for Serbia. Better than last year.

Diana (UK)
Guest

This is the worst thing in 63 years!

Denis
Guest

Apart from when your mother gave birth to you!

perrs
Guest

Diana you comment is provocation. But because you are from UK your rude comments want be delete on this bloggs, especially second comment. You must apologise to many people killed in Jasenovac by Croats in NDH.

ivanvivas
Guest

British people are the worst thing not in 63 years but since the creation of the world actually. Especially the Eurovision entries and British turists.

Héctor
Guest

Nice to have some ethnic sound. The dressing looks cool too. But everything is very average here to me…

Jo.
Guest

OMG it looks awesome!!

elm
Guest

MESS

Denis
Guest

It reminds me of B&H in 2016. A sweet mess.
It is a strong semi and I don’t see them making it