Eurovision Asia is on its way and we are super excited! Post-Eurovision depression won’t last nearly as long the next time around, as Eurovision Asia will pick up the momentum following Eurovision and serve us 20 unique performances from another part of the world. Kazakhstan — a sunny country of two languages — might as well be a part of it.
Although Kazakhstan has never taken part in Eurovision, rumours routinely surface about its possible participation. And in 2017 the country did participate in Eurovision in one sense: the runner-up Kristian Kostov is half Asian and his mother hails from Kazakhstan. You likely also remember that Zhanar Dugalova, a Kazakh singer, won Turkvision back in 2014.
But trust me: the Kazakh music industry is much more than just a few talented artists. The incredibly diverse music scene includes the traditional and the modern, the folksy and the funky, and songs that span English, Kazakh and Russian.
We’ve already made lists of our dream acts for Kazakhstan before — and this time we’ll introduce you to a few new acts…and remind you of a few worthy of your attention once more. Close your eyes and get ready to feel those Asian vibes!
Our dream acts for Kazakhstan
Want to discover the unique nature of Kazakh pop? Then check out this girl group which includes three Anime-like performers — Aknaz, Asel’ and Sandugash. They deftly combine Asian motifs and modern pop drops in their music — and that’s on top of their natural beauty and fierce dance moves.
The groups’s name, “Ayumi”, means “iris flower” in Japanese. The girls associate themselves with the name, claiming that they’re just as pure and tender. The singers portray the image of “real Kazakh girls, coming from the people” and add a bit spice through their bold music videos. That Kazakh fire comes easy. As Aknaz said in a recent interview, “It’s in our blood”.
They’ve got two big hits with over 4 million views each — “Sen emes pe” and “Hey-La”, both in their native Kazakh language.
Dimash (full name Dinmukhamet Kudaibergenov) is a 23-year-old singer who entered the field of music as a child, as both of his parents are professional artists.
While he may have inherited their talent, he’s worked hard to develop it. And develop it he has. He earned his fame after winning Slavianski Bazaar 2015. Dimash’s unique vocal range (five octaves!) has been put to good use in countless festivals, though his most impressive feat may be winning “The most popular singer in Asia” award at the Top Chinese Music Awards — known as the Chinese analogue of the Grammy Awards. Apart from all of this, Dimash sings in Kazakh, Russian, English, French and Chinese. That’d make him a real competitor on the Eurovision Asia scene, right?
The band takes its name from lead singer Galymzhan Moldanazar, who comes from a tiny village in Kazakhstan. But his musical stylings are anything but provincial. The band defies stereotype, serving mostly synth-pop and funk tracks, which Kazakh fans describe as “mysterious and sincere”. That’s a perfect description. Their music conveys a strong Kazakh identity while the sounds of the Kazakh language add mystery.
My personal favourite is “Ozin gana”, because as much as it thrills me, it also creeps me out. “Ozin gana” means “only you”, and the lyrics remind us about the feelings we forget to show to our loved ones. Accordions often seem cheesy in Eurovision songs, but here the instrument becomes a rather haunting vehicle to convey the eerie and undiscovered.
With Renzo we stick with modern pop — but this time it’s from a boyband, who, by the way, work with the same production team as the girl group Ayumi. Their name — Renzo — is Japanese as well and means “third son”. Its four members — Askar Akhmet, Zhanbolat Ertaev, Eset Zharylkasynov and Erzhan Zhunusov — are all in their early twenties and share those essential boy band qualities: good looks, swagger and voice.
A fun fact about Renzo: each member is responsible for something in the band (besides singing and dancing, of course). Zhanbolat handles choreography, Eset oversees style, Askar heads the ensemble… and Erzhan is just playing the hard role of being the youngest member.
Known as the Kazakh One Direction, they rap in Kazakh and sing in Kazakh, peppering their music with English where appropriate. Haven’t heard a decent Asian rap song? Get ready.
The son of famous Kazakh singer Roza Rymbaeva and composer and conductor Taskyn Okapov, Ali Okapov has music in his genes. Trained in music and dance from an early age, he earned thousands of fans after participating in the Kazakh series Fabrika Zvyozd (Star Factory) — a television talent show for youth. Ali didn’t want to exploit his mother’s fame and wanted to achieve success on his own. When he learned that the show would require him to lip sync he objected, instead offering to sing live. Thanks to him the juries changed the rules and made live singing compulsory for all participants. Although he didn’t win Fabrika Zvyozd, he made it to the final and left a major impression. He’s now one of the jurors on The Voice Kids Kazakhstan!
He’s got the voice, he’s got the courage, he’s got the Asian beauty — and we would definitely like to see him put all of those skills to use on the Eurovision Asia stage.
What do you think of these acts? Would you like to see any of them representing Kazakhstan at Eurovision Asia 2018? Share your opinion in the comments box below!