It’s time to deck the halls and warm-up your live stream: Albania’s Festivali i Këngës 56 is back just before Christmas!
Yes, December is here and with it Albania’s national selection for Eurovision 2018. Expect four (or more) hours of good old Albanian guitar solos, endless commercials wishing us ‘Gezuar festet’ and a full display of portentous voices singing with an orchestra. Part old-school, part new — and a rite of passage for every hardcore Eurofan.
This year Albania’s RTSH has decided to release the competing songs in advance so that we can have a listen and, more importantly, compile tops lists for YouTube.
The songs were debuted on the radio show of Albania’s regular points spokesperson Andri Xhahu. They are now available to listen in full on RTSH’s YouTube channel.
One of these 22 songs will become the first Eurovision 2018 entry you’ll hear. Amid all the excitement and anticipation, let’s pause and learn how to cope with pressure in style from former FiK winner Eneda Tarifa.
The song titles suggest plenty of diversity — and more than a bit of melodrama.
“Divorce”, “Pedestal”, “Why would I love you?” — we want to know what all of them sound like (and now we can by scrolling down).
Many familiar names are returning to the competition.
2006 entrant Luiz Ejili, FiK 1993 winner Manjola Nallbani and Bojken Lako — a.k.a., the man who beat Lindita’s “S’të fal” and surprisingly finished second behind Elhaida Dani in 2014.
Courtesy of RTSH, here’s the playlist with all 22 entries. Let’s do this!
Festivali i Këngës 56 entrants
- AKULLTHYESIT – “Divorci” (Divorce)
- Artemisa Mithi – “E dua botën” (I love the world)
- Bojken Lako – “Sytë e shpirtit” (The eyes of the soul)
- David & Genc Tukiqi – “Të pandarë” (Inseperable)
- Denisa Gjezo – “Zemër ku je” (Dear heart, where you are)
- Elton Deda – “Fjalët” – (Words)
- Ergi Bregu-Latifllari – “Bum Bum”
- Eugent Bushpepa “Mall” (Yearning)
- Evans Rama – “Gjurmët” (Traces)
- Inis Neziri – “Piedestal” – (Pedestal)
- LORELA – “Pritem edhe pak” (Wait a little longer)
- LYNX – “Vonë” (Late)
- Manjola Nallbani – “I njejti qiell” (The same sky)
- Mariza Ikonomi – “Unë” (Me)
- NA & Festina Mezini – “Tjetër jetë” (Another life)
- Orgesa Zaimi – “Ngrije zërin” (Speak up)
- Redon Makashi – “Ekzistoj” (I exist)
- Rezarta Samja & Luis Ejlli – “Ra një yll” (A star fell)
- Stefi & Endri Prifti – “Mesazh” (Message)
- Tahir Gjoci – “Orë e ndaluar” (Stopped clock)
- Voltan Prodani – “Pse të desha” (Why would I love you?)
- Xhesika Polo – “Përjetë” (Forever)
Who are these singers?
One of the hot favourites going into the contest is Artemisa Mithi who will make her FiK debut. She was previously a contestant on The Voice Kids. Earlier this year she competed on The Voice of Albania, where she made it to the live shows but was eliminated in week one.
Also debuting is Inest Neziri, who previously won the TV talent show Gjeniu i Vogël 5 and Lorela Sejdini (now known as LORELA) who competed on The Voice of Albania. Xhesika Polo, who was third on X Factor 2012, made her FiK debut last year and competed on Kenga Magijke 2017, will also return.
Returning to the line-up is Bojken Lako. The Albanian rock legend is a four-time FiK veteran, who placed second in 2014 with “Të ndjej”.
Elton Deda was a coach on the first three series of The Voice of Albania. He also completed in FiK in 2011, where he was runner-up to Rona Nishliu with “Kristal”.
Well-known Albanian singer Eugent Bushpepa returns to Festivali i Këngës after almost a decade. Other iconic Albanian performers to return include Manjola Nallbani, Mariza Ikonomi, Redon Makashi and brotherly duo Stefi & Endri Prifti.
Rock bands NA and LYNX are back, while the group AKULLTHYESIT makes their FiK debut.
Other FiK returning artists include Rezarta Samja & Luis Ejlli who will be performing as a duo this time, as well as Evans Rama and Voltan Prodani.
Who’s your favourite? Which songs slay? And who do you expect to rock Tirana’s Palace of Congresses on December 23? Let us know down below.