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
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Serbia: First press conference 2018
Footage & Photos: EBU & RTP