At Eurovision 2016 in Stockholm, she delivered powerhouse vocals but didn’t have the staging to match. But on Saturday evening everything came together for Albania’s Eneda Tarifa as she won the prestigious Kënga Magjike song festival in Tirana.

Competing against around fifty artists, she proved her prowess to wow with vocals and to tug on heartstrings, nailing her emotional performance of “Ma zgjat doren” (Give Me Your Hand).

The dramatic ballad was written before the devastating earthquake that killed more than twenty people last month. But its message — of separation, loss and seismic movements of the heart — resonated strongly in the wake of the crisis.

In the lyrics of the song, which you can read at the end of this post, Eneda is being sucked into the earth and asking her beloved if he’ll reach out to her. “We are both close to the precipice,” she sings. “Only my soul is falling, will you give me your hand, will you give me your hand.”

The performance included stunning LED effects — at one point the ground seems to shatter and Eneda sings as the Earth seems to crumble. She was supported by seven top dancers from Italy, giving her modern song extra visual drama and appeal. You can watch the full show below. Eneda’s performance begins at 1:25

Kënga Magjike 2019 recast as earthquake fundraiser

The Albanian song festival is always a celebration of culture and cultural exchange. Running for more than two decades, it brings together some of Albania’s top talent — past winners include Jonida Maliqi (one of five jurors this year), Juliana Pasha (a competitor this year) and Aurela Gaçe — and young rising stars. But it also welcomes international artists, many of whom you will recognise from the world of Eurovision. This year’s acts included North Macedonia’s Tamara Todevska, who won the Eurovision 2019 jury vote, and Kdam and 1in360 artist Judah Gavra.

Host, founder and executive producer Ardit Gjebrea could have cancelled or postponed the festival in the wake of the earthquake. Instead he decided to stick to the schedule and donate all of the ticket sales toward building a home for a family that lost everything during the earthquake. The festival, which dominated its time slot on all three nights, became the first major event in the country since the disaster. It gave people something to celebrate after so many dark days.

Speaking to the contestants during rehearsal on Saturday, he said: “We together give a contribution to build that house. I’m not only happy for this. But also because this is the first activity after the earthquake.”

“[When the festival started] people were still afraid to go out of their houses. They were with their children to protect then. After the festival started a lot of people told me the shops were open…and people were going to the shops to buy things again. Yesterday people showed me photos — they bought a Christmas tree and started to put lights there. They were thankful to everybody who made them understand that life is continuing. We are here to do that and I am very happy and proud of everybody.”

Tamara Todeveska: Best International Artist

Kënga Magjike has four categories: Best New International Artist, Best Artist, Best International Artist and the grand prize Best Artist. The bar to be invited is very high. Artists must have accumulated more than 10 million views on YouTube or won programmes like The Voice or X Factor. Even then there are further cuts to ensure a top-notch competition.

More than 40 acts competed over two semi-finals and then 25 made the grand final on Saturday. There is a public vote, a professional jury vote and an artists’ vote. Yes, all of the competing artists have to rank all of the other competing artists.

North Macedonia’s Tamara Todevska sang her new single “Monsters” and took the crown in the Best International Artist category. Curiously, she was a huge jury favourite in the overall results. After the jury and artist vote she was in the Top 4. Unfortunately she came last in the televote.

“Ma zgjat doren” lyrics in English (Eneda Tarifa)

“Give Me Your Hand”

You look at life’s cracks
I killed myself forever
Let me go, let me go
Don’t bring me back into your life
Don’t poison me in mine
Both together and separated
I set my hands on fire for you

We are both close to the precipice
Only my soul is falling
Will you take my hand
Will you take my hand

At the bottom of the earth with fur
Release the one you love
Let me go, let me go
Don’t bring me back into your life
Don’t poison me in mine
Both together and separate
I set my hands on fire for you

We are both close to the precipice
Only my soul is falling `
Will you take my hand
Do you want to take my hand

Are you loving Eneda’s performance as much as we are? Did you feel the passion and emotion? Let us know in the comments section below. 

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AlbanianKM
AlbanianKM
9 months ago

Eneda won the first place from the artist’s vote, Fifi came third, Tamara was 5-th according to the artists. Tamara was the winner of th jury’s vote, Eneda was the runner up for the jury, Fifi was in the third place according to the jury. Fifi won the televote, Eneda was the runner up for the televote, Tamara was 24th (24/48 artists, so she wasn’t in the last place,but for sure she deserved more). The owerall winner was Eneda Tarifa counting artist’s,jury’s and televote points, Fifi was the runner up, Tamara was in 5-th place. The three winners according to… Read more »

MahpeykerKösem (KESC)
MahpeykerKösem (KESC)
9 months ago

Eneda has potential for a very good result. She just needs the right song.. I would love to see her competing again.. with a stronger entry, of course. 😉

Loin dici
Loin dici
9 months ago

Exactly, although Peralle could actually be strong. Shame it was revamped that way.

Colin
Colin
9 months ago

I agree. She’s so charismatic and a very good singer. Her ESC song was very mediocre, but her performance saved it from being bad. With a right song, she could own the contest.

Joe
Joe
9 months ago

So proud to see Albania bouncing back after such a horrible event. Much love from the USA!

Inga
Inga
9 months ago

Eneda was so underrated in Eurovision. Queen deserves this <3