Arilena Ara will represent Albania at Eurovision 2020 with her song “Shaj“. Arilena earned the ticket to Rotterdam by winning Albania’s song contest Festivali i Këngës 58.

Arilena has said that at Eurovision she will sing a revamped version of the song with English lyrics. However, the Albanian lyrics likely give listeners an idea of the version Arilena will sing in Rotterdam.

Scroll down for “Shaj” lyrics

Albania in Eurovision 2020: Arilena Ara “Shaj”

Arilena Ara is one of Albania’s biggest stars. Her Instagram fans number 1.1 million. She first rose to fame after winning The X Factor Albania in 2013. In the years since she’s racked up numerous chart smashes. And she’s even gone to the other side of the talent show table, acting as a coach on The Voice Kids Albania.

Prior to Eurovision, “Nëntori” was her best known single internationally. It enjoyed considerable airplay in Romania and Russia and has over 67 million YouTube views.

Despite her profile, Arilena’s FiK 58 win surprised some. Many expected Elvana Gjata to take the winner’s title. In a result that caused much debate, the “Me Tana” singer finished second.

What do the “Shaj” lyrics mean?

“Shaj” is a verb meaning to insult, revile, slander, curse. And the song is all about Arilena feeling deep, burning emotions that make her want to spit out some strong words.

She sings about a feeling a strong burning desire that hits her hard inside. The feeling drags her in and gives her the sense that it won’t be ending.

With the song’s chorus, Arilena cries out “Dua ta shaj” — “I want to curse/It breaks me and I can’t bear/I can’t keep up/It is dragging me in”.

She also confesses that she wants to kill this thing that is making her feel so much, and that desire is, in turn, making her feel guilty.

But just what is this perplexing emotion? It could be some sort of romantic turmoil, but the lyrics suggest there could be something darker going on. Arilena sings that “It hurts me but I endure it/It has a price/This hostage of my soul”.

Albania has a rich history of revamping its songs ahead of the Eurovision Song Contest. Sometimes it works, but sometimes it really doesn’t. It seems that Arilena is considering taking the chance.

“I haven’t thought about it yet because I didn’t know if I was going to be the winner, but maybe we’ll do it in English,” she said of a potential revamp.

During the festival, she said that the song originally came to her in English. Our correspondent Erdi asked her if she could remember the English lyrics that ultimately inspired the tune.

After a pause, she sang: “Broken, broken, broken with love…”.

Watch the interview below.

“Shaj” lyrics — Arilena Ara (Albania ESC 2020)

Written and composed by: Darko Dimitrov, Lazar Cvetkovski and Lindon Berisha.

Dimitrov is a prolific composer and producer. He has previously worked on numerous Eurovision entries, including both of North Macedonia’s most successful song contest hits —  “Ninanajna” (12th in 2006) and “Proud” (7th in 2019).

Albanian Text

Nuk e di, a të ka ndodh
Të goditesh brenda fort
Nga një shkëndijë
E bukur dhe e trishtë

Sa të rrit edhe të lodh
Reziston që ta lëshosh
Të jep ndjesinë
Që nuk ka përfundim

Dua ta shaj
Perhën që nuk e mbaj dot
Mbaj dot
Po më tërheq ajo zvarrë

Më vjen që ta vras
Atë që s’mund ta ndaj
Ta ndaj

Dhe më bën të ndjehem me fal

Ka diçka më tjetërson
Brenda meje po rënkon
Të ulëras

T’ia fal apo ta vras?
Nuk e di si ta gjykoj
Më lëndon por e duroj
E ka një çmim
Ky peng i shpirtit tim

Dua ta shaj
Perhën që nuk e mbaj dot
Mbaj dot
Po më tërheq ajo zvarrë

Më vjen që ta vras
Atë që s’mund ta ndaj
Ta ndaj

Dhe më bën të ndjehem me fal

Shaj, shaj, shaj

Më vjen që ta vras
Atë që s’mund ta ndaj
Ta ndaj

Më bën të ndjehem me faj

English translation

I don’t know if it has happened to you
To hit hard inside
From a spark
Beautiful and sad

As you grow tired
Resisting letting it go
It gives you the feeling
That has no end

I want to curse
It breaks me and I can’t bear
I can’t keep up
It is dragging me in

I want to kill it
What I can’t share
To share

And it makes me feel guilty

There’s something alienating me
Inside I was groaning
Screaming

Forgive or kill?
I don’t know how to judge it
It hurts me but I endure it
It has a price
This hostage of my soul

I want to curse
It breaks me and I can’t bear
I can’t keep up
It is dragging me in

I want to kill it
What I can’t share
To share

And it makes me feel guilty

Curse, curse, curse!

I want to kill it
What I can’t share
To share

And it makes me feel guilty

What do you think of Albania’s entry? Let us know in the comments below. And click here to read more Eurovision 2020 lyrics.

Follow all of our Albania Eurovision 2020 news.

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Berner
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Berner

The problem here is that she represents corruption and it doesn’t matter how she sings english or Chinese
i think place 37/41

Jordan
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Jordan

For all the controversy, just listened to this for the first time, after loving Me tana… Omg this song. This song!! If Albania reworks the music just a little, and pours all that money into production + staging – this is perfect! Estonia is going the complete wrong way with Beautiful Lie, it copies last year – but this is unique, emotional, powerful. In my opinion Albania’s best song yet. Just don’t ruin it with English!!

Eren
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Eren

We have only 1 song revealed, which is quite good in execution and as a whole package, but this esc fandom bubble is too irrelevant to say it is nq only it is albania and a ballad. The art is not about being ballad or not, i also loved me tana but shaj is also THAT much good. I think bloggs also continue to feed a meaningless drama. In anyway elvana lost and arilena won, why continously bringing that so called “drama” thing into thr stage which has to belong brilliant arilena herself. Most esc viewers will only know arilena… Read more »

Jordan
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Jordan

Also both songs are so beautiful. Why is everything always hate between songs? Except Contigo by Mirela, I’m still bitter about that ahaha

Tyna C.
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Tyna C.

Leave Shaij in Abanian Ariana, afterall you will be singing at the EUROVISION song contest; not at the ENGLOVISION

Ashton
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Ashton

rip Albania’s chances if they translate Shaj to English

Lulu
Guest

Leave the song and language as it is otherwise Albania won’t qualify

Briekimchi
Guest
Briekimchi

I know that’s not the actual wording they’ll use but something along those lines would worry me. Cursing, killing, enduring…I think I’d prefer all that in Albanian!

Loin dici
Guest
Loin dici

They’d probably change the curse into ‘swear’ or sumtin PG-friendly, but who knows?

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

Profanity? Naughty word? F word?
And executing/euthanising/ending… hmmm.
I haven’t the foggiest idea.
They will probably just stick with curse and killing. Eurovision isn’t PG anyhow – case and point: Iceland 2019.

Mony
Guest
Mony

Too many ballads from Albania in the past 10 years…The last time they sent an up-tempo song was in 2010…

2010 Juliana Pasha – “It’s All About You” (up-tempo)
2011 Aurela Gaçe “Feel the Passion” (mid-tempo) – NON QUALIFIER
2012 Rona Nishliu “Suus” (ballad)
2013 Adrian Lulgjuraj & Bledar Sejko “Identitet” (rock)- NON QUALIFIER
2014 Hersi Matmuja “One Night’s Anger” (mid-tempo)- NON QUALIFIER
2015 Elhaida Dani “I’m Alive” (mid-tempo)
2016 Eneda Tarifa “Fairytale”(ballad)- NON QUALIFIER
2017 Lindita “World” (ballad)- NON QUALIFIER
2018 Eugent Bushpepa “Mall” (rock)
2019 Jonida Maliqi “Ktheju tokës” (ballad)
2020 Arilena Ara “Shaj” (ballad) – I don’t think it’ll qualify

James
Guest
James

The titles of most of these Albanian entries make for interesting names for romance pocketbooks. 😀

Loin dici
Guest
Loin dici

I never know rock is a music pace

Jordan
Guest
Jordan

You mean the same Rona Nishliu who got Albania’s best ever 5th place in 2012 with a ballad?

esc1234
Guest
esc1234

Vera Grabocka should be praying that Arilena advances to the final cause otherwise Albanians wont be happy and they would be 100% right.

NickC
Guest
NickC

I think these excellent lyrics are the real reason why Albanian jurors, who understand the lyrics, put her ahead of Me Tana

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

If lyrics are worth 20% of the final mark, for example, then for sure it’s possible. Depends how they scored.

EscStuff
Guest
EscStuff

Real translation: Shaj (Curse) (Verse) I don’t know if it has happened to you To be hit inside by a spark Beautiful and sad As it grows and tires you You resist to let it go It makes you feel Like it will never end (Chorus) I want to curse The weight which I can’t bear, can’t bear It’s just dragging me on I want to kill The one who I can’t let go, let go And it makes me feel guilty (Verse) There’s something changing me It mourns inside me To shout Should I forgive or kill him? I… Read more »

EscStuff
Guest
EscStuff

“Ta ndaj” doesn’t mean “share”, but “break up with”. But in this context, it can be replaced with “can’t let go” 🙂

Skiwalko
Guest
Skiwalko

Thank you very much. I’ve read a couple of translations, but yours is by far the best. I’d prefer the lyrics not to have the romantic context, but they’re great nonetheless. Kudos to you, EscStuff!

EscStuff
Guest
EscStuff

Thanks a lot! The song itself is about a toxic relationship, from which you hesitate to escape, but it’s not healthy for you. I seem to be the only translator that is fluent in both albanian and english lol. Other translations seem like they were made using Google Translate (half of the word are almost completely wrong tbh, which is a shame cause it takes away from the majestic lyrics that the song has.

Sabrina
Guest
Sabrina

So she’s not wanting to kill the pain, but actually wondering if she should forgive or kill (not literally, I suppose!) the one causing her pain. Still good stuff, even if less mysterious. I agree with Skiwalko, it would be more interesting if it wasn’t about a failed romance. But anyway, Arilena really sold all this confusion of feelings with her performance.

EscStuff
Guest
EscStuff

@Sabrina Wanting to kill the one who she can’t help but love no matter how wrong it is was chosen for the lyrics to represent how much she really should not love him, which only makes the love seem bigger since she can’t fall out of love with him. This is not just a love or a break up song. It’s a song about staying in a toxic relationship so it dives a bit deeper than that.

Sabrina
Guest
Sabrina

I agree, it’s like she’s on the previous step from Srbuk’s “walking out”. Both share a different take on bad relationships and I like how there are doubts involved. But I think it could be even better if we didn’t know the nature of her pain, you know? Though there’s obvioulsy a good reason for most of the songs written in the world to be about failed romances!

Roy Moreno
Guest
Roy Moreno

Thank you so much for this great translation!
Now I know exactly what I’m singing xD I know the Albanian lyrics by heart :3

EscStuff
Guest
EscStuff

@Roy Moreno. I’m glad you enjoy the song so much! Hope you enjoy it just as much after the revamp

Skiwalko
Guest
Skiwalko

The lyrics are just as good as the music. Brutally raw and emotional portrait of destructive impuissance, a feeling you cannot name however hard you try, that drives you mad and makes you wanna “shaj”. A truly Hamletian dilemma – how can you kill something you don’t understand yourself? A pain you refuse so much that you feel ashamed for simply experiencing it? Combined with a perfect score and Arilena’s wonderful interpretation, “Shaj” moves me every time I hear it. Albania, please, stick to your language!

Azaad
Guest
Azaad

If these English lyrics are similar to these it won’t be a bad revamp provided they don’t update the music too much to make it more electro-based.

Sabrina
Guest
Sabrina

What I like about these lyrics is that most power ballads have a self-commiserating or a self-empowerment nature, but these seem to be about someone who refuses to keep feeding their pain, even if they still don’t know how to deal with it. So they’re cursing, finding a way to kill it. If they decide for the English lyrics, I hope at least they share this same meaning.

Colin
Guest
Colin

I agree. Shaj’s lyrics are very dark, dramatic and intense. I love that and the English ones should follow that sentiment quite closely. As it is with the translations, they’d have to find some synonyms or reverse the sentence construction to smoothly follow the music. And that is okay. But when the lyrics completely change the meaning, it’s not longer the same song (another reason why I detest 2011’s Celebrate). But since the lyrics were supposedly originally in English, I feel like Shaj will likely be fine in that regard.

Sabrina
Guest
Sabrina

It bothers me a lot when someone translates a song by changing the whole meaning of the lyrics. But I know it’s tough to keep the meaning and still make it fit into the melody. The Albanian language structure seems very different to the English one or even to the latin languages, I take that from the fact the automatic translators went nuts with some of the FiK’s lyrics I tried on Google.

Colin
Guest
Colin

I agree that it’s not always easy, but I believe that it’s an imperative for it to be called the same song. Sure, most of the time lyrics are bound to be at least a bit different due to lingual differences, but the core meaning must remain intact. That said, all recent Albanian entries which opted to translate did hold on to that rule. What stopped them from qualifying are actually different factors. Faiytale was not only translated, but softened in instrumental. Also, while lyrics kept the meaning, English language only exposed their generic nature. World had fine lyrics, but… Read more »

Sabrina
Guest
Sabrina

I feel the same about the mentioned Albanian entries. Some people jump to blame them for being ballads, but we have ballads qualifying and doing well every single year.

Based on Arilena’s post-FiK interview, I guess we don’t need to worry about singing with an accent. So it’s the matter of knowing how these lyrics will sound in English. I hope they give her some intense and layered feelings to portrait, she showed in FiK how good she’s in conveying emotions.

EscStuff
Guest
EscStuff

The special thing about the lyrics is that there’s no resolution. She keeps drowning in despair and never finds a way out. It may be a negative thing, but it portrays the message perfectly without the fake happy ending songs tend to give although we know that’s not always how it works. She’s in deep despair and can’t see a way out, but still loves the guy in a sick and wrong way

Ria van de Velde
Guest
Ria van de Velde

I love winning the song from Albania “Shaj”very much. The lyrics of the song in Albanian are very beautiful. I hope that she will sing the song in Albanian language, but if she will sing in English I hope the lyrics will be so good as the Albanian lyrics.

EscStuff
Guest
EscStuff

This is a great article if only it had the correct lyrics lol. The translation is mostly wrong but I can help you with the real one

Talentina Monetta
Guest
Talentina Monetta

Nice lyrics, hopefully they don’t get lost in translation

Loin dici
Guest
Loin dici

A troll detected below this comment!!

A bridge for you <3
____|——-|——–|——-|_____

Kenan
Guest
Kenan

Omg how did u know ?

Loin dici
Guest
Loin dici

I’m blessed by Valentina, baby, just so you know <3

Geo
Guest
Geo

When you say “Boring ballads” you say “Albania”, when you say “non qualifying rock acts” you say “Georgia”… Just the same

Nudiecrudi
Guest
Nudiecrudi

You could say the same for mostly generic Swedish songs or dance pop Ukrainian songs, what about candy ballad song written by swedes for Azerbaijan. Or Nordic style norvegian Danish Finnish songs? It always depends from your point of view

Briekimchi
Guest
Briekimchi

Ooh, ooh! Do the UK next!

Colin
Guest
Colin

UK – Perfectly tailored ESC ballad… for 1994… composed in 2020.

Disclaimer – This is a joke based on some ESC -related stereotypes and don’t reflect my actual opinion. UK was my 3rd in 2017 with a ballad.

Haute Galore
Guest
Haute Galore

That’s actually pretty accurate!