Kosovar singer Mentor Haziri submitted a song to Festivali i Këngës 60 and, like so many other hopefuls, didn’t make the cut. But unlike other artists who have licked their wounds and perhaps looked to the future, Mr. Haziri has instead issued a long statement questioning why “Qëndro” was rejected.

In his statement he criticizes the Albanian National Broadcaster, RTSH, for being immersed in what he claims is corruption and anti-Kosovar sentiment. Despite Albania’s very rich history of sending Kosovar singers to Eurovision (see Lindita Halimi and Rona Nishliu), he claims RTSH doesn’t want Kosovar singers to create competition for Albanians in the festival. He said:

“My new song written by me and orchestrated by music professionals from Ireland was not accepted at Festivali I Këngës without giving any single reason! In the past I have been told that it is a dirty and corrupt festival where the song is sold in the corridors — I never believed it because I grew up watching that Festival with singers and icons of that time.”

“Today, unfortunately, I confirmed this evil, and I also confirmed that that Festival does not like Albanians from Kosovo there because they make competition. No one from Kosovo is a competitor there this year, and this is where I want to connect.”

We should point out that Mirud, who is competing this year, is a Kosovar living in the United States. Alban Ramosaj, also a FiK 60 act, is a Kosovar living in Albania.

Mentor went on to say that the commission “was so scared of a Kosovo Albanian that you did not even give him the opportunity to compete.” He alleged they “are used to playback orgy festivals”, which don’t turn him on. He also promised that his song “will be coming soon with a video clip, and you will see the reason why these people did not accept it — because they are afraid of ‘original music'”. He went all to call the committee “amateurs.”

RTSH hasn’t responded. But his statement has made a major impression on the local media both in Albania and Kosovo, leading plenty of public figures to chime in. One of the first artists to react was one of this year’s Kosovar competitors — Alban Ramosaj.

“Mentor, in fact, I am from Kosovo, specifically from the lower Llapashtica of Podujeva, and I am a competitor this year in FIK. [Your comments are] inciting division, poison, and hatred between the ‘two nations’ that are in fact one and your comments are out of place.”

“I feel obliged to give my opinion since it is not in vain that I enjoy the name ‘Alban’ — I am proud of the blood I have and the history we carry in our veins, and I am ashamed to read these words from you. And second, regarding the fact that you have not been accepted, there must have been a reason. As far as I know (I have no contact with anyone inside, but with chatter and listening) contributions from foreign composers, orchestrators, etc. are not allowed. I’m not sure about the latter, but anyway the only amateur thing here is your reaction. I’m sorry you are sharing this side of yourself with the public and setting this example for those followers and fans you have.”

Cast as a bad Mentor, Mr Haziri responded to Alban by saying he was told it was OK for his song to be orchestrated by people in Ireland.

“The song must be written by Albanian artists — the lyrics and music. It was confirmed to me from the staff at RTSH when I made the introduction that I was OK — that the lyrics and music are from me and can be orchestrated in Africa if I wanted. But when the selection was made it was better to eliminate Mentor — competition from the beginning…

“Secondly, you have been living in Tirana for many, many years and you have an Albanian passport. You are now an Albanian with letters….This deception does not escape me as they thought it would.”

Alban has not replied. We should remind you that this year Festivali i Këngës includes two Kosovar artists — Alban and MIRUD. Throughout the 60-year history of Festivali i Këngës, there have been many winning singers and composers from Kosovo. Rona Nishliu achieved Albania’s best-ever result in the country’s history at Eurovision. Lindita, you’ll remember, holds the record for the longest-note ever at Eurovision.

Mentor Haziri is doing his best to capitalize on the drama. He’s released his rejected song for Festivali i Këngës, which is called ‘Qëndro’ (Stay). It’s received mixed feedback from fans.

What do you think about his song? Would you have liked to see it at Festivali i Këngës 60? Do you think he was done wrong…or is this a case of behaving like a sore loser? Let us know in the comments box below.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
14 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
esc2022milan
esc2022milan
14 days ago

Does this guy have self awareness? Lmao, I listened to his song and it’s just boring and outdated

Whisker
Whisker
15 days ago

To me, this song sounds very, very good. I enjoy the melody and I enjoy Mentor’s voice.

Thomas Sturley
15 days ago

1. I don’t disagree that FiK is corrupt, I think we’ve had enough people say something along the lines of unfairness over the years.
2. This guy is just real salty over not being selected, and for him to demean Albany shows his character.

Una
Una
16 days ago

WTH does he mean with “playback orgy festivals”? He certainly knows how to draw attention.

I feel sad for people who feel they must resort to tough public statements. He must feel very hurt. Maybe a short break could do him good because I can’t see any gains for him from all that criticism.

I haven’t heard the song yet but I am looking forward to the video he’s talking about.

Be strong, Mentor!!

Ashton
Ashton
16 days ago

the barely-concealed shade in half of these articles sends me every time

Roopie
Roopie
16 days ago

He’s just sore that his dire track didn’t make the cut. It has nothing to do with Albania fearing competition from Kosovan artists. That’s BS!

Zheng
Zheng
16 days ago

Honestly, i think Fik is corrupt, but also his song it’s not good

Joey
Joey
16 days ago

Festivali i Këngës corrupt? You don’t say.

Liam Lindsay
Liam Lindsay
16 days ago

What is he on about with “adding more competition to Albania”? If Kosovo debuts in the contest do you really think it would add more competition to Albania, in fact the opposite, Kosovo from my understanding is a small country/territory/region by European standards not San Marino small but smaller than Albania or Serbia for example, meaning that Kosovo will incorporate Non-Kosovar artists into its Eurovision process, yes I know that Kosovar artists like Dua Lipa, Bebe Rexha and Rita Ora have found mainstream success in the past 5-10 years but, that can be hit or miss, so my statement on… Read more »

Una
Una
16 days ago
Reply to  Liam Lindsay

Kosovo has a football team and plenty of other athlets who participate at the OG and such. They could be able to find people to represent them at Eurovision. One person per year. It should not be a difficult task.

Cool Vibes
Cool Vibes
15 days ago
Reply to  Liam Lindsay

“Funny” comment. Kosovo is a Pop-Powerhouse in the Balkans who has over 2000 active citizen-artists and some of whom agree to represent other countries at the Eurovision. In addition, Kosovo has a population of 2 million (larger than Estonia’s, Latvia’s, Montenegro’s, North Macedonia’s, Slovenia’s, etc) and they also have a decent territorial size of Montenegro, Cyprus, and so on. Such comments are deliberately misrepresenting BUT that’s fine, serb neighbours! 😉

Colin
Colin
16 days ago

Now, this is subjective, but I’ve heard weaker stuff in FiK. Not saying that this would be in top 5 (likely not), but I’ll be surprised if there aren’t at least 5 weaker songs in the official line-up. I have no idea what the lyrics are, though, so perhaps they want to avoid another Jo-like controversy. Rejection can be a hard thing to swallow, so the accusations could be taken with a grain of salt. I really hope that nationalism isn’t the reason why he was rejected. Considering Alban and Mirud, I find it unlikely.

Last edited 16 days ago by Colin
Frisian esc
Frisian esc
16 days ago

I mean his entry definitely sounds good enough for the standard of festival i kenges. About the rest of the statements I don’t know.

Alex
Alex
16 days ago

Even if he was let into the competition, he still wouldn’t have been probably top 10, let alone win.