Prompt: A song that gives you chills
I’m tempted to just write EVERY BALKAN BALLAD AROUND, but that’s not going to work. So I’m just going to mention how much I loved the Montenegrin entry this year.
Hi everyone! We have life outside the magical world too!
Prior to the performance I was worried that the song wasn’t going to qualify because of the bookies’ bet values and how Knez’s performance in Amsterdam and London looked kind of empty. The voice was there, the spirit of the song was there, but something seemed missing, as if a Željko Joksimović composition not performed by the composer himself was going to tear the performance down a notch.
And then then came his performance at Eurovision. Before the performance started I was wondering whether to take a bathroom break, and the answer was no. As the song described a person not wanting to give up memories of their loved one, I loved how the screen started out like a dark version of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s 2006 performance of “Lejla”, and how backing singers were all standing in the water like ghosts, gradually gaining strength to dance and showing how the memory was still there and solid. I just sat there frozen, wondering what else Knez and Co. had to magnify the feeling. And both the memory of the lost loved one and the feeling of the song turned out as solid and strong as a corporeal Patronus.
Though what would the Patronus look like?
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The world found out back before Skopje Fest that the artist Knez was representing Montenegro. And then he disappeared from the blogosphere, only to show up a few times to report on a birthday cake to announce that Balkan ballad wizard Željko Joksimović was going to compose his entry. Suddenly he re-appeared to present his entry, “Adio.” And if I hadn’t watched the video, I would have guessed that it was Željko himself instead of Knez.
Given the composer, I don’t think anyone’s surprised that it’s another Balkan ballad. And yes, Knez can sing them. (That’s actually where I first found him: singing “Lejla” on the Serbian version of “Your Face Sounds Familiar.”
This entry’s tune sounds a little more upbeat and optimistic, somewhat like last year’s Montenegrin entry. It’s got the same ethnic instruments, but it’s less stringy and has more drums. As a result it reminds me of some of Željko Joksimović’s non-ESC songs: I don’t want to say turbo-folk-y, but more folk-pop-ish than his entries from previous years.
Anyways, congrats to being the only ex-Yugo participant not singing in English. Here’s your cake.
It’s actually his birthday cake that he posted on Twitter… aesj.
When I read that Montenegro selected its artist for 2015, I was pretty surprised. With the exception of Valentina Monetta announcing to do a three-peat in 2014 last summer, ESC season was pretty much dead until December and Festivali i Këngës started and (recently) when SF started internet voting for songs.
And when RTCG announced that the artist would be Knez (Nenad Knežević), I had two thoughts running through my head:
- Wait, doesn’t “knez” mean “prince”? So what would happen if Montenegro sent Prince instead of Knez…not that would ever happen…
- Hang on a second…I think I’ve seen this guy on Tvoje lice zvuči poznato (Serbian version of Your Face Sounds Familiar), and he did a cover version of Lejla before YouTube muted the video.
Montenegro qualified for the first time this year since 2007. Let’s see if Knez can get to the final next year too.
Let the ESC 2015 season officially begin!