The contest is drawing closer each day but we still have previews to get through! Our next stop is the land of bison, ice hockey and a tennis player that sounds like an owl. It’s Belarus!!!
Belarus first participated in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2004 and will take part for the thirteenth time this year. Their best result and only top 10 placing was in 2007, when Dmitry Koldun sang “Work Your Magic”. They have only appeared in the final on four occasions, the last of which was in 2014. Last year, Ivan did not get through to the final, finishing 12th in semi-final 2 with “Learn to Fly”.
The Belarusian broadcaster, National State TV and Radio Company of the Republic of Belarus (BRTC), organised a national selection to select their entry for this year’s contest. Thirteen songs competed in the final and the winner was decided by jury voting (50%) and public voting (50%). After endless interval acts, and despite only finishing fifth in the televote, top marks from the jury were enough to secure NaviBand the Belarusian ticket to Kyiv.
NaviBand are a Minsk-based duo made up of Arciom Lukjanienka (vocals, guitar) and Ksienija Žuk (vocals, keyboards). They perform in Belarusian. Their debut single “Abdymi myane” (Hug me) was released in 2013. Last year, they attempted to represent Belarus and finished fourth in the national selection with “Heta ziamla” (This land). They are currently touring around Belarus. Their entry for Kyiv “Historyja majho žyccia” (Гісторыя майго жыцця – Story of My Life) was written and composed by band member Arciom. This is the first Eurovision entry ever to contain lyrics in the Belarusian language.
Hey, hey, hi-i-ya-ya-oh! What an unbridled bundle of joy this song is! It sticks out among a sea of ballads in English. The pair have great chemistry and energy and it should translate well onto the big stage in Kyiv. The song makes me feel very happy, even though I don’t understand the lyrics. Belarusian is such a sweet-sounding language! With a guaranteed 12 points from Russia now gone, Belarus faces more of a battle for a final place than usual. However, I could see this in the grand final.
What Could Have Been
Belarusian national selections often feature a mixture of meh and questionable songs with gems often being overlooked. Luckily, NAVI were not overlooked but I would like to show some appreciation for the second-placed finisher, Nuteki. Their song “Take My Heart” is a very polished rock song with great vocals but the staging was a bit….cagey. This was Nuteki’s fourth attempt to get to Eurovision. Maybe fifth time lucky?
Поспехі ў Беларусі! Удачи Беларуси!
Are you singing hey-ya-ho or hey-ya-no? Leave your comments below. Stay tuned tomorrow for another Eurovision preview!
(Sources: eurovision.tv, BTRC, YouTube)