23. Branches of love: Armenia's big ballad

by Richard West-Soley 57 views

In one of the most beautiful sets, Hayko performed Armenia's Anytime You Need at the Hartwall Arena today, the last of the fourteen finalists to take to the stage to rehearse.

Several of the ballad acts this year make wonderful use of the wind machine, and Hayko is no exception; here, the effect is heightened by the white ribbons tied to the leafless branches of the tree behind the singer. Red branches entwine the whole stage on the screens below and behind Hayko as well, forming large heart symbols on either side.

Master of the ballad
Blinding white light beams from the tree out into the hall as the song begins, Hayko standing with his back to the audience and one arm raised. Stars fall, snow-like, at the back of the stage. The artist is a real master of the ballad, giving a secure, professional performance front-stage, remaining on the spot whilst two red-clad backing singers, a drum player and traditional dancerprovide the movement behind him.

As expected with a big ballad, the shots are a combination of slow moving close-ups on Hayko and glides around the stage, and slow, zooming pans of the arena with Hayko cocooned in red branches at the front of the hall. Close-ups on Hayko frame the softly blowing tree branches perfectly.

Genius touch
Switching to Armenian at the end of the song was a stroke of genius; the effect is an emotional one, and suddenly Hayko sounds more sincere and heartfelt than ever in the big build.

There was some waiting around as Hayko looked impatient after an initial run, the music taking a while to come on for the second performance. But in the end Hayko managed several full runs of the song, and the Armenians can be very pleased with a moving staging and strong performance of the big ballad which almost finishes the contest.

Press conference

It seems Hayko is not the only staramong the Armenian performers but the backing vocalists are also very popular in Armenia, according to the Armenian Head of Delegation.

The idea ofhis song is that when everything has turned bad and gone, then people shouldn't give up; this is based on an Armenian film. The white ribbons tied to a tree which is used in Hayko's performance is a symbol of hope or a wish for something one really wants to come true. It's an old Armenian tradition to do such a thing.

Choosing a romantic song this year after a very powerful entry last year is a way to show the different sides of the Armenian people, the Head of Delegation said. They hope that in the future they can introduce all sides of the Armenian music market to Europe. Hayko was asked to perform some of his other songs which he did, and the audience thanked him with warm applause.He sang an Italian and a Spanish song to the gathered journalists. He thanked all the fans supporting him everywhere.

Hayko ended the row of all the regular rehearsals' press conferences with a song dedicated to all journalists who were about to fall asleep because of the long working hours!

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Richard West-Soley

Senior Editor

Richard's ESC history began way back in 1992, when he discovered the contest could fuel his passion for music and languages. Since then, it's been there at every corner for him in some way or another. He joined the esctoday.com team back in 2006, and quickly developed a love for writing about the contest. In his other life, he heads the development team at the learning resources company Linguascope, and writes about all aspects of language learning on the site Polyglossic.com.