The 53rd edition of Festivali i Kenges came to an end last Sunday announcing its winner, Elhaida Dani. She sang the song Diell (Sun) and was followed by Bojken Lako with Te ndjej (I feel you) and Lindita Halimi with S’te fal (I don’t forgive you) in 2nd and 3rd place respectively. The song is composed by Aldo Shllaku and penned by Viola Trebicka and Sokol Marsi.
Who is Elhaida Dani?
Elhaida Dani, born in Shkoder in 1993 has come a long way since her early days. She started off with a participation in Kenga Magjike in 2008, and then participated in talent show Star Academy in 2009, which she ended up winning. She participated in the 50th edition of Festivali i Kenges with Mijera Nete, made it to the final but ended up with null points. In 2012 though she came back stronger as she won Top Fest with her major hit, S’je me. Her success doesn’t stop there as in 2013 she won the Voice of Italy, got to sing with Italian music legend, Riccardo Cocciante and the man behind many hits today will.i.am. About a month ago, Elhaida shared the same stage as Jessie J for the Albanian Independence Day concert held in Tirana with 50,000 people attending. As if this wasn’t enough she won Festivali i Kenges 53 with a composition from Aldo Shllaku, who has composed several soundtracks for blockbuster movies and worked in the remake of the 2012 Albanian entry which earned a top 5 spot in Baku.
About the song
Elhaida’s song is called Diell (Sun) and is approximately 4 minutes (1 minute over the Eurovision limit). It was composed by Aldo Shllaku, with lyrics penned by Viola Trebicka and Sokol Marsi, who is also responsible for the 2011 Albanian entry in the Eurovision Song Contest, Feel the passion. The song is a pop ballad with clear retro influences that make it sound like a 90’s salon music piece. As the song expands so does Elhaida’s vocal range as she plays with her voice in the high notes.
Comments on social media
Elhaida’s victory got a 50/50 response in the Albanian audience and Eurovision community. Many comments had only praise for the song and the potential behind Elhaida’s voice also comparing her with the 2014 Spanish representative, Ruth Lorenzo. A lot of fans felt positive but not sure of the song keeping their comments for a later time when the revamped version comes out while the rest classified it as an outdated song which is not fit for Eurovision. Controversy also surrounded the fact that maybe the prize went to her name and success rather than her entry.
In our reader’s poll, Elhaida Dani came second with Linda Halimi coming first.
Recent updates from Elhaida
Elhaida appeared in two Albanian TV shows since her victory on Sunday, Dite e Re (New Day) and Wake Up to talk about her song and the controversy surrounding her victory. This is what she had to say for those who said that she won only because of her name not the quality of the song:
I came to compete as all the other participants not knowing whether I would win or not as that goes beyond me. I tried to stay out of the Festivali’s circle as possible as all the artist would walk up to me and say that they already knew I would win.
When asked for her song and how she would change it here’s what she said:
The song will be completely transformed, I mean it will be the same song but we will work to make it sound even better. Me and Aldo didn’t work on this version a lot as he lives in Los Angeles and I live in Italy so we only got together twice but the song will definitely undergo some change and I want it to be in English as that is the only way everyone will understand it.
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