Gaita Lurdes Essami (translated as “strong and great”; born 24 March 1979, Kyiv) is a Ukrainian singer and songwriter of Congolese origin who combines in her artistry the soulful style of performance with dance song stylings, which include elements of jazz, blues, funk, soul, and folk music.
Until the age of five, she lived in the Republic of Congo, where her father is from, and spoke only French and Lingala. Later, she returned to Ukraine with her mother. Gaitana’s father still lives in Brazzaville.
Gaitana graduated from a music school majoring in saxophone and later obtained an education in economics. From childhood, she played table tennis, earning the title of Candidate Master of Sports.
Her singing career began in 1991 with the children’s television competition Fant-loto Hope, where she took third place. Later, composer Volodymyr Bystryakov invited her to his ensemble Altana. With this ensemble, she participated in cartoon recordings and was a backup vocalist for recordings of Irina Bilyk, Taisiya Povaliy, Ani Lorak, Mykola Karachentsov, and Oleksandr Malinin.
Later, she sang with the jazz orchestra Overtimw and the pop-jazz band Unity. In December 2003, Gaitana’s debut album “O Tebe” was released. The only Ukrainian-language song in it was “Diti svitla”, which became hugely successful, leading most songs on her next album to be in Ukrainian. Her second album, “Slidom za toboiu” was released in April 2005, also at the Lavina Music studio. In 2006, she released the single “Dva vikna”, which also included an English version of the song. In early 2007, the next single “Shaleniy” was released, gaining immense popularity among listeners.
On December 10, 2007, Gaitana presented a new album “Kapli dozhdyа”. The album included all the latest hits of the singer, as well as 5 music videos.
In early 2008, Gaitana and her producer Eduard Klim began recording a new album with Eric Daniels — the producer and music director of Janet Jackson, who worked with famous artists like Mariah Carey, Boyz 2 Men, TLC, Brandy, Backstreet Boys, and Michael Bolton. The new record was made in a New York studio and was presented in the fall in the USA, Canada, and Japan.
In early April of the same year, Gaitana presented her third Ukrainian album. Gaitana has always followed her unique musical path, bringing her authenticity to the Ukrainian show business. Her new album was titled “Taynye zhelaniya”.
On April 26, 2011, the singer presented her new music video titled “Khimiya”.
On October 27, 2011, Gaitana released the video “Shakhtar – Champion”, which featured most of the footballers from the club “Shakhtar”. The shooting took place in August.
On February 18, 2012, she won the right to represent Ukraine at the Eurovision Song Contest 2012. The singer performed the song “Be My Guest”. She made it to the final. In the Grand Final, the song scored 65 points and ranked 15th. The follow up is the song “Aliens”, released in 2013. A year later she came up with “Galaxy”. The songs can be found on her 2014 album “Voodooman”.
On October 26, 2016, after a long creative break, Gaitana presented a new video for the song “Bil’ mene ne lyakaye”. With this work, the singer puts a definitive end to her past story. The song was presented on the singer’s official YouTube channel under a Creative Commons license.
In January 2018 a new single, “Nebo”, came out, followed two months later by “Obiymy, ne vidpuskay”. On October 15 2019 a new video of Gaitana was released: “Tantsi z zirkamy”. A month later she sang the national anthem at the soccermatch Ukraine-Estonia. In December she teamed up with Orest to record the duet “Divo”.
On 14 January 2020, Gaitana released a new single, “Snih”. In collaboration with world refugee organization UNHCR Gaitana recorded the song “Paper plane” in June of the same year.