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🇦🇿 Road to Malmö: Azerbaijan

photo: EBU We can not wait for the Eurovision Song Contest in Malmö. Therefore, we have a closer look at one of the contestants every day. Today: Azerbaijan. Fahree Fahree, an emerging Azerbaijani musician, was born into a culturally rich family in Baku, 1995. With a jazz drummer father and an esteemed actor grandfather, the arts were deeply ingrained in his upbringing. Despite a diligent academic pursuit resulting in law degrees, the 2020 pandemic rekindled his inherent musical inclination. Forsaking law for his true calling, Fahree launched his music career with the 2022 hit “Dance.” Further success came with “Apardı uzağlara,” a collaboration with Mila Miles. His track “Yollar” solidified his rising fame in February 2023. Come March 2024, Fahree’s artistic journey ascended as he was chosen to represent Azerbaijan at the Eurovision Song Contest. Ilkin Dovlatov Ilkin Dovlatov, a distinguished Azerbaijani mugham vocalist, was born into a musical family on June 16, 1990, in Baku. His talent emerged early with a debut performance at age four. Recognized by his school music teacher, Dovlatov pursued his musical aspirations, leading to his acclaim as the runner-up on The Voice of Azerbaijan in 2023, guided by mentor Ilqar Khayal. He further showcased his abilities in the Azəri Star contest. In October 2023, he joined the final contenders for Azerbaijan’s Eurovision entry, eventually teaming up with Fahree to perform “Özünlə apar” on the Eurovision stage, representing their cultural heritage with pride. Mugham Mugham is an intricate form of traditional Azerbaijani music, renowned for its rich improvisational character. It intertwines passionate singing with the complex modal structure of the “mugham” modes, often accompanied by the tar (a long-necked lute), the kamancheh (a bowed string instrument), and the daf (a type of frame drum). Rooted in the cultural intersections of the Silk Road, mugham is more than music; it’s a spiritual journey that narrates stories of love, loss, and the divine through its deeply emotional and philosophical performances. This UNESCO-recognized art form is a cornerstone of Azerbaijani culture, reflecting the nation’s soul and historic ethos. It is the third time (after 2008 and 2012) that a mugham singer can be heard at Eurovision. Seyid Sushinski Ansambl, Mugham, photo: Wikimedia Commons Azerbaijan in the Eurovision Song Contest Elnur & Samir represented Azerbaijan in the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest with the song “Day after day”. It meant the debut of the country in the contest. With an 8th place, it was an immediate succes. So far the first and only victory came already in 2011, when Ell & Nikki won the contest with “Running scared”. But let’s not forget AySel & Arash (3rd in 2009), Safura (5th in 2010), Sabina Babayeva (5th in 2012) and Farid Mammadov (2nd in 2013). Last year, the twins TuralTuranX didn’t make it to the final. Ell & Nikki The Bookmakers Currently, Azerbaijan has a 30th place in the odds to win the contest. If we look at that, it might be a tough job for Azerbaijan to reach the final. However, stage performance and act might lift the country up in the ranking. The song And this is the song:  

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🇸🇪 Road to Malmö: Sweden

photo: PhotoAnnaR, Wikimedia Commons We can not wait for the Eurovision Song Contest in Malmö. Therefore, we have a closer look at one of the contestants every day. Today: Sweden. Marcus & Martinus Marcus and Martinus Gunnarsen, the Norwegian identical twins behind the dance-pop duo M&M, have been captivating audiences since their 2012 debut. Hailing from Elverum, Norway, they were born on February 21, 2002, and swiftly rose to fame after winning Melodi Grand Prix Junior with “To dråper vann.” Their first album, “Hei,” and its hit singles, including “Elektrisk,” dominated the Norwegian charts. By 2016, the twins had expanded their reach, collaborating with Madcon on “Girls,” securing chart-topping success in Norway and Sweden, and releasing “Together,” their English-language album. They shone at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert and continued to release chartbusters like “Like It Like It” and “First Kiss.” Their creative momentum continued with the album “Moments,” and singles like “Invited.” After a stint of new music, including “Belinda” with Alex Rose and “Feel” with Bruno Martini, they won Sweden’s “Masked Singer” in 2022. In 2023, they nearly captured Melodifestivalen with “Air,” and in 2024, they triumphed, earning the honor to represent Sweden at Eurovision with “Unforgettable,” marking a new pinnacle in their vibrant career. Melodifestivalen Already in the sixties, the name of the Swedish national final was Melodifestivalen. The past over 20 years, it has been a national final with 4 or 5 semifinals. It has become the most popular national final all over Europe. But who remembers Abba,  not winning it in 1973 with “Ring Ring”, but winning it a year later with “Waterloo”? The rest is history. This year, many stars from Sweden took part in it, as every year. However, none of them participated in the Eurovision Song Contest before. Jury and televoter agreed with eachother: Marcus and Martinus were the winners for both. Sweden in the Eurovision Song Contest The first Swedish entry came in 1958, but it all really started exactly 50 years ago. In 1974, ABBA won the Eurovision Song Contest with “Waterloo”, and changed Eurovision completely… forever! Ten years later, Herrey’s won with “Diggy-loo, diggy-ley”. Carola was the one who did the job in 1991 with “Fångad av en stormvind”. But since 1999, the chain of victories never ended: Charlotte Nilsson with “Take me to your heaven” in 1999, Loreen with “Euphoria” in 2012, Måns Zelmerlöw with “Heroes” in 2015 and Loreen again last year, with “Tattoo”. Sweden is one of two countries holding the record of most victories. photo: EBU/Chloe Hashemi The Bookmakers An 8th victory for Sweden is not likely. Currently, Marcus and Martinus hold the 10th place to win in the betting odds. What will really happen…. we’ll see! The song And this is the song:

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🇺🇦 Road to Malmö: Ukraine

photo: UA:PBC We can not wait for the Eurovision Song Contest in Malmö. Therefore, we have a closer look at one of the contestants every day. Today: Ukraine. Alyona Alyona Aliona Olehivna Savranenko, known professionally as Alyona Alyona, is a groundbreaking Ukrainian rapper and songwriter, born on June 14, 1991, in Kapitanivka, Novomyrhorod Raion, Kirovohrad Oblast. With a background in education, holding two bachelor’s degrees and experience as a kindergarten teacher, she transitioned from teaching to pursue music full-time. Gaining attention with her debut video for “Rybky” in October 2018, Alyona Alyona’s career quickly ascended. Her first album, “Pushka,” released in April 2019, showcased her storytelling prowess and unique approach to rap, earning her acclaim as “Ukraine’s most unlikely rap star” by Vogue. Alyona Alyona’s impact extended internationally with her signing to Def Jam Polska in 2020 and winning the Public Choice Award at the Music Moves Europe Talent Awards in 2021.  Jerry Heil Yana Oleksandrivna Shemayeva, known as Jerry Heil, is a versatile Ukrainian singer, songwriter, and YouTuber, born on October 21, 1995, in Vasylkiv, near Kyiv. Her musical journey was shaped by her studies at the R. Glier Kyiv Institute of Music and the Kyiv Conservatory. Adopting the stage name Jerry Heil at 15, she launched a YouTube channel in 2012, covering songs and sharing vlogs, which caught the attention of notable musicians, including Sviatoslav Vakarchuk from Okean Elzy. Signing with Vidlik Records in 2017, Heil’s debut EP, “De miy dim,” marked her professional entry into music. Her career further blossomed with hits like “Okhrana, otmyena,” leading to her debut album “Ya, Yana.” Heil’s distinctiveness continued with her engagement in Vidbir, notably winning Vidbir 2024 alongside Alyona Alyona with “Teresa & Maria” for Eurovision 2024. Fluent in multiple languages and a committed vegan, Heil’s personal and artistic choices are closely intertwined, reflecting her unique identity and values in the music industry. Vidbir Vidbir is the name of the Ukrainian national selection. The contest this year contained 11 entries. One of them was added in a late stadium as a wildcard, as a winner of an online election. One former Eurovision participant was among the contestants: Mélovin. The singer presented the song “Dreamer” and was the runner up of the contest. Following the completion of the performances, the Diia app (an app especially for the Ukrainian diaspora) experienced a malfunction, which caused the voting period to be prolonged and resulted in the postponement of the results announcement to February 4.  Ukraine in the Eurovision Song Contest In 2003, Ukraine debuted in the contest. Already one year later, the country had its first victory: Ruslana won the contest with “Wild dances”. Ukraine won again in 2016 with Jamala‘s “1944” and in 2022 with Kalush Orchestra and “Stefania”. Ukraine never failed to reach the Grand Final, reaching the top-3 on no less than 6 occasions. photo: EBU The Bookmakers It looks like Ukraine is gonna be succesful: in the betting odds Ukraine is currently the 3rd country in chances to win the 2024 Eurovision Song Contest. The song This is the song:

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Ilkin Dovlatov

@EBU/Sarah Louise Bennett About Quick Facts Nameİlkin Dövlətov Born16 June 1990 Nationality🇦🇿 Azerbaijani National SelectionInternal selection 2024 In Eurovision2024 Malmö SongÖzünlə apar (& Fahree, 2024) Biography Ilkin Dovlatov (Azerbaijani: İlkin Dövlətov), born on June 16, 1990, is renowned for his contributions to Azerbaijani music as a mugham vocalist. Born into a musically inclined family in Baku in 1990, Dovlatov was greatly influenced by his father, sparking his interest in music from a young age. At just four years old, he performed “Qəlbimdə qaldı,” marking the beginning of his musical journey. His exceptional singing talent was recognized by a school music teacher who encouraged him to showcase his musical talents. Dovlatov’s career saw a significant milestone in 2023 when he participated in The Voice of Azerbaijan, specializing in native songs, under the mentorship of Ilqar Khayal. He secured the runner-up position in the competition and has also been a contestant in the Azəri Star song contest. In the latter part of October 2023, İctimai Television announced a group comprising Ilkin Dovlatov, Mila Miles, and Etibar Asadli as contenders in the 2024 Eurovision Song Contest selection process for Azerbaijan. They progressed to the final six candidates the following week, performing the song “İnsanlar.” Although Fahree was initially chosen for the Eurovision representation on March 7, 2024, a subsequent announcement on March 13 revealed that Dovlatov would join Fahree on stage, presenting the song “Özünlə apar.” Unfortunately, the two didn’t reach the final. Entries Özünlə apar (& Fahree) Country🇦🇿 Azerbaijan Year2024 LanguageEnglishAzerbaijani LyricsFahreeMado Salikh MusicFahreeEdgar RavinHasan HaydarMila Miles Backings– Results Semi Points: 11Position: 14Running order: 12 Results Finals Points: –Position: –Running order: – https://youtu.be/QhN9r8TH2Hw?si=GOjsQd0BfXoI7M94

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🇦🇲 Armenia presented their song

Armenia presented their song today. Only a few days ago, Armenian TV announced that the French/Armenian duo Ladaniva represents the country in the 2024 Eurovision Song Contest. Now we know the song: “Jako”. The song is sung in Armenian; lyrics and music are from the duo itself, but the song is co-composed by Audrey Leclercq.  Armenia will perform in the first half of the 2nd semifinal; this is the song:

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Marcus & Martinus

© EBU/Alma Bengtsson About Quick Facts MembersMarcus GunnarsenMartinus Gunnarsen Born21 February 2002 Nationality🇳🇴 Norwegian National SelectionMelodifestivalen 2024Melodifestivalen 2023 In Eurovision2024 Malmö SongUnforgettable (2024) Biography Marcus & Martinus, known as M&M, are a Norwegian dance-pop duo formed by identical twin brothers Marcus and Martinus Gunnarsen, born on 21 February 2002 in Elverum, Norway. The duo’s career began in 2012 when they competed in the eleventh season of Melodi Grand Prix Junior, held at the Oslo Spektrum and broadcast live by NRK. They won the contest with their song “To dråper vann” (“Two Drops of Water”), which peaked at number eight on the Norwegian Singles Chart. In 2015, Marcus & Martinus released their debut studio album “Hei” (“Hi”), which climbed to number 1 on the Norwegian Albums Chart and stayed in the top ten for 20 consecutive weeks out of 35. The album featured the single “Plystre på deg” (“Whistle at You”), and they also released other singles like “Elektrisk” (“Electric”) with Katastrofe, and “Ei som deg” (“One Like You”) with Innertier. They later released a special fan version of “Hei”, including “Elektrisk” among other extras. 2016 was a busy year for the duo as they released several singles including “Girls” with Madcon, which hit number 1 in Norway and Sweden, and “Heartbeat” and “I Don’t Wanna Fall in Love”. They followed up with “Light It Up” and “One More Second”. Their first English album, “Together”, was released in November, featuring hits like “Girls” and “Heartbeat”, and debuted at number 1 in Norway and Sweden. They performed at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert in December. In 2017, Marcus & Martinus announced Norway’s Jury points for the Eurovision Song Contest. They released singles including “Like It Like It” with Silentó, “First Kiss”, and performed a special song for Swedish Crown Princess Victoria’s 40th birthday. They also released “Dance with You”, “Make You Believe in Love”, “One Flight Away”, “Never”, and their third album “Moments”. The single “Invited” was released in September. From 2019 to 2021, they released an EP called “Soon”, singles “Love You Less”, “It’s Christmas Time”, and were featured on Stig Brenner’s “Miserabel”. They also released “Belinda” with Latin star Alex Rose, and “Feel” with Bruno Martini. In 2022, they won the Swedish version of “Masked Singer” and released “When All the Lights Go Out”. They competed in Melodifestivalen 2023 with “Air”, finishing second behind Loreen. They participated in Melodifestivalen 2024 with “Unforgettable” and won on 9 March with 177 points, set to represent Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest 2024 in Malmö. In the Grand Final of the contest, they reached a 9th place. Entries Unforgettable Country🇸🇪 Sweden Year2024 LanguageEnglish LyricsJimmy ‘Joker’ ThornfeldtJoy DebLinnea DebMarcus GunnarsenMartinus Gunnarsen MusicJimmy ‘Joker’ ThornfeldtJoy DebLinnea DebMarcus GunnarsenMartinus Gunnarsen DancersDaniel KoivunenKenny LantzKim PastorPauline Eddeborn Results Semi Points: –Position: –Running order: – Results Finals Points: 174Position: 9Running order: 1 https://youtu.be/DcZpzObYzxs?si=p7IAkrPs3QigWuK2

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Ladaniva

© EBU/Alma Bengtsson About Quick Facts MembersZhaklin BaghdasaryanLouis Thomas Founded2019 Nationality🇫🇷 French National SelectionInternal Selection 2024 In Eurovision2024 Malmö SongJako (2024) Biography Ladaniva is a French world music band from Lille.   Zhaklin Baghdasaryan was born in 1997 in Eghegnazor, Armenia. She grew up in Minsk, Belarus, before immigrating to France with her mother in 2014. Zhaklin has been singing since her early childhood and, after moving to Tourcoing, France, she enrolled at the Lille Conservatory. Louis Thomas, born in 1987 in Lille, France, comes from a family of musicians and is an accomplished jazz musician. Like Zhaklin, he attended the Lille Conservatory. In 2018, Jaklin and Louis met by chance during a jam session at l’Intervalle, a music bar in Old Lille. In 2019, they founded the world music band Ladaniva in Lille, France. The band draws its musical inspiration from around the world, particularly from the traditional music of the Balkans, Maloya, and Armenian folklore. The name “Ladaniva” is derived from a very rustic Russian 4×4, the Lada Niva. During the Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns in March and April 2020, Ladaniva released two videos, “Vay Aman” and “Zepyuri Nman,” which gained significant popularity, especially within the Armenian community. Following this success, their video clip “Kef Chilini” quickly amassed 18 million views. In 2023, Ladaniva released their debut album, which is self-titled and was produced and distributed by [PIAS]. On March 9, 2024, it was announced that Ladaniva would represent Armenia at the Eurovision Song Contest 2024. Their song was called “Jako”. Ladaniva reached the final with the song and did pretty well there, ending up in 8th place. Entries Jako Country🇦🇲 Armenia Year2024 LanguageArmenian LyricsZhaklin BaghdasaryanLouis Thomas MusicZhaklin BaghdasaryanLouis ThomasAudrey Leclercq BackingsLouis DesseigneNinon ThomasPierre KastlerRomain Desreumeaux Results Semi Points: 137Position: 3Running order: 8 Results Finals Points: 183Position: 8Running order: 19 https://youtu.be/hAYXDoZzAyE?si=A7AjUUP2kdJCSgRI

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🇦🇲 Ladaniva to represent Armenia

The duo Ladaniva will represent Armenia in the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest. That is what Armenian television announced tonight. Ladaniva consists of Jaklin Baghdasaryan, an Armenian vocalist, and Louis Thomas, a French multi-instrumentalist. Together, they create a unique fusion of Armenian folk music with diverse international influences. Their song for the Eurovision Song Contest is set to be unveiled shortly. Their music seamlessly integrates elements ranging from Balkan folk melodies to the rhythms of maloya, jazz, and reggae, illustrating a transcultural journey that merges traditional Armenian melodies with the duo’s rich experiences gathered from travels in Latin America, Africa, and Reunion Island. Ladaniva’s sound mirrors their mixed heritage and their deep fascination with exploring the music and cultures of the world. Armenia will perform in the 1st half of the 2nd semifinal. Note that “Shakar” is NOT their Eurovision song.

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Electric Fields

© EBU/Corinne Cumming About Quick Facts MembersZaachariaha FieldingMichael Ross Founded2015 Nationality Australian National SelectionInternal selection 2024Eurovision – Australia Decides 2019 In Eurovision2024 Malmö Song2024 One Milkali (One Blood) Biography Electric Fields is an Australian electronic music duo, encapsulating the vibrant talents of vocalist Zaachariaha Fielding and keyboardist/producer Michael Ross. Known for their unique blend of modern electric-soul music intertwined with Aboriginal culture, they skillfully sing in Pitjantjatjara, Yankunytjatjara, and English, enriching Australia’s music scene with their diversity and depth. Their journey in the music industry is marked by the release of an EP, several singles, and their forthcoming representation of Australia at the Eurovision Song Contest 2024 with the song “One Milkali (One Blood).” Their story begins individually, with Fielding showcasing his vocal prowess on the third season of The X Factor Australia in 2011, and Ross auditioning for the same platform’s fifth season in 2013. The duo united as Electric Fields in 2015, bringing to life a sound that’s been described as a cross between Daft Punk and Nina Simone set in the Deep Forest. They debuted with the EP “Inma” in 2016, a project celebrated for its emotional depth and cultural significance, drawing praise for its blend of pop and electronic music infused with Anangu languages. Electric Fields’ impact has been acknowledged with several awards, including Best New Talent of the Year at the 2017 National Indigenous Music Awards. Their journey saw them narrowly missing the chance to represent Australia in the Eurovision Song Contest 2019, finishing second in Eurovision – Australia Decides with their song “2000 and Whatever.” Despite this, their career continued to ascend, marked by significant performances, including a collaboration with Norwegian group Keiino and appearances at major events like the Sydney Cricket Ground for Mardi Gras. As “two feminine brothers,” Fielding and Ross defy conventional boundaries, embracing their queer identity and fostering a close, non-romantic friendship. Their motto, “bypass the barriers,” exemplifies their approach to music and life, encouraging authenticity and unity. Zaachariaha Fielding, the eldest of nine, hails from Mimili in the APY lands of north-west South Australia, with a background enriched by Indigenous Australian music. His talents extend beyond music to the visual arts, where he has received significant accolades including the Wynne Prize and the Ramsay Art Prize People’s Choice prize in 2023. Michael Ross, influenced by an eclectic mix of musical greats, brings a rich tapestry of sounds to the duo. Their story, captured in the documentary “Voice From The Desert,” reflects their artistic journey and cultural heritage. As they prepare to take the Eurovision stage in 2024, Electric Fields continue to illuminate the power of music as a bridge between cultures, stories, and hearts. Unfortunately, they didn’t make it to the final. Entries One Milkali (One Blood) Country🇦🇺 Australia Year2024 LanguageEnglish LyricsZaachariaha FieldingMichael Ross MusicZaachariaha FieldingMichael Ross BackingsAlyson JoyceBrendan MacLeanFred LeoneSimi Vuata Results Semi Points: 41Position: 11Running order: 13 Results Finals Points: –Position: –Running order: – https://youtu.be/Wzpp6996QdI?si=xzvqxyUah-q3ehJK

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Puuluup

© EBU/Sarah Louise Bennett About Quick Facts MembersRamo TederMarko Veisson Founded2014 Nationality🇪🇪 Estonian National SelectionEesti Laul 2024 In Eurovision2024 Malmö Song(Nendest) narkootikumidest ei tea me (küll) midagi (with 5Miinust, 2024) Biography Puuluup, a distinctive Estonian nu-folk duo, was formed in 2014 by Ramo Teder, known solo as Pastacas, and Marko Veisson. The duo is recognized for their unique use of the hiiu kannel/talharpa and loopers to create their music. In 2018, Puuluup released “Süüta mu lumi” (“Light my snow”), marking the beginning of their discography. The year 2020 saw the release of “Kasekesed / Kasekäpa”, adding to their growing collection of music. They continued to expand their discography in 2021 with “Viimane suusataja”. In November 2023, Puuluup, in collaboration with the hip hop group 5miinust, was selected as a semi-finalist for Eesti Laul 2024. This competition is the national final for the Eurovision Song Contest 2024. Their joint entry, “(Nendest) narkootikumidest ei tea me (küll) midagi”, successfully advanced from the first round of the semi-finals and went on to win the final, securing their position to represent Estonia in the contest. This progression highlights Puuluup’s evolving musical journey, culminating in their upcoming representation on the international stage at the Eurovision Song Contest, alongside 5miinust. In the contest itself, they reached the Grand Final, where they ended up in a 20th place. Entries (Nendest) narkootikumidest ei tea me (küll) midagi (with 5miinust) Country🇪🇪 Estonia Year2024 LanguageEstonian LyricsKim WennerströmKristjan ‘Kohver’ JakobsonPriit ‘Lancelot’ TomsonMihkel ‘Päevakoer’ TammKarl ‘Põhja-Korea’ Kivastik MusicKim WennerströmMarko VeissonRamo Teder Backings– Results Semi Points: 79Position: 6Running order: 13 Results Finals Points: 37Position: 20Running order: 9 https://youtu.be/RSMMU2wX0Bk?si=qRSLtNAIkkO0fjav

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