16 July 2015

2015 Junior Eurovision: Albania: Mishela Rapo: Dambaje

Junior Eurovision Song Contest / Banner

Albania returns to the Junior Eurovision Song Contest for only the second time when in 2015 it will follow up its dismal 2012 debut, the country then having placed last out of the twelve nations which participated. On this occasion, they will try their luck with 14-year-old Mishela Rapo and the song Dambaje.

As is often the case, Albania is the first country to show its hand early in Eurovision proceedings and, in this respect, Dambaje has been chosen a full six months before the Junior Final in November. It was up against thirteen other acts in the latter part of May in the Festivali i 51-të i Këngës për Fëmijë (51st Festival of Song for Children) - a jury of five preferring Mishela's effort over the others.

Rapo was last seen in 2012 when she competed in the Albanian national final singing Mamma Mia (Te Amo), ultimately losing out to Igzidora Gjeta who represented the country in Amsterdam performing Kam një këngë vetëm për ju (I Have a Song Just For You).

Albania / Flag
Dambaje is about as far removed as one can get from that 2012 rock influenced composition, instead settling for a calypso-influenced sound which wouldn't feel out of place in a Disney production. Mishela does well with the vocals - the intervening three years allowing her to project a more mature performance, even if the current sparse staging gives the impression of a cheap, amateur school production. Hopefully, Albania's production team will endeavour to improve the presentation by the time the song is performed in the Arena Armeec in Sofia.

With no other entries announced at the moment, it's difficult to rate its chances in Bulgaria. Nevertheless, it's hardly an example of a contemporary pop song. In fact, its sound is traditional and somewhat old-fashioned - the only redeeming modern features provided by a Rasta vocal which blends well with a flourishing reggae back beat.

It's obviously a song about peace and love - the young man who wanders onstage in a trance-like state gives us a clue - and these type of message songs generally go down well at Eurovision, even if most of us are unlikely to understand any of it at all. That shouldn't really matter too much because Dambaje relies on another Eurovision staple: abundant repetition.

Unfortunately, repetition and tradition don't necessarily convert into votes and, although some of Albania's neighbours are back in the competition, Dambaje is unlikely to deliver the country its first victory.

What do you think?

JESC logo by EBU/UER [Attribution], via Wikimedia Commons

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