ESC 2014: An In-Depth Review of Georgia


It has become customary for the editorial board to engage professional individuals from the music industry to assess the songs competing in the Eurovision Song Contest as presented to the European Broadcasting Union during the Heads of Delegation Meeting. Greig Watts, Joseph Zammit, Sharon Vaughn and John Scott from the United Kingdom, Malta, Sweden and the United States have been entrusted with the second semi-final, comprising of sixteen songs and set to take place on the 8th May 2014 at the B&W Hallerne in Copenhagen, Denmark. Making use of the running order and moving onto number #4, we catch up with Georgia (GPB) who will be represented by The Shin & Mariko and the song Three Minutes to Earth written by Eugen Eliu to the music of Zaza Miminoshvili.

The Shin is a Germany-based band that became famous for their creative ways of interweaving traditional Georgian music with influences from pop and world music. For their performance in the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest they are joined by vocalist Mariko Ebralidze. Their Eurovision entry Three Minutes To Earth reflects this idea: “It describes the last three minutes of a long walk back to Earth, back home.” Shin also means “home”, so the band name is linked to the lyrics.

Mariko Ebralidze was born in 1984 in Tbilisi. She graduated from a music school, piano department, and in 2000, she was enrolled at #2 Music College named after Zakaria Paliashvili pursuing the specialty of a pop singer. In 2008, she received a bachelor’s degree as a soloits and teached from the Pedagogical Institute of Music Arts. Until 2013, Mariko Ebralidze participated in several high-ranked festivals in Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Germany.

Mamuka Gaganidze, His parents said that, already at the ripe age of three, Mamuka would spend hours lost in song—he could perform nearly every popular Georgian tune on cue. Mamuka himself recalls frequently performing in front of the mirror in his childhood, imagining a full auditorium and the applause of a captive audience. At the age of six Mamuka began to study the piano and was invited to join the children’s vocal-instrumental ensemble “Nergebi” [The Saplings].

Georgia, one of the most recent nations to partake in the Eurovision Song Contest with only one apparent disappointment, that being in 2012 when Anri Jokhadze perfomed the song I’m a Joker and finishing in twelfth place in the semi-final. Their most successful result at this point in time is a 9th place finish achieved on two occasions; the first time in 2010 with the song Shine sung by Sofia Niharadze and the second time being in 2011 with the track One More Day performed by the group Eldrine. They have yet to properly trouble the scoreboard though and they hope that this entry featuring a mixture of folk and mainstream might do the trick.

Professional Critics Voice their Opinion

Rating: 60%

Greig Watts: Interesting! Different for my western ears to hear. Although I work in Eastern euorpe a lot so I am open to hearing different styles. Took a long time to get to the female vocal though which was the most interesting for me. Seems to be a song full of ad libbing guitar playing and a very unusual arrangement. I cant tell you what the chorus is at all, but it kind of goes a long nicely. Its an interesting piece, but I am not sure I would ever be able to sing it back to you as feels very experimental., but I’ll mark it higher for its difference and this could appeal to the eastern bloc

Joseph Zammit: Clearly these people don’t know how to let the past go. Here we have three old people, followed by what I can assume to be a hippy groupie with a good voice, who still believe they are singing in the fields of Woodstock and chanting. Protest songs like Bob Dylan against damaging the environment….I guess. I can’t really say for sure what the song is truly about since the lyrics make absolutely no sense. ‘Three minutes to earth for you and for me’? What? 

Now I may be sounding harsh on them, but that’s just me. Actually I rather like this song. A song from Georgia which starts with a semi Native American chant immediately struck me as interesting. The music has a nice and encouraging folk feel to it with some nice vocals and skillfull guitar playing. Also it has a kicka** bass line to boot. You know how rare it is to find a song with a great uplifting baseline nowadays? Especially in Eurovision. Its bad lyrics and its random, unfulfilling ending however leave a bit to be desired.

Sharon Vaughn: Whereas I appreciate the extremely advanced musicianship, this strikes me as way too fussy and academic to touch anyone… which is my criterion for excellence.

John Scott: An interesting blend of styles and instrumentation. But the song is a little too unfocussed for me. It’s hard for the brain to latch on to any one part because there are so many different musical pieces.



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