Like any other industry, music is known to have a lot of experienced figures who lurk in the shadows either as songwriters, producers or musicians and as a matter of fact, escflashmalta.com has been in touch with three in particular to help assess the entries competing in this years' Eurovision Song Contest. Hailing from the United Kingdom, United States and the Czech Republic, they bring a lot of knowledge to the table. In the second semi-final, seventeen (17) countries will be in contention and in slot number seven (7), the producers have decided to put none other than Bulgaria represented by the broadcaster known as BNT. The nation will be participating in the esteemed international competition for the ninth time and hoping to reach their second final. Elitsa Todorova and Stoyan Yankulov were selected internally by a selective committee appointed by the respective broadcaster with the song Samo Shampioni co-written by Elitsa Todorova and Christian Talev chosen through a public and jury vote.
Elitsa Todorova was born on 1977 in Varna. She studied music, specialising in authentic folklore singing and in percussions. She attracts the attention of both the audience and the critics with her specific voice - strong, deep-toned, clear and hardy, the tone-quality being one of a beautiful and rich ornamentation. She worked at the State Dance and Music Ensemble in Varna, in the choir The Mystery of the Bulgarian voices, and the Cosmic Voices of Bulgaria choir where she performed authentic Bulgarian folk songs, and compositions in Yiddish and Sanskrit. In 2003 Elitsa Todorova began working with Bulgaria's most popular and renowned drummer and percussionist Stoyan Yankulov. The unique Elitsa Todorova-Stoyan Yankulov Duo turned into a phenomenon in no time. Elitsa Todorova develops a percussions-playing style of her own, combining quick ostinate rhythms on the tarambuka with synhronised tarambuka with synchronised playing and singing. The result is a mosaic of unique vocal movements and impeccable musical improvisations.
She plays traditional percussion instruments in a most non-traditional way. The singer easily mixes traditional folklore with jazz, drum and base, ethno-motifs, classics and spontaneous improvisation. The result is fascinating. In her repertoire Elitsa Todorova plays instruments like the tarambuka, drums, maracas, clavess, old silver coins, shepperd's chimes, horses' bells, a magical thunder-wand, guirro, chimes, but of all musical instruments the best, in her opinion, is human voice. Through combining authentic Bulgarian folk songs with the energy of percussions Elitsa Todorova presents in a most touching way the core, the potency and the emotional power of Bulgarian culture. Stoyan Yankulov was born on September 10th in Sofia. At the age of eight he started taking piano lessons. At the same time he showed interest for percussion instruments. Since a young age he was the base of musical bands as a drummer, and he eventually graduated majoring in percussion instruments. Yankulov plays with rock and jazz bands, with folklore ensembles and with jazz-rock and fusion bands.
Stoyan Yankulov has already won many highly-ranked prizes. He records jazz, pop and ethnic music. This has significantly influenced his unique playing style. He manages to produce orchestral sound on percussion instruments. Sometimes the listener has the impression that there is more than one percussionist playing. "The acquisition of other techniques - from bass, piano or other instruments is useful in this process. For me to play means to communicate", Stoyan describes his very own style. Yankulov breaks and stretches the traditional way of playing drums, tupan, percussion by applying new techniques and non-standard musical ideas. Combining authentic folklore with new ways of expression with percussion instruments Stoyan Yankulov reveals the unlimited variety and emotional intensity of the unique Bulgarian culture. Elitsa & Stoyan have already performed together on the Eurovision Song Contest stage together in 2007, gaining the fifth place in the Final with Voda - the best placing for Bulgaria to date.
Bulgaria does not have too much of a history to look back to within the Eurovision Song Contest noting that this will be their ninth participation in total, having entered the international competition for the very first time back in 2005. Their debut entry entitled Lorraine finished in nineteenth place with just forty-nine (49) points but despite their results improving in later years, they have only managed to qualify just once, and that was in 2007 with the same duo that will be doing the honours this year. Water performed by Elitsa & Stoyan reached fifth place with one hundred, fifty seven (157) points. In recent years, BNT which is the public broadcaster in Bulgaria has been working hard to ensure success and this has been seen in terms of results with Na Inat (2011) and Love Unlimited (2012) finishing in twelfth and eleventh place respectively. The latter was actually joint tenth but after a close review of how the points were distributed, it was Norway's Stay performed by Tooji which got the spot in the final round.
Professional Critics Voice their Opinion
Martin Isherwood: Melodically strong chorus Didn't get the lyrics! Good voice Interesting chromatic melody with strong eastern influences. This track is doing its own thing really with pipes and live drums against a dance track but I doubt it will have sufficient appeal to do very well. A bit crackers really!
Sharon Vaughn: Astounding. Can't wait to see this live.
Stano Simor: I must start off by saying that this track impressed me in the beginning but slowly started to fade after just one minute and this is due to the fact that there were too many genres infused together. The bridge, involving a timpani solo is just too cheap and sounds very cliché continuing to bore me. The duo look to enjoy their performance and this will surely work well on the cameras of the Eurovision Song Contest.
On behalf of Bulgaria, Elitsa Todorova and Stoyan Yankulov took to the stage of the Eurovision Song Contest with the track Water, qualifying to the final in sixth place, prior to achieving a fifth place finish at the end of the evening. This was, and remains the best result that the Eastern country has achieved in the music competition and played a huge factor in the decision why the successful duet should be chosen to represent the nation once more. The announcement was made earlier this morning, and was given the heads up by several key members of the Bulgarian music industry. Whilst being internally decided, the track will be chosen through a national selection and this is done in order to keep the people involved in different stages of the procedure.
BNT, the broadcaster has decided to give Elitsa & Stoyan major creative control over the selection of the entry and as a matter of fact, the renowned duo will be presented five entries in compliance with the rules set for by the European Broadcasting Union. An internal expert committee will be selecting the best three entries which would then go on forth to a selection show, taking place on the 3rd March where another professional five member jury and the public will decide on which entry they will be performing at the Eurovision Song Contest in a shared 50% split each. On the 17th February, through the programme Nedelya x3, all of the songs will be revealed followed by the recording of video clips which would be broadcaster on BNT, with the tracks receiving significant airplay on radio stations who are media partners.
Both artists are extraordinarily happy about the chance that they get to represent Bulgaria for a second time with Elitsa stating ' would like to thank Bulgarian National Television for the invitation and for believing in us. It is an honour for us to show the hard work we have done, our music and ideas at this prestigious European contest.' Nonetheless, Stoyan is also excited about the prospects going onto add 'It is not a question of my happiness about us again taking part in the Eurovision Song Contest, this is a great responsibility for us. I cannot guarantee that we will win but we will do our best. I am hoping that everyone who believed that we should have won the Eurovision Song Contest in 2007 will once again back us.' Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news about the Bulgarian selection process as soon as it becomes available. with Bulgaria competing in the second semi-final alongside Malta who will be represented by Tomorrow performed by Gianluca Bezzina.
Source: BNT, Eurovision.tv
We are almost halfway through the competition in the second semi-final and now have to a point where there has been a lot of genres presented from a number of countries from all over the continent. The next nation who was drawn to perform in the eight position is one who cannot say that they have been successful over the years due to dismal results. In fact, the nation is Bulgaria who have reverted to calling on their most notable names in the industry with hope of reaching the final and also obtaining a decent result. The chosen representative is the renowned Sofi Marinova with the song Love Unlimited composed by Krum Geopriev & Iasen Kozev and penned by the likes of Donka Vasileva.
Sofi Marinova (36) is one of Bulgaria's most popular performers. Devoted to arts since her childhood, Sofi established herself little by little as a top vocalist in Bulgaria. Coached by her mother in singing and dancing, Sofi excelled at school in Etropole while impressing musicians from a local band with her beautiful voice. Soon after, granting permission from her parents, she started singing covers at weddings and christenings; Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson's hits were part of her repertoire as well as gypsy songs from her cultural heritage.
Then her participation in many festivals, where she became victorious, followed and led Sofi to the release of her first album Old Wounds alongside the band Super Express which, according to numerous producers, is the best selling album in the country. Some solo albums followed until she began working with Sunny Music in 2004 and the producer Krum Krumov, a collaboration which is still successful.
In her career the singer has had mostly first place awards in festivals and contests and said she will be very disappointed if she ever comes second, but in 2005 she reached the second place at the national selection for Eurovision in Bulgaria with Edinstveni (Only One) with Slavi Trifonov. In 2007 she took part again with the rapper Ustata and the songYa Tvoya (I'm Yours) placing third. Now Sofi Marinova embraces the challenge of trying to win the Eurovision Song Contest for the first time for Bulgaria on her own.
The Critics Voice Their Opinion
- Ahh…this sounds interesting. Modern with a good house/club feeling. Great chorus, but maybe too long verses. And question but where are the dancers on stage? It’s after all a club track! All I’m looking at now is a non-moving female singer in an evening dress. I like this, seven (7) points from my end.
- There are number of dance songs in this years' Eurovision Song Contest and this is neither better nor worse but I am not fond of such tracks hence I cannot give it more than one (1) point. I am very sorry!
- One of the strongest dance tracks of the year, performed by a real singing diva with style and flair. My objection concerns the visual presentation, which needs a lot of work still. If they get that right, this could go down well. I believe that seven (7) points are well deserved.
Performer: Sofi Marinova
Composers: Krum Geopriev, Iasen Kozev
Author: Doni Vasileva
Song: Love Unlimited
Languages: Bulgarian, English, Arabic, Azeri, French, Greek, Italian, Romani, Spanish, Turkish, Serbian, Croatian
History of the Nation
This will be marking the eight participation of Bulgaria in the Eurovision Song Contest meaning that they remain as one of the last countries to become part of the family but as already mentioned, their results have not been that good unfortunately. They have only made it to the final on one occasion, back in 2007 when Elitsa & Stoyan with their song Water made it and ultimately reached fifth place in the finals for their interesting performance. They have been close to qualification on another two tries, one of them being the following year in 2008 with DJ Please Take Me Away performed by Deep Zone & Balthazar finishing in eleventh place and last year with Poli Genova and Na Inat managing a twelfth position. Will Sofi make their second final? Many are yet to see though she is a marginal qualifier according to most of the fans of the Eurovision Song Contest.
Proud-to-be-Malta’s representative in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, Kurt Calleja, has lately been touring around Europe promoting his song. On the 25th April was infact his very last day of this tour which took him around most part of Eastern Europe. His last stop was Amsterdam, in Netherlands, where he took part in the event called “Eurovision in Concert” last Sunday, 21st April, where not less than 24 countries promoted their entry. Before returning to Malta on the 26th April, Kurt made a stop in Milan where he will be appearing on a show aired on RAI Due.
During his promotional tour, Kurt met with other Eurovision contenders including Sabina Babayeva who will be representing the host country Azerbaijan, Can Bonomo representing Turkey, Sofi Marinova of Bulgaria, Ivi Adamou of Cyprus, Soluna Samay of Denmark, Donny Montell of Lithuania and Anggun who will be representing France. Kurt Calleja made various appearances in TV shows and performances in nightclubs and also in some National Selections, including Lithuania’s National Selection. Kurt described this promotional tour as “a great adventure” and he surely made a good name for our country, thanks also to his bubbly and super out-going character.
Now, the emphasis of Kurt’s work will surely be on those important 3 minutes on the stage on the 24th May, that is, the second semifinal. Maybe odds will treat us bad once again, but everyone is more than sure that Kurt and his team will do not only their very best, but their utmost to assure a great performance on that night … and hopefully ‘that would be the night’. In an interview done by escflashmalta.com, Kurt said that the performance will be as simple as possible, nearing very much the performance which led him to the victory last February.
Source: Facebook, escflashmalta