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Amy Grech

Amy Grech

Monday, 21 April 2014 22:45

ESC 2014: An In-Depth Review of Israel

It has become customary for the escflashmalta.com 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 #2, we catch up with Israel (IBA) who will be represented by Mei Feingold and the song Same Heart written by Rami Talmid.

At the age of just 8 months old, Mei Finegold was whistling melodies in her crib. Her family says she was born to sing. It was only a matter of time before she became one of the most unique singers on the Israeli musical scene. Now her career has taken another step, as Mei will be representing Israel at the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest in Copenhagen with the song Same Heart. What few people knew was that one of Mei's biggest dreams was to do musical theatre. In 2010, her dream came true: Mei was offered a part in a huge musical production at the Cameri Theatre. 

She played a young woman who had lost her husband, struggling to start a new romantic relationship with her husband's best friend. Mei was praised by the critics and audiences for her performance and won the respected "Best New Actress 2010" award for her role.  During that time, Mei released her debut album Soda Pop, which she wrote herself. Ever since, Mei has been working with human rights organisations, volunteering and empowering the fight against violence. Mei's story encouraged hundreds of men and women to share their own personal experiences and start a healing process. In 2011, Mei "started working" on what she refers to as "the most meaningful project of her life". 

She gave birth to her baby daughter, Emily, and became a mother. During her pregnancy, Mei joined the electronic pop rock group, Limozina Express as their lead singer. The members of the band have been very well known and extremely respected musicians in Israel for decades. Together they perform on the largest stages across the country. An evening where Mei started on stage ended with her in the delivery room giving birth. In 2012, Mei was cast once again in a musical production at the Cameri theatre. This time it was Kazablan, a classic Israeli musical. Mei plays a character called Roza, a larger than life local bar owner which the critics and audiences fall in love with. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2DyB3s_RS3I

In May 2013 at the annual Israeli Theatre Awards, Mei was nominated for and won the prestigious award "Best Supporting Actress Of The Year" for her role as Roza. Israel has been successful at the Eurovision Song Contest on three occasions, the most recent being back in 1998 when Dana International managed to strut her way to an astonishing victory with the track Diva beating stiff competition from both Malta and the United Kingdom. In the past couple of years, the country has failed to get out of the semi-final despite sending some pretty strong songs, putting all their hopes on Mei Finegold and her entry Same Heart.

Professional Critics Voice their Opinion

Rating: 66%

Greig Watts: She has an interesting low voice, so im waiting for the chorus to have an impact as she goes high, and its just ok for me and then goes to the typical dance riff. Just ok for me to be honest, but interestingly I like the song more when she goes into the other language (Hebrew I presume) and nice key change at the end, still I think not a winner.

Joseph Zammit: What can I say, this lady has clearly had some issues with relationships in the past. A tough woman who is no longer going to be pushed around. This message is clearly shown with the rough heavy guitar riffs in the beginning. A good start I thought. Pity that it didn't keep on going like this all the way. Half way through it, the song brings in a synth and turns into a hard club piece and ruins it, turning it into a generic piece. 

The fact that in the chorus, the lyrics 'We don't beat from the same heart' are hurried up to fit in with the music clearly shows that it was originally written in her mother tongue and then hastily changed to English for the sake of the competition, which is a pity, because when she does sing in Hebrew in a portion of the song, it does sound much better. This is a song which had potential to be a stand-alone, however it conceded to commercial beats. It will undoubtedly appeal to a wider demographic of Eurovision viewers, however, it makes it less special of a song in itself. 

Sharon Vaughn: Skinning you out is a quite bizarre phrase to use in a pop song. And I am afraid the female warrior theme has been done and done better.

John Scott: She has a very interesting and unique voice. The song builds nicely and the chorus is instantly memorable. The hook stayed in my head long after I first listened to the song.

Source: eurovision.tv

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_uB4JMw4ctc

In 2005, Helena Paparizou won the Eurovision Song Contest with the song My Number One on behalf of Greece, having already represented the nation in 2001 as part of the group Antique with the track Die For You. As another international competition beckons, Helena is hoping to represent Sweden this time round and complete a hat trick of participations. In support of her music career, her fans all over the world have created a forum where they could share their opinions and post comments in relation to the singer/songwriter.

Paparizou Forum can be access through www.paparizouforum.com and features news, discussions and projects in English with dedicated sections in Swedish and Spanish in order to meet the large fan base of Helena Paparizou. The extensive media archive is a great place for any fan or collector. There is also a wide range of other topics of discussion that are non-Helena related on the forum so there truly is something for everyone. Paparizou Forum is a place where you can make great friends from all around the world. The forum, initially created in 2006 has just undergone a massive revamp.

Helena Paparizou is currently busy preparing to make her debut in Melodifestivalen, where she is set to compete with Survivor co-written by Bobby Ljunggren, Henrik Wikstrom, Karl-Ola Jkellholm and Sharon Vaughn on the 1st February 2014. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news about this years' selection in Sweden whilst we also urge you to follow the official facebook page of Helena Paparizou for more details about her current career, based in Sweden and managed by the Lionheart Music Group.

Source: Press Release

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BnL9ifQkzUs 

On Friday the 11th of october, the local council in collaboration with the secretary of parliament and other organizations shall be organizing an activity called Festa Kultura. This will take place at 19:30 in the Ħal Balzan Square. Several cultural activities will take place during this feast making it a very entertaining night for all ages.

There will be stands which will showcase the food and culture of several countries such as Italy, Spain, America, Turkey, Somalia and  Eritrea. Apart from that, there will also be some of the leading artists in the industry including former Eurovision Song Contest representatives; Chiara and Ludwig Galea amongst others. In the meantime, people will also recognise the likes of traditional music known as Għana and other attractions such as Alegria Dance Company, In Guardia Parade and much more. 

escflashmalta.com encourages the public to attend, enjoy the celebrations and respect the cultural heritage that the town of Ħal Balzan is proud to offer on behalf of Malta. On the other hand, stay tuned in to this portal as all the latest news about the Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2013, Malta Eurovision Song Contest 2014 and the Eurovision Song Contest 2014 will all be published in the coming days, weeks, and months!

Source: Press Release

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZiiCZhVDMPI

Saturday, 05 January 2013 00:23

Malta: Positive Results for Students of Kaya

On the 10th of December, former Malta Eurovision Song Contest finalist and second runner-up Kaya, together with four of her students : Aiden Jay Drakard, Anhelica Pace, Naolene Borg and Dorcas Debono travelled to Rumania to take part in the renowned Carpathian Star International Festival. In this showcase, artists from a vast amount of countries took part including Estonia, Serbia, Moldova, Italy, Romania and of course, Malta.

Once again, Malta's success was evident during this competition since all four (4) contestants managed to come within the top three (3) in at least one category. Aidan Jay Drakard came third (3rd) in the 7-9 age category with his excellent performance of the song Profeta Non Sare originally by Demis Roussos. It is important to note that this was Aidan’s first experience in an international competition and therefore was very pleased with such a promising result. 

Another very successful Maltese contestant was Anhelica Pace who not only came first in two (2) categories but also finishing the first runner-up position in the 10-12 age category with her breath-taking performance of the track E Poi originally performed by Giorgia. Anhelica won both the folklore song category and also the group category were together with Aiden, they performed the song Save Rock n roll written by Kaya and her brother Dorian Psaila. This was not her first success in foreign waters, noting that she has managed second runner-up finishes in prestigious competitions both in Italy and Poland. Later on this month, Anhelica will be heading to Italy to take part in the competition known as Eurokids in the town of Salerno.

In this same competition, Malta obtained third place in the adult category, having been represented by Dorcas Debono with the track Stupid. As a matter of fact, it seems that things are looking bright for her noting that she was also chosen a couple of weeks back as one of the finalists for Passport 2 Indifest where she is hoping to make it through to the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza. The judging panel was made up of representatives from each of the competing countries and Malta was represented by Kaya but a pivotal rule stated that no judge could vote for acts within their own country to be precise and accurate. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for more news about upcoming young performers.

Source: Press Release

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y9aFYKLCmtw

Friðrik Ómar is known to have represented his home country of Iceland in the 2008 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest alongside Regína Ósk within the duet known as Eurobandið with the track This Is My Life. In the past couple of weeks, he has gone onto release his fifth solo album entitled Outside the Ring containing ten songs, most of which are written by himself and therefore giving his effort a different life, full of personal emotions and feelings which he can now transmit through the medium of music. The release of the album took place in Harpa in an established venue known as the Reykjavik Concert Hall.

Whilst having been done by several artists in the past, Ómar took on a brand new approach to the showcase noting that he wanted to embody the title of the studio album into the performance and thus was at the centre of the venue, surrounded by people as per the Outside the Ring metaphor. This more intimate approach gave him the opportunity to connect more with the audience and really express the emotion in his music. This element was deemed to be successful as both the audience and Omar were extremely happy at how the concert turned out. This was the first release that he has supported and thus, it means more to him hence why he was riding on a high following the public perception. He has been gladly building up his career since his Eurovision Song Contest experience and will surely continue moving in the right direction. You can purchase the album through iTunes with physical copies available to order from the official webpage of Friðrik Ómar. Like Hera Bjork, Greta Salome and the Chiara from Malta, Friðrik is represented by Hands Up Music. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for more news in the coming days and weeks with regards to former Eurovision Song Contest performers.

Source: Hands Up Music

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0jO8wGdqD0