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Malta will be making use of the mountain dulcimer during this years’ edition of the Eurovision Song Contest with the instrument set to be played by Richard Edwards, lead vocalist and also songwriter of the track “Coming Home”. During the promotional stop in The Netherlands for the Eurovision In Concert, travelling on the buses to and from the venue and other places, it seems that Aarzemnieki and Firelight became really good friends whilst getting to a particular destination.

In the video, which we are attaching at the bottom of this article, it shows lead vocalists of both groups interacting with each other with Richard Edwards showing Jöran Steinhauer how to play this mountain dulcimer before bursting out in a performance of "You Are My Sunshine" whilst joined by Michelle Mifsud, who is featured towards the latter part of the performance during “Coming Home”. Malta and Latvia were well received during last nights’ Eurovision In Concert, with both entries actually having a relatively mid-tempo to uptempo kind of genre. We urge you to stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all the latest news about the Maltese representatives.

Source: Eurovision Song Malta (Facebook, Twitter)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TSuAM9Hr9oY

Friday, 28 March 2014 17:34

ESC 2014: An In-Depth Review of Latvia

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. Martin Isherwood, Deo Grech, Stano Simor and Matt Mercieca from the United Kingdom, Malta and the Czech Republic have been entrusted with the first semi-final, comprising of sixteen songs and set to take place on the 6th May 2014 at the B&W Hallerne in Copenhagen, Denmark. Making use of the running order and thus moving onto number #2, we catch up with Latvia (LTV) who will be represented by Aarzemnieki and the song Cake to Bake written by Guntis Veilands.

The Aarzemnieki (or Foreigners) phenomenon began as an unexpected shock for one German’s special interest and creative approach to the Euro introduction in Latvia. In the summer of 2013, Joran Steinhauer, whilst in his home in Bohume, Germany wrote a farewell song to the Lat currency, aptly naming the song Paldies Latiņam! (Thank You, Lat) Later, the video became a Youtube sensation with more than 100,000 views in one week. The popularity and enthusiasm surrounding the song was so large that Joran decided to pack his bags and make his way to Latvia with one thing in mind; “let’s see what happens next!” Joran’s connection with Latvia, however, began well before the birth of this smash song, when he took part in an exchange programme in the city of Talsi in 2005. Later he volunteered at a children’s centre and in the German church of Riga.

Remembering his first impressions, Joran recalls that it’s because of the group Brainstorm, who were third in the 2000 Eurovision final, that he was drawn to Latvia. After hearing their song he bought their CDs and it was at that moment that he became a true Eurovision and Brainstorm fan. This isn’t the first time Joran has stepped on the Eurovision stage, having performed in the national Latvian selection in 2008 with his former group Axlina performing the song More Than 27. The story behind the Aarzemnieki group’s name is quite precise due to Joran’s status in Latvia. The word’s complicated pronunciation reflects each foreigner’s struggle to integrate into the local society. In the fall of 2013, the group grew from a solo act with three new members- violinist and vocalist Katrina Dimanta, drummer Raitis Vilumovs and Guntis Veilands, pianist, and the author of the song Cake To Bake.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=15_8Rf-RwJ4

Latvia first entered the Eurovision Song Contest back in 2000 when the group Brainstorm surprised critics and fans alike when finishing in third place with the song My Star, a catchy pop number with the right slot in the running order. It seems that flirting with the top positions was set to bring the competition home considering that in 2002, Marie N and her entry I Wanna did the impossible of being close to last with the bookies before triumphing in a hard close-knit battle with Malta whose 7th Wonder by Ira Losco remains the closest the Mediterranean Nation have ever been to victory. In recent years, the country has failed to get out of the semi-final, finished dead-last on more than one occasion, including in 2003 with the group PeR and their song Here We Go.

Professional Critics Voice their Opinion

Rating: 44%

Martin Isherwood: Sort of catchy chorus, but not in a good way.  This guy is apparently responsible for melting the polar ice caps and a whole host of other global events, however today he's going to bake a cake.  Barking mad! Finger picking, folky, starts off a bit Ralph McTell 'streets of London' but shifts to a more frantic acoustic The Kinks 'follower of fashion' feel, both of which are a surprise in Eurovision. Quite a lot of fuss over a cake!

Deo Grech: Okay, here is an entry which is ruined by the title. It will be so funny to hear what will the commentators have to say about this entry.  And if that is not enough this entry will be kissed by the curse of being performed second in the show....and to make things worse right after the potential winner of 2014. Sorry Latvia....I am afraid you'll have to miss the finals, this year round.

Stano Simor: Latvia "Beatles" is back? Pesnicka has a good groove. Chorus was used a hundred times in various forms. Maybe it Aarzemnieki bet, in which case it is right on target.

Matt Mercieca: I would love it as a song! if the lyrics were saying something that was not baking a cake! ( i kind of like it) , its funny , its catchy, ok I’m losing it, I think its a little sweet, it should be in a kids movie! it does put a smile on my face, but being a little bit more serious it is kind of ridiculous ( I spoke to a unicorn the other night), but I can’t hate it and have to admit I’m quite excited to watch this live. I’ve got a cake to bake dududududu.

Source: eurovision.tv

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7CL8anA1hQ

Published in Editorials
Saturday, 22 February 2014 23:08

Latvia: Aarzemnieki Ready to -Bake a Cake-

In Ventspils, the city which sponsors the Latvian participation in the continental competition, Aarzemnieki have been selected to represent Latvia in the 2014 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest with the track Cake to Bake. It continues a longstanding tradition which has seen the nation to the east of Europe select entries which have a rather funny connotation, such as Beautiful Song by Anmary, What For? by Aisha and also Wolves of the Sea performed by the group Pirates of the Sea. The song was in contention alongside another eleven (11) entries, but it was the choice of both the public and the jury when it came to the super-final, contested by three (3) entries.

Patrick Strouk on behalf of escflashmalta.com conducted the LIVE report for the evening and saw the chosen entry as one of the dark horses of the evening but many had been surprised that the group Aarzemnieki managed to covercome Dons, whose entry was already a major hit both on radio and in the national charts. Cake to Bake which will see to Latvia's fifteenth (15th) participation is written by Guntis Veilands. Latvia will compete in the first semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2014, set to take place on the 6th May 2014 at the B&W Hallerne in Copenhagen, Denmark. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all the latest news.

Source: LTV

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJEc_71EEeo

 
Saturday, 22 February 2014 19:25

Latvia: National Final - Dziesma 2014 - LIVE

Labvakar! I am Patrick in Sarcelles, France and will be welcoming the twelve (12) finalists hoping to represent Latvia in this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest. Ventspils has been supporting the participation of the country in recent times, henceforth why the city has been known to host the final in the past two to three years. Dziesma will be an intriguing affair, following two (2) semi-final rounds, and you may follow all of the action through the LIVE stream being offered by the Official Website of the Eurovision Song Contest as from 20:25 CET.

The selection is unchaged from previous years, meaning that the twelve (12) songs in contention this evening will be hoping to garner support from both the general public and the professional jury due to their 50% stake in both the first and the second round of voting. In the latter though, only the top three (3) will be fighting it out in what has been termed as a super final. There are several special guests this evening including none other than PeR (Latvia 2013), Fomins and Kleins (Latvia 2004), Lauris Reiniks (Latvia 2000), Norma Rutulis and Estonian group; Tenfold Rabbit.

The Show (Part 1)

Very strange act to start off with! A sort of energy exchange. A choir with drums and synths but anyways, we are now welcomed in Ventspils by our four hosts for this evening, seemingly looking more and more like the actual Eurovision Song Contest. Now the 12 acts are introduced with a very short extract.

Revelation - Ralfs Eilands, Valters Pūce & Nelli Bubujanca

First act is last year's entrant Ralf Eilands, lead singer from Per with a very different song, one entitled Revelation. Ralf is on stage with a cello player and a female drum player. Nice song but a bit shouty in my opinion ... And at the end, the cello gets broken.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-UpxdfE_iE8

Lights On - Markus Riva

Next song is lights up by Markus Riva. Unfortunately, this is a SONG competition and good looks can only get you so far in my opinion. His voice is not perfect at all and the only thing I seem to like are the lights in this song. Very weak, and the standard does not seem to be improving.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jg8C8LU1KPI

Moment And Tomorrow - Katrīna Bindere

Mid-tempo song very well performed by Katrine and four (4) female chorists. She also brought a wind machine on the chorus. Not very instant but indeed, extremely professional.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EAoj6OjRxVU

Pēdējā Vēstule - Dons

Now comes the big favorite of the evening, Dons with a song in Latvian, one entitled Pedeja Vestule which is already a big hit in Latvia and thus ready to rake in the public vote. Dons is backed by four (4) female singers. Sounds like a quicker version of Kuula. Flawless vocals and an even more emotional performance. Simple and efficient.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Yd3mSg_wWY

Stay - Samanta Tina

Back for a third time, hoping that she will be lucky is none other than Samata Tina whose entry features a wind machine, due to the strong feeling of Euphoria, especially in terms of genre. The vocals are good, nothing too special but something is missing, cannot really comprehend what!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nBx6aHuWeSY

Here I Am Again - Niko

Up next! Niko who is basically a David Lindgren copy when it comes to this song. I cannot believe it but this is basically .. Shout It Out! The choreography is very similar to Daft Punk ... Bad vocals also ... Next please!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FLoFS9nYKJY

Going All The Way - MyRadiantU

The evening is going super-fast, considering that we are more than half way through as the seventh song is set to take to the stage. Four (4) guys are on stage for this very energetic song a bit remeniscent of Simple Minds. Strong chorus, good vocals and excellent arrangements ... I like it, would be a good choice fort Latvia

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cg-6DN8bc3Y

Saule Riet (Take Away) - Olga & Līgo

Olga is on stage with five (5) dancers wearing costumes. Vocals are amazing ... song is very catchy and the dance routine brings more movements on stage ... If chosen, I am entirely sure that it would be a big favorite in Copenhagen.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eenD-H7vces

I Can Breathe - Aminata

This is a self penned entry ... She is on stage with three (3) dancers wearing masks and two (2) backing vocalists. Aminata is a wonderful performer but the song is not memorable enough to make an impact, either this evening OR at the Eurovision Song Contest where it could end up.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h3s2MuAjcJE

Aarzemnieki - Cake to Bake

The song is starting as a simple guitar ballad....and then it gets a bit uptempo but acoustic. Lyrics are ridiculous but that is something which might not bother Latvians having just remembered that they did choose 'Beautiful Song' two years ago.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJEc_71EEeo

If I Could (Get Away) - Eirošmits

They are wearing postiche beards. By the way they switched the song to Latvian ... Not a good attempt, I'm afraid but Latvians like this kind of weird joke entries! Nevertheless, we're just about ready with the initial line-up as it's time to introduce the last song You're the reason by Katrine Lukins.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y7YOCstcAEQ

You Are The Reason - Katrine Lukins

Katrine is backed up by two (2) vocalists and twin drummers. Oh my god, my ears are bleeding, she is completly off key ... It is beyond horrible! That's it, we have heard the 12 songs and the winner will be decided by 50/50 jury and televoting.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8r4GAPhesI

The Show (Part 2)

Who will get the task to bring Latvia back to the final for the first time since 2008? This will be decided in a moment! Now, first recap of the songs! First voting round is to decide the three (3) superfinalists! For me the choice should be between Dons, Olga ir Ligo or MyRadiantU but Katrina Bindere and Aarzmenieki are also dark horses. 

Dons is leading the televoting in front of Katrina Bindere, Aazmenieki and Olga ir Ligo ... Dons is still in the lead with cake to bake to follow. Another recap of the songs. Lines are closed now. First interval act Marta Ritova. Second one is Estonian band Tenfold rabbit. Now all the acts are back on stage. Time for the first results hopefully. first it is time for various prizes.

We are getting there, and here are the super-finalists; DonsSamanta TinaAarzemnieki.

Well, each of the super-finalists is now taking to the stage once more for a second performance although it seems that the public is going for Dons, with the funny Cake to Bake in second place leaving last years' runner-up Samanta Tina in third place. Our special guests for the evening are currently on stage, including acts who represented Latvia in 2000, 2004 and 2013, respectively.

... and Aarzemnieki win with the song Cake to Bake.