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Sunday, 06 April 2014 20:07

ESC 2014: An In-Depth Review of Ukraine

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 #9, we catch up with Ukraine (NTU) who will be represented by Mariya Yaremchuk and the song Tick Tock co-written with Sandra Bjurman.

The music of Tick-Tock has been composed by Mariya herself. She is also one of the co-writers of the lyrics. Mariya and her choreographer’s team are working hard on the stage performance to make it soulful and simple. Mariya Yaremchuk was born on March 2nd, 1993 in Chernivtsi into a musicians’ family. Her father, Nazariy Yaremchuk, is a true Ukrainian legend,who died when Maria was only two years old. Her whole life Mariya was surrounded by music, so it wasn’t a surprise for anyone when Mariya took a stage for a first time at the age of six. 

In 2009 she entered the Variety Vocal Department of the Kyiv Circus and Variety Arts Academy and simultaneously the History, Politology and Foreign Relations Department of the Chernivtsi National University. In 2013 she had graduated with honour and got the bachelor’s degrees in both specialisations. Mariya continues her studies for the master’s degrees. In 2012 Mariya Yaremchuk participated in the Ukrainian version of The Voice, a famous global TV format for the best vocalists where she reached the fourth place. In the same year, Mariya represented Ukraine at the New Wave, the international music festival. 

She finished in top three and won the audience choice award. Her style and femininity idol is Monica Bellucci. In the music world, Mariya gives the nod to Madonna’s energy and Maroon 5 leader Adam Levine’s voice and sexuality. But all admiration still belongs to Mariya’s true inspiration – her father. This year Ukraine is going to overwhelm Europe with one of the strongest and beautiful voices - Mariya Yaremchuk. On December 21st, 2013 Mariya won the Ukrainian national selection and thus she will represent her country with her own lush and intense song Tick-Tock in Copenhagen.


Ukraine will be taking part in the Eurovision Song Contest for the twelfth consecutive time, with extremely positive results, having only been out of the top ten on just four occasions. Criticism for this years' entry has been extremely harsh but nevertheless, that changed following political situations in Europe. Their most successful participation was back in 2004 when Ruslana performed the song Wild Dances garnering a convincing victory over Serbia & Montenegro who finished in second place. They have also finished in second place on two other occasions, in 2007 and 2008 whilst managing a third place a couple of months back. 

Professional Critics Voice their Opinion

Rating: 63%

Martin Isherwood: Ok chorus, going the through the motions, but lacking a spark or originality.   Hate the whistles. For a 3 minutes song - it took a long time to get going.  Feels a bit dated more like 2003 with Flavours of Britney's Toxic - which is similar in terms of the title as well.     

Deo Grech: Seems that there are some wicked brains behind this year's show.  Putting Ukraine so close to the Russian entry will surely ignite some interesting discussion at home...and hey she's singing ''Tick Tock'' stronger than ever. I would have loved Ruslana here, though...she would have shouted some strong messages halfway through the song.  This will garner plenty of sympathy votes. I'm sure of that!

Stano Simor: Every year, Ukraine is highly dependent on the performance and the image of the song given during the Eurovision Song Contest but that said, "Tick Tock" is disappointing for me. She has a chance to get through to the final only based on the sympathy votes that this entry will achieve, apart from the continental promotion that is sure to precede.

Matt Mercieca: What is she saying? song sounds super out-dated. she’s cool though! I like her! Beat is cool, lyrics are super SILLY! But this is very Eurovision and i’m sure will do very good.

Source: eurovision.tv


Published in Editorials
Saturday, 21 December 2013 13:00

Ukraine: Mariya Yaremchuk's Bid is Successful

Earlier this morning, NTU, the public broadcaster of Ukraine held a national selection to determine the name of the entry for the upcoming edition of the Eurovision Song Contest, set to take place in Copenhagen, Denmark. The public and the jury agreed in selecting Mariya Yaremchuk with the song Tick-Tock, a song which she wrote herself in both English and Ukrainian.

Mariya Yaremchuk, first tried to represent Ukraine in the Eurovision Song Contest earlier this year with the track Imagine which was an entirely different kind of song. It did garner general support, finishing in fifth place with a total of thirty (30) points, acquired through both the public and the professional jury. During the year, Mariya continued to elevate her profile, participating in the renowned New Wave Festival, where she managed third place. This competition is known to be a springboard for several artists, especially in the eastern side of the continent. The female artist is hoping to conquer the Eurovision Song Contest as she competes in one of the semi-finals in just a couple of months. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all the latest news.

Source: NTU


NTU, host broadcaster of this years' edition of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest took to the media last night in order to present twenty (20) artists who have been shortlisted in a bid to represent the nation at next years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest taking place in Copenhagen, Denmark. Earlier this year, Zlata Ognevich donned the colours of the Ukranian flag with her entry Gravity finishing in the second runner-up slot, only to be beated by eventual winners; Denmark and first runner-up; Azerbaijan.

The list of shortlisted participants does not include the the full list of songs that they will be performing during the national selection but nevertheless, it includes a variety of names, including of artists who have already tried their luck in the past. The most intriguing name is that of Viktoriya Petryk, who just happens to be the sister of Anastasiya Petryk, winner of the 2012 edition of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest.

  • Viktor Romanchenko
  • Anna Hodorovskaya
  • Anatoly Shparev
  • Neangely – Courageous
  • Stas Shurins – Why
  • Tatyana Shirko – Let Go
  • Lissa Wassabi
  • Vladimir Tkachenko – Byti tam de ti
  • Shanis – Moya Dusha (My soul)
  • Viktoriya Petryk
  • Tatyana Berg
  • Evgeny Litvinkovich
  • Anna Maria – 5 Stars Hotel
  • Marietta – It`s my life
  • Mariya Yaremchuk – Tick Tock
  • ULI RUD – Budapest
  • Denis Lyubimov – Love
  • Roman Polonsky – Wanted Dead Or Alive
  • Natalya Valevskaya

Other notable names in the selection process are those of Tetyana Shyrko and Mariya Yaremchuk who participation in the national selection back in 2013. Marietta had also taken part earlier this year and also last year. Neangely took part back in 2007 whilst Shanis performed back in 2010, making it a very widespread return for most of the artists. We urge you to stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news as soon as it becomes available.

Source: NTU


This morning the official logo for the Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2013 has been presented. NTU, the Ukrainian Broadcaster has revealed that the official logo will complement the slogan for this year's contest which is Be Creative! One might ask why is the logo made from Puzzles. It has been explained that puzzles are means for people to be creative.

Puzzles also represent a mystery and every child uses puzzles. A puzzle also connects one another and Junior Eurovision is one way of uniting and connecting all the children around the world. As stated by the Executive Supervisor Vladislav Yakovlev: He's the perfect symbol of bringing all the elements of the show - the children and their talent - together. The Junior Eurovision Song Contest will be held in Kiev on 30th November 2013 with the return of Malta after an absence of 2 years. Malta will be represented by prodigy Gaia Cauchi of La Voix Academy headed by Gillian Zammit. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news.

Source: Junior Eurovision (Official Website)


Monday, 30 September 2013 17:15

JESC 2013: Zlata Ognevich Chosen as Co-Hostess

Timur Miroshnychenko, a commentator for the Eurovision Song Contest in his native Ukraine has been responsible for hosting the preselection in the lead up to the Junior Eurovision Song Contest on a series of occasions, something that he had done alongside Ani Lorak, a former first runner-up within the international competition with the song Shady Lady. NTU, the broadcaster responsible for this years' international spectacle have selected Timur and Zlata as co-hosts with the second runner-up at the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest garnering a major hosting gig for the very first time. This years' edition of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest is taking place on the 30th November in Kiev, Ukraine.

Ukraine are making a lot of effort to ensure that the 2013 edition of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest is a major success with the motto being simple, and spelling out Be Creative! The country has also denoted 2013 as the year of children's creative. Timur on the other hand has spoken in favour of the official team saying 'it means being state-of-the-art and knowing how to see beauty in everything. As co-host of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest, I want to show the world that the new generation of Ukrainians have a brand new way of thinking'. Zlata wasn't too far off in her way of thinking, adding that 'Ukraine has so many gifted children and people who are always willing to show the beauty and richness of Ukrainian culture through their dances, songs, paintings. What we can show our guests is our big heart, our hospitality and our talent.' Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news.

Source: Official Website


Ukraine has participated in the Eurovision Song Contest ten times. Infact, their first entry goes back to 2003 with a 14th place finish for Oleksandr Ponomaryov. The country won in 2004 when famous singer Ruslana turned wild with her strong entry Wild Dances. Ukraine finished in joint 19th place in the 2005 contest, for which Kiev, was the host. Ukraine has a remarkable record in the contest. It has never been eliminated in the semifinals, and has therefore never missed a final. And they will probably make the finals this year too with the soundtrack song Gravity sang by the beautiful Zlata Ognevich.

The singer is busy preparing her final touches for the stage performance of the Avatarish song. Four backing vocals are expected to be on stage to sing along with her but the sixth member of the performance is yet to be unveil. One of the backing vocals is Cleveland Watkiss, a Jazz icon. He was the winner of the London Jazz Awards for Best Vocalist in 2010 and was voted Wire/Guardian Jazz Awards top vocalist for three uninterrupted years. The 3 minute stage show is directed by Maxim Litvinov a prominent Ukrainian director, who designs shows for the Ukrainian version of X-Factor and Ukraine’s Got Talent. The director wants to surprise the European spectators with a  show which Europe has never seen at the Eurovision stage before. Zlata Ognevich will sing her song Gravity in the First Semi Final on 14th May 2013. The atmospheric song was written by Mikhail Nekrasov, who was responsible for arranging Ruslana’s winning entry in 2004.

Lyrics to Gravity were written by Karen Kavaleryan, author of Ani Lorak’s Shady Lady and Dima Bilan’s Never Let You Go. The singer that Gravity says matches with the theme art of this year’s Eurovision. The intercultural sound of music in Gravity reflects the big idea of cultural variety behind Eurovision. In the meantime, the delegation has also decided to make the song available for people to download as a ringtone. 'People who support Ukraine in Eurovision want to listen to Gravity when they receive phone calls. They also want to let other fans know who they will vote for in the contest', explains Mikhail Nekrasov, Zlata’s producer. Currently, the Ukrainian entry is doing very well in the bettings. Gravity is in the 3rd place out of 39 countries. We wish Zlata a successful performance on the first semi final. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news.

Source: Press Release


Robin Stjernberg and Despina Olympiou will both be hoping to achieve success at this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest and it is intriguing to note that their selection was quite different with the lady from Cyprus chosen internally as opposed to the man from Sweden who had to go through several phases within the annual Melodifestivalen. Both artists have had the chance to speak to the editorial board of escflashmalta.com with interviews being conducted by Marc Calleja Bayliss and Antoine Farrugia. As a matter of fact, our third interview in the build up towards the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest in Sweden is with Zlata Ognevich who will be representing Ukraine with Gravity composed by Mikhail Nekrasov to the lyrics of Karen Kavaleryan.

2003 was the year in which Ukraine joined the family of the Eurovision Song Contest with this year marking the eleventh participation. The nation has been quite successful having managed to finish in the top ten on six occasions including a win back in 2004 thanks to Wild Dances performed by Ruslana and two runner-up finishes in 2007 with Verka Serduchka and her flamboyant entry Dancing Lasha Tumbai and the following year in 2008 with Shady Lady sung by Ani Lorak. Do you feel like you have a successful record to protect as you take on the role of representative and how do you perceive such history?

It’s an honor for me to have been selected to represent Ukraine. And yes, it’s a big responsibility. I feel confident though. I very much believe in my song which was written by Mikhail Nekrasov. Mikhail was the co-author of Ruslana’s song. Karen Kavaleryan wrote the lyrics for Gravity. He was also the author of Ani Lorak’s Shady lady lyrics. 4 powerful backing vocals will add value to my live performance. One of the backing vocalists has been acknowledged as one of the world’s best male jazz voices. So I am placing high hopes on my entry.


Gravity, the track that you will be performing during the first semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest is composed by Mikhael Nekrasov and penned by Karen Kaveleryan who have worked on a number of successful songs in the past including Never Let You Go by Dima Bilan and Shady Lady by Ani Lorak. What kind of advice and support have they given you as you prepare to take on millions of viewers across the continent?

Mikhail is not only the author of my song, he is also my producer and author of all my songs. Mikhail has always been a great support and I fully trust him and his music. Every day we rehearse together trying to make the song absolutely perfect.

Between 2010 and 2011, you were given the ‘Person of the Year’ accolade in Ukraine and then in the middle of the latter you, the Embassy for Argentina also bestowed on you the title of ‘Best Voice of Ukraine’. You have had a number of successes in this manner apart from several more within the music field by virtue of competing in local and foreign competitions. How do such prestigious moments in your career help you plan for this upcoming adventure as well as the future?

Experience in competitions gives a good practice of taking control over emotions. My main rivals are not other contenders for the win, but my own worries and emotions. Confidence is what an artist gains when performs on a big stage. Then comes pleasure. My main goal is to get pleasure from my performance.


According to several sources, your father is a military doctor whilst your mother is a teacher of literature and language inRussia and nevertheless, their daughter is a vocal performer which is definitely different from their occupations. Your passion for music is believed to have emerged when you moved to Ukraine, a nation which has become not only the place where you live but also your home. Do you still perceive your move to Ukraine was positive and do you have the support of your family in music?

Yes, my move to Ukraine predicted my future life. Crimean peninsula where I grew up taught me to reconcile with nature. I learnt to imitate the sounds of animals, practiced swimming and diving. All of these activities helped me a lot in my vocal career. In Ukraine I met with Mikhail Nekrasov, my producer and my coach. Although I am mixed-blood, Ukraine is my motherland.

Following the allocation draw held by the European Broadcasting Union last year, it became public knowledge that Ukraine would be competing in the first semi-final and just a couple of days ago it was revealed that you would be performing in slot number #7 during the show. You will be preceding Russia who will be represented by Dina Garipova and her entryWhat If as well as Anouk from The Netherlands with the song Birds. These are two ballads with you have a mid-tempo track. Do you think that the outcome of the semi-final will be decided on the draw and what is your opinion on the tracks mentioned?

I think Gravity really stands out from other entries. Its musical performance is different and new to the Eurovision Song Contest. At the same time, I am sure the production team of the show is very professional and their choice of the running order was not occasional. The main goal is to make the show interesting for TV viewers.


During the national selection which was organised way back in December, you were wearing a long white dress with your backing vocalists donning black all behind you. The use of props was not prohibited by the broadcaster but nevertheless you sought to make use of your vocal range and let nothing else distract you. What will you be changing for the live performance during the Eurovision Song Contest and what message do you wish to convey?

I didn’t want to reveal all the details at the National Final. At the same time, my performance in Malmo will be a big surprise. I can guarantee a grandiose show created by the top class director Maxim Litvinov. The main goal is to plunge into the atmosphere of a fairytale and to create a special world on stage.

Throughout the years, you have attended several music institutions and therefore have amassed a lot of knowledge on vocals techniques and so forth, clearly shown within each respective performance. In the Eurovision Song Contest, many people believe that whilst the focus of the juries will be on the voice, one agrees that the song along with the whole package has to be perfect. You are working hard and have engaged the public to help you out with the staging but nevertheless, the decisions will ultimately be yours. Whatever the result at the event is, what should one expect out of Zlata in the next couple of months?

I do have big plans for the after-Eurovision times. But still have to keep the intrigue. But watch out for updates in social networks. Friend me on Facebook and read my tweets!

Would you like to say anything to our readers at escflashmalta.com?

I am very excited to get to know you all in person. Please, do not hesitate to come say hi, take pictures together and enjoy the show!


Published in Interviews
Tuesday, 09 April 2013 03:45

Ukraine: Reviewing the track 'Gravity'

A professional panel of experts from the local and the foreign music industry have been summoned to listen to all of the competing entries in this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest. The tracks are supported by biographies, other music from the respective performers involved along with a background on the participating country. The formal introduction of each entry continues. All of the information is obtained from the official website of the international spectacle and indeed, pertaining to the running order as decided by the producers, Ukraine will be performing in slot number seven (7) from the sixteen (16) entries which will be competing during the first semi-final. NTU, the broadcaster resposible for the participation of Ukraine in the Eurovision Song Contest will be represented by the song Gravity composed by Mikhail Nekrasov, penned by Karen Kavaleryan with vocals provided by Zlata Ognevich.

The elements of water and rock attracted Zlata from an her early age. She likes to swim and dive while storms rage at the sea. Being a kid, she frequently ran away from home, spending hours in the rocky cliffs in order to sing, keenly listening to the mountains echoing her voice. Zlata liked the extreme from the childhood: diving into water, she vanished there for a long time; developing the ability to hold her breath that, however, became very useful for her: now she can sing in one breath 5-6 high notes of maximum length. After finishing two schools, comprehensive and music ones, at the age of 18, Zlata went to Kyiv, where her professional singing career started. Here, at the R.M. Glier Kyiv State Higher Music College, she refined her pop vocal skills. Then she continued her studying in the Kyiv Institute of Music, but that time at the department of jazz. In the race for success, Zlata gained an invaluable experience in The State Song and Dance Ensemble of the Armed Forces of Ukraine where she is still a solist.

To be a singer in Ukraine is not a unique profession. Without exaggeration you can say that almost everyone sings there. To become famous and show your talent is a very difficult task. But in Zlata’s occasion, the "blood code" worked: parental Serbian and maternal Italian roots. This "cocktail" showed the best merits of the singer: the Balkan unrestraint and sense of freedom, the Italian affectivity and beauty, the Ukrainian heartiness and tunefulness. And the severe northern land reflected in Zlata as an indomitable will and pursuit of goals. Zlata has already five videos in her creative baggage. The numerous wins that she has received in a remarkably short period, say a lot about the incredible talent of the young singer. Zlata has a special message for all her fans: “Love more, laugh more, open your heart and have no fears!” About her personal relationship to Eurovision Song Contest, the Ukrainian representative says: “For me the contest associates with an enormous job, not only of the artist, but also of hundreds of people off screen.


About the specialty of her entry Gravity, Zlata says: “The most special is the song itself. We’d like to bring the idea that life is fragile and there’re a lot of things making us feel the weight of responsibilities. But one should always find strength in oneself to open the wings and soar, overcoming the difficulties. We’d like not to disclose the performance, it is under a painstaking work process now, but the efforts of the team are being made to make it interesting." Zlata gets her inspiration in travelling, in human spirit, in interesting acquaintances. She adores nature. At her leisure she cycles, jogs in her favorite park with a small lake, sit with her friends on the highest bridge and lights sky lanterns. This track was not selected internally but had to get through a national selection, one of the first organised in preparation for this years' edition of the international spectacle but nevertheless, according to pundits they did get it right.

Ukraine is one of the most successful countries to compete at the Eurovision Song Contest noting that they first entered in 2003 and managed to garner their first and thus far only victory within the following year as Ruslana and Wild Dances rose to the occasion. Nevertheless, this is an Eastern country which has never failed to get through to the final even when at times people thought that their record might have been in jeapordy. It is quite interesting to see that both countries which have a sterling record in semi-finals have been put back to back in terms of performances with Russia performed straight before. In 2011, Mika Newton and her song Angel was the surprise of many when she finished in fourth place but the disappointment of last year with Be My Guest was clearly felt at least from Gaitana who had received positive response throughout. The jury managed to lift it up to fifteenth position, the second worst result for Ukraine.

Professional Critics Voice their Opinion

Rating: 53%

Magnus Kaxe: If Eurovision would be all about having the most key modulations in a song this one would win, easily. Great chorus and good production. But I'm afraid the corny structure and arrangement is too complicated for the average listener. One's losing interest after a while. However - it will make it through to the final.

Lina Eriksson: Zlata's an amazing singer but I got dissapointed when the verse was over and the chorus started. And why that ending?

Matt Mercieca (Muxu): The way the song starts is good, but then it suddenly changes and I'm not so in love with it anymore, this also reminds me of a movie soundtrack, like a children's movie. but every time i think I'm about to start liking it, it changes, and i have to get used to something else. it changes way to much, and doesn't let you just enjoy the song

Source: eurovision.tv


Published in Editorials

One of the most interesting things within the second semi-final is the fact that a number of uptempo songs are nonexistent especially when compared to the number of ballads due to the ever growing presence of the Balkans. Therefore, it means that some of the songs might end up standing out a little bit more and this seems to be the case with Ukraine who are performing in the seventh position. Over the years, the country has been quite successful at the music spectacle and they will be hoping to continue their streak of success with their entry Be My Guest written by Gaitana and KIWI Project and performed by Gaitana

Gaitana is a Ukrainian singer and composer, who has recorded and released five albums and more than 20 music videos within ten years of career. She has received several awards already, including the Ukrainian Music Award for the "Best Female Singer of the Year" and the face of Francophonie Festival 2010.Over the past year Gaitana became "Official Friend of UEFA Euro 2012", and started working on a set of creative sports and social projects. 


Among others she wrote the song You Are The Champion for the Klitschko Brothers Foundation, an "anthem of a social project for orphan children". In the future she is going to release her new album, which was created by Narada Michael Walden, Eric Daniels, Rob Hoffman, Robert Damper. The album was recorded in San Francisco, Seattle and Los Angeles. Gaitana will represent Ukraine in the 2012 Eurovision song Contest, where she will sing her own composition Be My Guest, which won the national final in Ukraine, receiving the highest points from both the jury and TV viewers

The Critics Voice Their Opinion

Magnus Kaxe

  • “Born this way” by Lady Gaga, “Bittersweet Harmony” by The Verve and “When love takes over” by David Guetta in the same song! All great tracks should make an amazing song for Ukraine. But no. Where is the melody underneath the modern music production? Where is the dynamic in the vocal performance? Now I’m just hear somebody who almost screams all the time. I believe that four (4) points are in order when it comes to this entry.

Marion Welter

  • This is a track which has been very much influenced by When Loves Takes Over of David Guetta. It is clearly a case of getting on the dancefloor with Gaitana. She has a strong voice actually and I think she can do wonders. I would like to give her six (6) points.

Tobias Larsson

  • Gaitana is a feisty presence, who is bound to shake some life into this semi with her football anthem, perhaps more designed for this summer's European championships rather than Eurovision. Lacking a bit in the chorus department, but in possession of a set of strong hooks, this could still get far with the Ukrainian know-how of Eurovision performances hence she does get my eight (8) points.


Entry Background

Performer: Gaitana

Composers: Gaitana & Kiwi Project

Author: Gaitana

Song: Be My Guest

Language: English

Broadcaster: NTU

History of the Nation

This will mark the tenth appearance of Ukraine in the Eurovision Song Contest and it seems to have been somewhat of a successful ride thus far having always been part of the finals and noting that they only did not make the top ten on three occasions, somewhat predicted each time. On their second participation, they managed to secure victory with Ruslana and her song Wild Dances but they would gun for victory again in 2007 and 2008 when Verka Serduschka and Ani Lorak with their respective entries Dacing Lasha Tumbai and Shady Lady. They went on a different path for the next three years but surprisingly ended up successful last year when their artist Mika Newton performed a beautiful song entitled Sweet People which finished in fourth place.

Source: Eurovision.tv for the Biographical Information and all respective media

Published in Editorials