January 22, 2020

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Patrick Strouk

Patrick Strouk

After five (5) long weeks of expectation in France, the suspense finally came to an end with Twin Twin, consisting of twin brothers Lorent Idir and François Djemel and their friend Patrick Biyk, selected to carry the flag in Copenhagen, Denmark on the 10th May. They will be performing the catchy tune Moustache written by Pierre Beyres, Kim N'Guyen, Lorent Idir and François Ardouvin.

Twin Twin managed to succeed over the other contenders; Destan and Joanna, who were competing with the songs Sans Toi and Ma Liberté, the latter written by Philip Vella, Sean Vella, Gerard James Borg and Yann Guillon. The last French victory was thirty-seven (37) years ago with Marie Myriam and France expects a good result with this very catchy tune based on a true story of a guy who has everything in his life but still expects to have a Moustache. TwinTwin has already let us know that they intend to bring lot of fun on stage in Copenhagen, Denmark. France finished twenty-third (23rd) last year in Malmö and no doubt that TwinTwin will rock the stage and place France much higher on the scoreboard. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all the latest news.

Source: France 3


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


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!


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

Thursday, 06 February 2014 14:50

France: Interview with TwinTwin

Earlier this year, escflashmalta.com had the pleasure of speaking to Joanna Lagrave, one (1) of the three (3) artists hoping to represent France at the Eurovision Song Contest, and today, we are proud to present another act who is competing to try and become the first winner of the western nation since Marie Myriam back in 1977. The act, TwinTwin has received a lot of positive feedback prior to the presentation of their entry Moustache yet the follow-up has been rather mixed. Patrick Strouk speaks to the group about their career, their Eurovision Song Contest plans and what lies ahead in the future.

TwinTwin, would you introduce yourself to the readers of escflashmalta.com and explain how you came about in the music industry?

The band consists of Lorent Idir (lead singer and composer), François Djemel (bass) and Patrick Biyik (beatbox and guitar) . We have been composing our songs together for three years now and we have started  TwinTwin story by playing in squats, then on bigger scenes, like the Ricard SA live tour (VV Brown, BB Brunes), festivals , (Francofolies, Printemps de Bourges, Solidays, Rock en Seine…) and we have support artists for many artists (Philippe Katerine, Catherine Ringer, Martin Solveig, Stromae, Soprano, Shaka Ponk and Nina Hagen amongst others). We are also directing our own clips and I have to say that we enjoy it very much.

Who influences your music the most, and what kind of music do you listen to the most?

Our musical influences are very broad and rich. We love Music overall so we  can list French singers like Georges Brassens or Bobby Lapointe, rap (NTM, Lunatic), rock, metal , Deftones, Pantera, Noir Désir.  Electro music also influences us and we can name Major Lazer or Daft Punk. In fact, music is so interesting and wide that we could spend hours  speaking about it.  Oh yes, I forgot, we get influences from Folk music ians also (Neil Young, Bob Dylan), as you see that’s an unending subject (laughter)


How did you decide to partake in the national selection for the Eurovision Song Contest and was Moustache especially written for this purpose?

We first started talking with our Team then with our record company which sent our song Moustache to France 3. The song and participation were validated and hmm…here we are !!! We are delighted with this project and really expect to bring our up-to-date and dynamic touch to the very Top.

What are your feelings about Eurovision? Do you watch it every year?

We watched the show last year and Eurovision is really a big extravaganza  and we want to be part of it this year . It’s a fun event  where you can get another image of Europe. Countries are uniting to offer together a massive show. This is a totally unique moment.


Several artists have stated that participating in the Eurovision Song Contest is not a smart move due to the aftermath of a possible negative result. Don’t you fear that your participation might affect the positive image that you currently occupy in the national media?

We have always enjoyed to face new challenges and  actually we are absolutely not afraid as in France,  is not as popular as it is in some neighbouring countries. Younger people are rather watching reality shows like Nouvelle Star or The Voice. We think that promotion mainly matters but also the background is essential.

We have more than 250 concerts in two years behind us and we did the first part of many famous artists. Whatever people may think and say, they just have to look at our  career but we are focused on the future! We played in festivals, in established concert halls, in Colombia, Canada, Reunion Island. We toured in jails and even in retirement houses.

The song in itself might have a deeper lyrical understanding; hence, we would like to know what that message actually wants to define. Would you tell us?

Lorent Idir has written the lyrics . It is based on a true story . A friend of us told us once the story of a guy he knew. He was a very handsome guy, wealthy, with a nice apartment and many friends. While having a drink, he once made this surprising confidence. Well, I enjoy my life very much, I have everything which I need but there’s something  I  really miss ; … a moustache. I am dreaming to have a moustache.

At first it made us laugh to death. However, when we thought back about this anecdote, we realized it could be an interesting song theme which summarized the current era. People always dream to get  what they are not able to get. Even if you have everything which you need, you still want to get more. In fact, if you listen to the tracks of our album « Vive la vie »,  behind cheerful tunes, all the texts tell stories about our daily life and the world in which we are living.


In France, you are famous as a scene band, do you think that it might be an advantage with a lot of contrived performances with very little space for improvisation especially at such an international stage?

TwinTwin is a whole package, it is the visual, the sound, the live and the style. Live music is something you intensely feel with your audience. Sometimes you are connected, sometimes you are not it depends. TV is something more organized, you cannot fail, therefore there will be no improvisation. We are preparing a tailor-made show ! Dance, Fun, Energy this is our cocktail for Eurovision!

One of the most important aspects at the Eurovision Song Contest is the look, and therefore, this leads to the main question; how did you choose yours and do you think that this particular look will help you garner a positive stance with the juries and the viewers?

Only a very strong project and and a good performance can make the difference in Eurovision. We are a band with a strong image, our music aims at international audience mixing electro codes, hip hop and rap and lyrics in French. Foreigners who don’t understand French, immediately adhere to the image and the energy, this is our strenght in a music contest mixing so many countries and cultures.  Our taste for entertainment and brightful show is also an asset to touch a wider audience. We have had many positive feedbacks from various countries like U.K , Finland, Sweden, Russia or Spain. The secret is to stick into people’s mind with something strong and innovative

Do you already have a precise idea of the way you wish to present your entry in Copenhagen, Denmark should you be selected to represent France?

Oh Yeah! We already have so many ideas, we are working hard on it ! So send us to Copenhagen!


Why should people vote for TwinTwin to represent France at the Eurovision Song Contest and what is the message you wish to send to our readers at escflashmalta.com to vote for you?

We have so many support for foreign countries. They greet the creativity and the modernity of our project. This is great ! We have toured in several countries like Colombia and Canada and have received a warm welcome everywhere. We believe in us !!  We wan’t to travel, visit new countries and our goal for 2014 is to visit Denmark !! So please send us there and we can be a big surprise.

Do you think that the Eurovision Song Contest would prove to be a career springboard for TwinTwin in the hope of reaching fame as well as a wider audience?

We really feel a strong infatuation for our song on Twitter and Facebook. In addition and for the first time in many years, France 3  is putting a lot of efforts in order to generate interest. This is really important. We do not see Eurovision as a springboard but we would be very proud to represent France and to prove that our country can be amongst the top ones with a powerful artistic proposal.

Source: TwinTwin (Twitter) 


In just one (1) week, the semi-final of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest will be taking place at the Malta Fairs and Conventions Centre under the hospice of the Public Broadcasting Services. Earlier this afternoon, it was officially confirmed that former representatives; Gianluca and Ira Losco as well as veteran host, Moira Delia will be undertaking the roles of hosts of this years’ prestigious competition being aired on Television Malta.

Prior to their appearance in the competition, they will be taking to the WE Studios later on this evening for one last promotional effort at Xarabank, hosted by Peppi Azzopardi. All of the artists competing in the semi-final in a weeks' time will be present for a series of chats, fact-finding missions and more entertainment which is very much reminiscent of a weekend show rather than a late night chat show. One of the artists will eventually follow in the footsteps of Gianluca and his entry Tomorrow co-written by Boris Cezek and Dean Muscat, which finished in eighth place, the best result for Malta at the international competition since 2005. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all the latest news.

Source: WE Media


Thursday, 30 January 2014 23:15

France: Aline Lahoud Auditions for The Voice

Aline Lahoud, the female vocalist who was supposed to represent Lebanon at the 2005 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest with the track Quand Tout S'Enfuit prior to the surprise withdrawal is hoping to restart her career in France, by virtue of auditioning for La Plus Belle Voix (The Voice). Aline is the daughter of famous vocalist, Salwa Al Katrib and has now moved onto the next round of the competition following a brilliant audition in front of the four professional judges.

She will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of Nuno Resende and Lise Darly, representatives of Belgium and Monaco in 2005 who also got through to the final stages of the competition last year and the year before that. Nuno was somewhat more successful though, having reached the final show, and finished in third place. His entry Le Grand Soir was perfect at the Eurovision Song Contest but did not succeed in getting a place into the finals back then. Surprising enough, Aline did not choose fellow Lebanese singer Mika as her coach, selecting Florent Pagny, something which also Lise and Nuno had done. Whilst wishing Aline Lahoud the very best of luck, we ask you to stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all the latest news.

Source: La Plus Belle Voix


Earlier today, the three (3) entries bidding to represent France at the 2014 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest were unveiled on Channel Europe 1, one of the most famous radio stations in the country. Eventually, they were also published on the official website of France 3 in order for a broader view from both a local and a foreign perspective, the latter bearing more significance due to the competition that lies ahead for the BIG FIVE country in just a couple of months.

Whilst it is not easy to get a clear picture of the songs based on these very short extracts, one could easily see them to between quite different from each other. The choice is between three (3) songs of considerable difference as already have been stated; Moustache is an uptempo electro pop song sung by trio Twin Twin and it sounds like a mixture of Dur Dur d'être bébé and Lipstick; Ma Liberté is a strong power ballad written by the successful Philip Vella and Gerard James Borg with vocals provided by Star Academy finalist Joanna; Sans Toi is a typical ballad sung in English and French, adding to the cheese due to the fact that it is performed by a boy-band.

The outcome of the selection process will be announced on the 2nd March during the programmes Les Chansons d’Abord hosted by Natasha St-Pier, 2001 representative of France, who successfully finished in fourth place back in Copenhagen, Denmark. The winning song will have the honour to carry the French flag on the 10th May 2014, with the hope of bringing a long awaited 6th victory to France, 37 years after the victory of Marie Myriam with L’Oiseau et l’Enfant. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news.

Source: France 3

Thursday, 09 January 2014 05:44

France: Song Titles Made Public by Broadcaster

Amandine Bourgeois, and her entry L’Enfer et Moi was not technically an internal selection noting that there were several stages prior to the eventual choice but nevertheless, Frédéric Valencak, the current Head of Delegation is set to revamp the format even further by including the public in a nationwide vote. Late in 2013, France 3 went public with three (3) names as shortlisted by a fourteen (14) member jury panel, and the initial comments were surprisingly positive, especially with several upcoming artists putting their name forward to represent France according to various sources.

Destan, protégées of Universal Music France will be performing the song Sans Toi; Twin Twin, represented by Warner Music France will be singing the track Moustache and Joanna Lagrave from Star Academy will belt out Ma Libertè. The fact that France is actually making use of their own labels is somewhat comforting, especially when not just one label is involved. This is said due to the fact that Warner Music France was responsible for the past three entries from France, including L’Enfer et Moi (2013), Echo (You and I) (2012) and Sognu (2011), respectively.

The tracks of the national selection will not be made public prior to the selection show, which will officially kick-off on the 26th January on the programme Les Chansons D’Abord hosted by the magnificent Natasha St-Pier who proudly represented France in the 2001 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest with the song Je n’ai que mon ame which finished in fourth place, and remains to be a fan-favourite to this day. Voting will commence on the programme and will run for just over a month with the results revealed on the same programme on the 2nd March 2014. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news.

Source: France 3


Thursday, 28 November 2013 00:15

France: Shortlist of Three Artists Made Public

France 3, the national television broadcaster responsible for the nations' participation in the Eurovision Song Contest had initially made an announcement stating that three (3) artists will be put forward for an upcoming selection procedure. The first detailed have officially emerged as a committee made up of fourteen (14) members, including former Head of Delegation, Bruno Berberes and current Head of Delegation, Fred Valencak had the opportunity to shortlist the acts which they would like to see represent France at the upcoming edition of the Eurovision Song Contest set for the 10th May in Copenhagen, Denmark.

It is important to point out that although the fourteen (14) panel jury was comprised of people from the music industry, they sought to incorporate the best possible new talent that the country has to offer rather than submitting names of well known artists such as Shy'M. It was in 2009, when France last managed a top ten result, that being at the hands of Patricia Kaas and her song Et S'il Faillait le Faire. The three (3) acts shortlisted for the public selection are as follows;

Destan (Dean Killian, Quentin), a boyband whose music is best described as pop, with a lot of enthusiasm and a distinctive fresh sound. They hope to followin the path of One Direction.

Joanna, discovered through the eighth edition of Star Academy back in 2008, where she was the first runner-up. She had the opportunity to tour all over Europe with the musical 'Il était une fois Joe Dassin' with the genres being a fusion of jazz, soul and rock. She expects to go to places should she get the opportunity to represent France.

Twin Twin, a group made up of three (3) members, the first two (2) being twin brothers, Loren Idir and François Djemel whilst the third one actually being a beatboxer known as Patrick Byick. Their music is described as a mixture of pop and rap.

On the 26th January 2014, the public broadcaster of France will present the songs that will be competing for the right to represent the nation. All of this will happen on the programme 'Les Chansons d'Abord' hosted by 2001 representative Natasha St-Pier who will also be present at the international event having joined the team as a commentator. The audience will have the opportunity to listen to three (3) entries as they will be available on rotation. The votation is set to end on the 23rd February when the results of a public and professional vote will be made public. Stay tuned ot escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news.

Source: France 3


In 2007, Les Fatals Picards won the right to represent France at the Eurovision Song Contest with the track L’amour à la française in a national final which included a total of ten (10) acts as presented by the five main television broadcasters. The mere mention of a national final in France might mean nothing to several fans of the country within the internationally renowned music event due to years of internal selections. For the first time in seven (7) years, France 3 has just announced a national final which will see three (3) songs battling it out in order to represent the direct finalist.

France 3 is already accepting submissions for next years’ edition of the Eurovision Song Contest with a panel of professional experts set to shortlist the best three entries on the 26th November 2013. What is interesting though is that one of the individuals on this professional will be a viewer of France 3 or listener of France Bleu, the national radio broadcaster in France. Three (3) questions in relation to the Eurovision Song Contest will be put forward for the public to answer with one lucky individual drawn to join the panel of professional judges.

What follows next is somewhat traditionally used in Ireland, as the three (3) chosen entries will be presented to the general public on the show Les Chansons d’Abord hosted by former Eurovision Song Contest representative, Natasha St-Pier. The public will then have a 100% say in the final choice of both the artist and the entry after each of the three (3) performed live on national television. The date when this will happen is yet to be revealed. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news as soon as it becomes available.

Source: France 3


Gianluca, the artist who will be representing Malta in this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest with the track Tomorrow co-written by Boris Cezek and Dean Muscat spoke to the media in a press conference following his second technical rehearsal speaking about various topics in relation to his career as an artist and a professional doctor. Prior to leaving for the international showcase, Gianluca was present for a recording of the popular television programme; Xarabank hosted by Peppi Azzopardi and produced by Where's Everybody. It was revealed that Gianluca had the full support of world renowned tenor, Joseph Calleja who also took the opportunity to invite him for a performance during his annual summer concert held on The Granaries in Floriana.

Patrick Strouk, one of the members of the editorial team who is present at this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest asked Gianluca about such an opportunity especially considering that Joseph Calleja continues to grow in popularity across the world. Gianluca was gobsmacked by the invite and stated that he could not believe his ears when the idea was put forward by Joseph Calleja himself. Nevertheless, he gladly accepted and is very much looking forward to the outcome. This summer concert is well attended by the Maltese noting that they turn up to hear the stunning vocal prowess of Calleja who has a tendency to invite a number of foreign guests who in the past included; Ronan Keating, Lucio Dalla, Dionne Warwick and Michael Bolton amongst others. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news.

Source: escflashmalta.com


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