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Artists for Festivali i Kenges 58

The Albanian national final is back for its 58th edition, and the 20 artists competing have been announced by broadcaster RTSH. With the first semi final less than a month away, let’s take a look at the list, featuring some familiar names.

  1. Albërie Hadërgjonaj
  2. Aldo Bardhi
  3. Arilena Ara
  4. Bojken Lako
  5. Devis Xherahu
  6. Eli Fara & Stresi
  7. Elvana Gjata
  8. Era Rusi
  9. Eugent Lito (Gena)
  10. Genc Tukiqi
  11. Kanita Suma
  12. Kamela Islamaj
  13. Kastro Zizo
  14. Olta Boka
  15. Renis Gjoka
  16. Robert Berisha
  17. Sara Bajraktari
  18. Tiri Gjoci
  19. Valon Shehu
  20. Wendi Mancaku

Here are some facts on 5 of the artists. The other detailed profiles will follow in the next few days. Despite the date of the song release passing this week, we’re still waiting on that front, so let’s look at some of the artists’ other songs in the meantime…

Olta Boka competed in Eurovision 2008 with Zemrën E Lamë Peng, advancing to the Grand Final that year and reached 17th place with 55 points. In 2011, she won the Top Albania Radio Award, and in 2013 played the role of Esmeralda in the Albanian version of Notre Dame de Paris musical. Last year, she performed her award winning single Te me ke mua, initially released in 2014.

Albereri Hadergjonaj became famous in 1999 with her hit ‘Lozonjarja‘ (listen to it, it’s good!) at a young age, before representing Albania in the World Folk Festival in 2004, coming third place. She also reached the final of Kënga Magjike in 2007, 2011 and 2015.

Aldo Bardhi rose to fame when he competed in The X Factor Albania 2013, finishing in second place. He also competed in Kënga Magjike this year with the song ‘Gabim‘. If this is anything to go by, we’ll be in for a treat this December, that’s for sure.

Arilena Ara was the winner of X Factor Albania 2013, and released Aeroplan in 2014 which became an instant hit, gaining a million views in its first day of release. Her song Nentori, released in 2016, was well received as far as Romania and Russia, and won awards in Albania’s Kënga Magjike song festival. She’s a major star in Albania, and a serious contender in this year’s race.

Bojken Lako will be a familiar name to Albanian readers and Festivali i Kenges superfans- he is a rock singer and songwriter who competed in Festivali i Kenges a whopping eight times (1999, 2001, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2017, 2018) and advanced to the final each time, with his best solo result being for his song “Love Love Love” in 2009. Furthermore, he produced the show in 2010, so has a lot of insider knowledge as to how it works. In 2013, he created the Bojken Lako Band, which competed in Festivali i Kenges 2014 with ‘Të ndjëj‘, coming second place. He had judged the competition the year before. In 2017, he re-entered the festival as a solo artist, but didn’t break the top 3 so was not ranked. He also tried to represent Albania last year, but lost out to Jonida Maliqi, coming 9th in the final with ‘Jeto Jeten.’ Will this be his year at last?

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