The state of Iowa has a law that requires its caucus to be held first during the election season. The Republican and Democratic parties traditionally penalize states that try to move their primaries or caucuses ahead of the Hawkeye State.
Now I’m not saying that Albania and the European Broadcasting Union should adopt similar laws and sanctions, but I do feel like all is right in the world when Albania is first out of the gate when the Eurovision Song Contest season begins.
So here is our first Eurovision 2016 entry. Eneda Tarifa won the 54th Festivali i Këngës with “Përrallë.”
Jen has imposed a moratorium on the phrase “so-and-so is no stranger to” on our website, so I will merely point out that Eneda has participated in two previous Festivalis (2002, where she finished 13th, and 2007, where she finished 10th). She also won the Albanian music competition show Top Fest in 2010.
“Përrallë” was written by Olsa Toqi, who is also not unfamiliar with Festivali participation: her song “S’muj” was performed by Marsela Çibukaj in last year’s contest and finished 5th.
Eneda has control and poise, which bodes well for her performance in Stockholm. Her smoky lower register – a fan of the Marlboros mayhap? – draws in the listener during the first verse, but she can also wail when needed. This isn’t an easy song to sing and she makes it look easy. Shpëtim Saraçi’s arrangement of “Përrallë” offers a fine example of what would have happened if Mr. Mister wrote a Bond theme. All in all, not a bad way to kick of the Eurovision season.
I don’t expect Albania to make too many changes before May, although they are rumored to be switching to English. If they do, they may want to avoid a literal translation: “Përrallë” translates to English as “Fairytale.” Not only does it seem a poor fit with the mood of the song, I don’t think they will want to invite any direct comparisons to a previous winner.