The 54th edition of Festivali i Kenges will take place in Tirana from the 25th until the 27th of December, and this festival will once again bring us the Albanian entrant in the next year’s Eurovision Song Contest. A total of 30 acts are going to be competing for this title, where some of them have already tried at least once in the past. After taking part last year in a duet with Florent Abrashi, Sigi Bastri is trying as a soloist this year.
Sigi Bastri spoke to us about her song and her participation in Festivali i Kenges, and here is what she told us:
First of all, what was your first reaction when you found out your song made it to Festivali i Kenges?
The reaction was very different from others earlier. Since the first time that I heard the musical base, it seemed like a hymn to me, and its sound accompanied me for a long time. I felt delighted, that the composer Endrit Shani chose me to interpret this song.
You took part in The Voice of Albania. How was it taking part in such popular talent show, and how different is it from Festivali i Kenges in your opinion?
I took part at The Voice of Albania with a clear goal – “Albania should definitely know me”. I had no other way to show my talent and my soul, except to participate in this competition. While The Voice of Albania was for weeks my home of art by singing different Covers, it would be also a good trampoline for me to continue my steps as a singer, because from that day, I would not be only Sigi, a student, but also a professional singer. Unlike the previous experience, Festivali i Kenges doesn’t last several weeks, but it is home of great and affirmed artists, where everyone presents his/her creation. Now, I am Sigi Bastri, I am here not only because The Voice of Albania bare me, but experiences in festivals are growing my artistic experience and my image. I hope not to disappoint my Albania.
You were at Festivali i Kenges last year as well, together with Florent Abrashi. How was your experience, and how did you decide to go solo this year?
Yes, I was competing in the same Fastival last year and I am also in it this year. I was with Florent Abrashi and with a beautiful song composed by my Vice Mentor in The Voice of Abania Sokol Marsi. Prof. Sokoli and my Mentor well-known artist Elton Deda, have support me all the time and have always stayed close to me. They have supported my talent and for this reason, they believed twice on me. The first time, when The Voice of Albania was over, they created the song with which I was represented in the Top Fest and I was honored with the award ‘Best New Artist’, and the second time ‘Eclipse on the Ocean’ they created a duet with Florent (the winner of the Voice of Albania). Last year I was in duet, this year I am solo. Each experience is worth because it was at the right time and at the right place. This year, I am at the right time and at the right place to show that I am bigger not only physically and mentally but also professionally by singing a great (big) song.
Can you tell us more about the meaning of your song “Engjell i lire”?
“Engjell i lire” is my current love… Endrit Shani, a young and very talented composer was watching the news when he heard about the tragedy of Syrian migrants and then he saw a little boy called Aylan… He was lying at the seashore, and his photo shocked not only the journalist who took the photo but the whole world, and then Endrit Shani immediately sat at his piano and with that feeling composed the song “Engjell i lire” (Eng. Free Angel). That melody was the pain that he felt in those moments, and the song was completed with lyrics written by my mother, Silvi Bastri. The song is an anthem of peace and love to all those who have experienced such drama. It is the hymn of LOVE and PEACE. The song is about “a dead little angel”, and nothing more than love for each other can help the world these days.
How are the preparations for FIK going? Do you have some ideas about your stage performance, outfit, how is everything going to look like?
The preparations are going well. The festival has some innovations this year, one of them is that the people can hear the songs on Youtube, so they are familiarized with them, and the public now has their favorite songs. Rehearsals have started and I feel so good and so ready, because of the noise that the song is making (referred to the themes it touches).
If you win Festivali i Kenges, and represent Albania in Eurovision – would you sing your song in English or Albanian, and why?
I think that there are professional staff to choose the best option. However, English language is an international language and everyone understands it, so I want everyone to listen, feel and understand my song. Yes, I want all Europe to be One in that moment and understand the message!
Do you usually follow the Eurovision Song Contest, and have you got a favorite Eurovision song?
Not usually, but I always follow Eurovision since I was 8 years old. As a child I had a desire and curiosity in everything that Eurovision offered. I have learned a lot about musical cultures that each country represents. One of my favorite songs was Alyosha’s “Sweet People”, which I also sang at The Voice of Albania. My favorite Albanian singer of all the time in Eurivision is Rona Nishliu, and I want to have her respect and success if I have the chance to be part of Eurovision.
What are your thoughts on the past Albanian Eurovision participants?
Well, I am Sigi Bastri, I am Albanian, and so I evaluate each professional artistic efforts that my country has done to represent the songs in Eurovision with dignity. I believe in God and in the values of each one. For this reason, I think that, if I am lucky to be part of this important competition as Eurovision, undoubtedly would do, MY BEST! Rona Nishliu is my guide.
Are you engaged in any other projects currently, apart from Festivali i Kenges?
Certainly, I have a lot of dreams when it comes to art. But I take slow and safe steps because I am only 20 years old. In fact, there are two projects that require work hard. The first one is an invitation by the composer Endrit Shani, who wrote a new song for me. Also, Endrit Shani is now working on soundtracks of a dramatic movie “Hijet” (Eng. Shadow), where again I was invited by him to be part in some musical passages with my voice. And don’t forget that I am also in high school.
Finally, do you have a message for all the Eurovision fans and readers of ESCBubble, who will be watching Festivali i Kenges this year?
I have a message: “He who makes art is called an artist, those who pursue art are called art lovers”. So, without your help and your love we would not be called Artist, and even we would not exist. Can’t wait to see you! I thank and love you all.
ESCBubble would like to thank Sigi Bastri for her time for doing this interview, and wish her the best of luck in Festivali i Kenges! And as all songs have been published, listen to Sigi Bastri’s “Engjell i lire” right here: