Things are ramping up in Tirana, Albania, as preparations for Festivali i Këngës 58 are under way. For many Eurovision fans, the music festival marks the start to National Final season. The festival begins with the two semi finals on Thursday 19th and Friday 20th December, with the final taking place on Sunday 22nd December where the winner will be confirmed as the first Eurovision 2020 song.
We caught up with performer Kastro Zizo, who will be participating in this years contest with song “Asaj” to talk all things Festivali i Këngës 58 and to find out more about him. Listen to his competing song and check out what Kastro had to say below.
David: Welcome to Festivali i Këngës! I believe this is your first participation? Why have you chosen to enter this prestigious music festival?
Kastro: Yes it is my first time as a contestant. I’ve been like a special guest in 2001 because I had won a platinum album in the Balkans with the band I was in called 2Farm. I wanted to participate 2 years ago but I wasn’t accepted as my song was said to be political influenced even though it was about solitude, and the role of the individual fading in Albanian society. I decided to participate this year because it was the only competition I haven’t been part of through all my career of 23 years.
D: Your song ‘Asaj’ ( ‘Hers’ ) is a very emotional song dedicated to your mother. Could you tell us a little more about the song and what it means to you to be performing this to audiences across Albania and Europe?
K: The song ‘Asaj‘ is a dedication to my deceased mother, so it is very personal but there are a lot of people in the world who have lost their mothers and I think they will find their self in this song. It is a realist subject and the lyrics flow. Performing for audiences across Albania of course means a lot because it is a challenge mentality wise, the differences in societies define the kind of music that is liked. I want to present a piece that represents my country in my original way.
D: With the show coming up so soon, I hope that your rehearsals have been going well. Can you give us any teaser as to what we can expect for your stage performance?
K: In the performance I will come as a man who travels in time, in this case coming from the past to reveal some secrets that history hasn’t mentioned.
D: The winner obviously goes on to represent Albania at the next Eurovision Song Contest. What would it mean to represent your nation at the largest Musical competition in the world?
K: It means a lot because I will not only represent Albanian territory but all Albanian people all over the world and it is a huge responsibility. I can only say I have enough experience to handle this and to bring to Europe and to the world a good yet weird flavor.
D: You appeared in Kënga Magjike 2019 earlier this month with the song ‘Pema e jetes’. Your performance was incredible and is definitely something that would be awesome on the Eurovision stage. How did you find this experience? And what made you choose to submit this song to Kënga Magjike over Festivali i Këngës?
K: The song ‘Pema e jetes‘ ( ‘Tree of Life’ ) is another song in which I dedicated some lyrics and notes to our Mother Earth that we have abused over the years. The initial plan was to present this song in Festivali i Këngës but it was my last minute hesitation and fear it wasn’t going to be understood by a large audience. It was meant to be at Kenga Magjike.
D: In addition to music you have also been a TV presenter, actor and voiceover artist. You’ve had a very successful career so far! So what is next for you?
K: I’m the author of 6 albums, produced more than 200 song projects for other artists, have written and directed more than 20 short movies and have been the host and author of various TV formats. I also have been part of a long movie who represented Albania in the Oscars ( ‘Pharmakon‘ ). Next step hopefully will be to pervade in to Europe.
D: Many Eurovision fans will be tuning in to watch the contest this week. Do you watch the Eurovision Song Contest? And if so do you have any favourite songs, either Albanian or not?
K: I prefer to be discrete and not mention names or forget other artists but yes, I am looking forward to Eurovision shows. Thank you.
D: Thank you so much for your time and answering the questions above.
Kastro Zizo will be performing in Semi Final 2 on the evening of December 20th 2019. Make sure to tune in to RTSH to watch to see if he will advance to the final.
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