Photo credit: RTSH
In December 2022, Albina Kelmendi and her family band won the televote portion of Festivali i Kenges in order to select a representative for Eurovision 2023 with their song ‘Duje’. With a revamp dropping this morning, now is the perfect time to get to know Albina and her family!
Who is Albina Kelmendi?
Albina Kelmendi is a 25-year-old singer who was born in Peja, Kosovo. Her presence in Eurovision will make her the third Kosovo-born singer to represent Albania at Eurovision . The first was Rona Nishliu (whose song ‘Suus’ placed 5th in 2012 and remains Albania’s best result at Eurovision so far) and the second was Lindita Halimi in 2017, with the song ‘World’.
As a youngster, she studied the clarinet and piano at the Halit Kasapolli music school in Peja. She also started performing with her family under the ‘Family Band’ moniker that she took to FiK and who will also perform alongside her at Eurovision.
Albina first rose to prominence in 2014, when she auditioned for the fourth series of The Voice of Albania, where she enjoyed great success. Receiving chair turns from all four coaches during her blind audition, she chose Albanian singer Elsa Lila as her mentor. She wowed the judges with her covers each week, ultimately reaching the final and placing as a runner-up in the contest.
In 2015, Albina would audition for the Albanian music show Top Fest with her song ‘Nuk ka ma mire’. Seven years later, in June 2022, Albina released her debut album ‘Nana loke’.
Albina and five members of her family took part in the 61st edition of Albanian song contest, Festivali i Kenges, in December 2022. This was the first year where the winner of the contest would not be the country’s Eurovision representative; instead, the Albanian public would vote for the act they wanted to represent them via SMS. Therefore, although Albina’s former mentor Elsa Lila won FiK with her song ‘Evita’, Albina won the televote and the opportunity to represent Albania in Liverpool this year.
‘Duje’ is a song that deals with the breakdown of, not just a romantic relationship, but a family too, as evidenced by the lyrics: ‘They are breaking up/They forget they have a home/A table with kids.’ This can be seen in the song’s music video, where Albina walks through an abandoned house mourning the breakdown of her family and looks back on fond memories of happier times.
Albania are know for revamping their entries but the changes appear to be more subtle than in previous years, with ‘Duje’ still having the big orchestral instrumentation it had at FiK. The song is also entirely in Albanian, making this the third consecutive Albanian entry to use the language in their song.
Albina and her family will perform in the second semi-final of Eurovision 2023 on 11th March. The band will perform in the second half of the show and we certainly wish them the best of luck in May!
You can follow Albina on her Instagram here!