A heartwarming performance for Albania!13 May 2008 at 18:37 CEST
Being only 16 years old, Olta Boka is one of the youngest singers taking part in the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest. Still, she convinced everyone with a truly heartwarming and professional performance today. Even if one could see that Olta was very nervous in the beginning of the rehearsal, she coped with that very well and showed a vocally impressive presentation of her ballad Zemrën E Lamë Peng. The stage is rather dark during the performance, with a spot on Olta, who is reaching out for the camera with her hand towards the camera towards the end of the song. Olta was accompanied on stage by two guitar players and a drum kit player. Visually, the theme of her song, the title of which means "We gambled our hearts" in English, was well represented in the stage act: the background scenery was dominated by big pink and yellow hearts, while the dresses that Olta Boka and her backing musicians will wear in the Second Semi-Final of the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest feature motives reminding of suits in card games. Olta will wear a black dress reminding of a school uniform, while the other musicians will wear similar dresses in white, looking like the negative pattern of Olta's dress.
Albania was one of the first countries to pick their entry for the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest. The national selection was carried out in the annual national song festival (called Festivali i Këngës), which has been taking place every year since 1962. However, only since 2004, the winner of that festival gets to take part in the Eurovision Song Contest. For Olta Boka, it was an impressive achievement to win the festival, taking into account that it was her first performance on a big show stage and that she had to run against many national stars. After her victory, Olta's songwriting team decided to keep the lyrics of their song entirely in Albanian language for the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest, as they found it hard to translate the metaphoric parts into English without losing the key message.
In the Albanian press conference, Olta Boka apologized for being nervous on stage during her rehearsal. She explained that it was her first time to perform in front of an international public, and that she hoped to improve her stage act during the second rehearsal. When the songwriters were asked why they took part in the Eurovision Song Contest with a melancholic ballad for the second year in a row, they replied that the combination of love and sadness in music was in fact not only part of the Albanian national psyche, but rather a normal element of Mediterranean culture.