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Albina and the Family Kelmendi in the Eurovision Studio 2023

A family affair from Albania: For the love of Albina & Familja Kelmendi

06 May 2023 at 14:31 CEST
Albina and the Family Kelmendi in the Eurovision Studio 2023 Corinne Cumming / EBU
Hold your nearest and dearest close - two generations from Albania are about to hit the Eurovision 2023 stage with their song ‘Duje,’ a song about family love. Made up of Albanian pop star Albina Kelmendi, her parents and siblings, music is running through this group’s genes.
Albina & Familja Kelmendi rehearsing Duje for Albania at the Second Rehearsal of the Second Semi-Final at Liverpool Arena Sarah Louise Bennett / EBU

Albina & Familja Kelmendi took their song Duje to Albania’s Festivali i Këngës, where they battled against 25 other artists across 4 nights, gradually knocking out the competition (vocally). While the overall festival winner was crowned through a jury decision, the public were the ones who got to decide who represents Albania at Eurovision. And they voted for Albina & Familja Kelmendi.

Who needs backing singers and dancers, when your whole family is on stage? The Kelmendis gave us a taste of their vocal prowess at their first rehearsal in Liverpool on Tuesday 2 May. Their powerful song was given even more force with dramatic switches between hues of lighting. And this is one tight-knit bunch - not a single hint of disharmony, musically or otherwise.

Albina & Familja Kelmendi rehearsing Duje for Albania at the Second Rehearsal of the Second Semi-Final at Liverpool Arena Sarah Louise Bennett / EBU

The official Eurovision 2023 Live Blog caught the action at the first rehearsal. Here’s what they had to say: "There's no gentle build up in this song - Albina gives it ALL the vocals from the opening note. Duje is such a heartfelt and dramatic song of love and family togetherness, with the family providing beautiful harmonies and some great dance moves."

Albina is pretty set on her pop star career, after being a finalist on The Voice of Albania. But we suggested some alternatives, just in case she ever fancies a change. If Albina stepped out as a drag queen, she says she’d choose the name Beast. And after all that battling against Albanian hopefuls at the Festivali i Këngës, we wondered whether she could make it as a professional wrestler. If that’s the route she goes down, she reckons her entrance music would be Eye Of The Tiger. But for now, we think it’s best she sticks to singing.

So long, farewell, Von Trapps, there’s a new singing family in Europe.

Some of the family’s favourite songs are Albina’s own, and we are here for that self-love. When they’re not moving to their own tunes, Albina & Familja Kelmendi are fans of big voices like Christina Aguilera, Dua Lipa and Rita Ora - we bet they’ll be up and dancing to Rita’s performance in the semi-final.

Superstar Albina told the Official Eurovision Song Contest Podcast what it’s like to perform alongside her family: “It’s such a special feeling. I was on the stage many times before alone and it’s a wonderful feeling, but being with my family is a whole next level thing, so it’s just so powerful and so special.”

There’s more from Albina & Familja Kelmendi on Episode 6 of the Official Eurovision Song Contest Podcast.

You can learn more about Albina & Familja Kelmendi from Albania right here.

The Eurovision Song Contest will take place in Malmö, Sweden on Tuesday 7 May (First Semi-Final), Thursday 9 May (Second Semi-Final) and Saturday 11 May (Grand Final) 2024.

Listen to all 37 songs from Liverpool 2023 via your favourite streaming services, and watch the official music videos on our YouTube channel:

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