Ethno-Jazz Band Iriao from Georgia was the first act rehearsing on the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest stage in Lisbon's Altice Arena today. Their delicate modern ethno jazz piece 'For You' seemed like the perfect romantic dawn to start the fourth day of rehearsals.
Iriao is an ethno-fusion band founded in Tbilisi, Georgia in 2013. The group's name is derived from the phrase "Iriao-uruao", which comes from the traditional Georgian singing style Krimanchuli. The band’s repertoire is based on Georgian polyphonic music and harmony, saturated with jazz and modern music elements.
Iriao’s debut performance took place in 2013 in Tbilisi and the group has since gained international recognition, being invited to a number of important musical festivals around the globe.
READ MORE: Ethno-Jazz Band Iriao's profile
To have Georgia on stage first this morning seemed appropriate, as the performance and light conditions reminded of an early morning sunrise, starting with fog and colours that evolved from cold to warm tones. Towards its climax, the group was backed by a pyro waterfall.
The experienced singers that make up the group appeared to have no problem delivering on a steady vocal performance every time they rehearsed their song.
"A lifetime experience"
Eurovision.tv met with the band after their first rehearsal: "It was very emotional for us to stand on stage for the first time, we had a very good experience, a lifetime experience for us."
What is the reason behind bringing their unique sound to the Eurovision Song Contest? "After some discussion about what song to perform in Eurovision, we came up with For You, as we think that sharing the Georgian poliphony, that has been recognised by UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage of mankind, would be of great value."
For You is written by Irina Sanikidze, and composed by David Malazonia and Mikheil Mdinaradze. Ethno-Jazz Band Iriao comprises lead vocalists Mikheil Javakhishvili, George Abashidze and Bidzina Murgulia, bass player Shalva Gelekva and percussionist Levan Abshilava. On stage they're all wearing black suits with contrasting white shirts.
Georgia will take part in the second Semi-Final on the 10th of May.