Andrei, Have No Fear!

Andrei Kunets, 10, will represent Belarus at children’s Eurovision-2006 song contest
Talented kids from the city of Mozyr have been chosen to represent Belarus at the Eurovision song contest for three years in a row. In 2004, Yegor Volchek sang for Belarus, in 2005 Ksenia Sitnik won the contest, and in 2006 it is Mozyr again — this time with Andrei Kunets. Of the ten finalists of the national contest that chose the one to go to Bucharest, five were from the Gomel Region, so it seems the moment is right to speak about a signing phenomenon.

— We had not really had great expectations about Ksenia last year, admits the head of the culture department with the Mozyr District Administration, Felix Galyuk. — We all hoped, though. Two guys from Mozyr were in the finals — Andrei Kunets and Misha Lila. The city just loves them.

The reaction of the winner was the same: he had hopes, he believed, but something was telling him the victory was unattainable. But after his three minutes on stage few had doubts that the boy would go to Bucharest. The bouncy and fervent boy was the one to remember. His energy often seems too much for him, and teachers of school №7 say it is close to impossible for him to sit through a 45-minute lesson.

— I took him to music classes to help him let some steam off, says the mother of the gifted boy, Svetlana Kunets.

Andrei normally gets A’s and B’s, and English is the only subject that does not come easily to Andrei. He is just ten, and has been a student of Svetlana Statsenko, the mother of Eurovision-2005 winner Ksenia Sitnik, for several years now. Svetlana used to teach in the model song school YUMES with the Mozyr city culture club and now heads the National Vladimir Mulyavin Arts Center.

The song “New Day” that Andrei will perform in Romania has already become quite popular in Mozyr. The young singer wrote the lyrics and composed the music, which is one of the requirements of the song contest. The easy tune and simple but touching words are easy to remember.

Andrei’s performance was bright and fiery. The jury and viewers noted the artistic excellence of the young singer. This is owing to his experience: although he is just 10, he won the grand-prix of the contest “Golden Bee” in Belarus’ Klimovichi, “International Friendship” in Germany, the first prize in the biennial festival “Land under White Wings” in Mozyr. This festival is a sort of launch site for many prominent Belarusian singers. The Mozyr phenomenon is not some miracle, but a result of near work of local teachers and attention of the authorities.

It will be clear on December 2 whether Andrei Kunets will be able to win or get close to last year’s triumph of Ksenia Sitnik. Bucharest will host children’s European-2006 on the second day of winter.

Victoria Dubovik
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