Major intrigue of Slavianski Bazaar successfully solved

Macedonian Boban Mojsovski, with 199 points, has won the Vitebsk-2012 International Pop Song Contest: the Grand Prix laureate has been awarded the ‘Lyre’ statuette, a diploma and $15,000. First place is occupied by Samantha Tina, from Latvia, while Ukrainian Galina Konakh is second, followed by Federica Marinari (Italy) and Slavina Kalkandzhieva (Bulgaria) — who shared third place. Their talents have brought them ‘Lyre’ statuettes, diplomas and $9,000, $6,000 and $3,000 respectively.
Sung as it is
Of course, there was no real intrigue, since the jury, headed by Russian composer Maxim Dunaevsky, publicly announced their marks after each performance. On the second contest day, the total points for each entrant were announced, allowing the judges to deliberate between those with equal scores. Smiling Boban, radiating happiness, has long declared his love for our country and the festival. Naturally, he was delighted with the judges’ decision.

After congratulating Mojsovski, I asked about his musical tastes. He explained, “I’m most keen on rock and pop rock, as well as classical: Bon Jovi, Aerosmith and Whitesnake. I enjoy Robbie Williams, Mariah Carey and Adam Lambert among contemporary singers but tend to prefer those with strong, beautiful voices. I spent three years studying academic vocal.”
The Macedonian’s victory was clearly just, although the contest as a whole produced an ambiguous impression. The jury spoke much about all the participants being equally talented, saying that it would be very difficult to determine the best. However, on the first contest day, the jury had already shown a clear demarcation between those in favour and those not. Belarusian Yevgeny Slavich seemed an initial favourite but failed to perform well on the second contest day, resulting in him sharing fifth place with Ruslan from Armenia.

Piotr Yelfimov, on the selection committee which chose the Belarusian contender, tells us, “It seemed that he lacked sufficient preparation, as his singing was a little ‘damp’.”

Endless talk of love
Samantha Tina from Riga is a rather famous performer in Latvia, gorgeously charming in her cool Baltic beauty. However, she lacks ambition, saying, “My rivals were strong. Of course, I wanted to win but I saw my major task as performing worthily. I think that I managed to show my emotions in my songs and that the audience enjoyed them.” One of her songs told of a poor Latvian young girl being forced to marry an elderly man, unloved and unwanted.

A’Studio band’s former vocalist and saxophonist Batyrkhan Shukenov, who has been singing solo for several years now, performed at the fest, in addition to being a jury member of the children’s contest. The band is most well-known for its track Unloved.

“Batyr, what remains most prominent in your memory from the festival, besides the cultural programme?” I asked. He responded, “The breakfasts, dinners and suppers! Everything was cooked so tastily. I didn’t even eat the special delicacies — just salads, fried eggs, soup, bread and butter. However, the fish was delicious — as if it had been caught especially for me. You have a clean city and clean food.”

The set of linen bedding presented to Samantha Fox in Vitebsk is sure to remind her of the forum, while Italian singer Alessandro Safina bought a decorated clay plate at the trade fair. Chris Norman strolled imposingly backstage at the summer amphitheatre, as befits the rock’n’roll legend. I couldn’t pass the lead singer of Smokie without asking how he thinks Belarus and Russia differ — as he frequently tours Russia and has visited Belarus often. ‘You have the Slavianski Bazaar!’ was the answer, pronounced in his recognisable, veiled voice, almost without thinking.
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