It’s that time of year again: The air is getting cooler, leaves are falling down, and Albania releases the songs for the first national final of this Eurovision season. Yes, today RTSH, Albania’s national broadcaster, published the full songs competing at the 59th edition of Festivali i Këngës for the chance to represent the country in Rotterdam next year. Listen below:
This year’s FiK lineup is packed with past participants and fan favorites such as Inis Neziri, who finished third in the 2018 edition behind Eugent Bushpepa’s “Mall” (and went on to win several other prizes across Europe). Also on board are Era Rusi, who finished fifth at last year’s festival, and Mirud, who maintained a strong international following although not qualifying to the final at FiK 57.
There are also former festival winners in the lineup, including Manjola Nallbani and Viktor Tahiraj, who won the 1992 edition alongside Aleksandër Gjoka with the song “Pesha e fatit.” The festival’s most recent winner, Arilena Ara, will sit this one out though, as would FiK 58 runner-up Elvana Gjata.
Festivali i Këngës would be different than usual in that it would be an outdoor event, in a location near Tirana’s Italia Square. RTSH has taken this measure to limit the risk of COVID-19 infection, following the guidelines of various health organizations. The festival will be held between December 17 and 26, and will be hosted by Jonida Vokshi and Blendi Salaj.
Excited for the festival just around the corner? Already have a favorite song? Let us know in the comments below!