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New Wave 2010: when the stars light up Jurmala

By Howard Jarvis. 31.07.2010

New Wave 2010
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The budget is €2 million. The official prize money totals €100,000. The publicity is priceless. New Wave is back.

It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for young artists to display the verve and beauty of their natural musical talents in a significant and widely watched musical event. The ninth New Wave 2010 International Competition for Young Singers of Popular Music is once again underway.
Out of more than 12,000 initial applications from 31 countries received by the competition’s organizing committee, the expert jury selected 17 participants from 12 countries to compete for victory in the final in Jurmala, following qualifying rounds in Russia, Armenia, Bulgaria, Belarus, China, Latvia, Ukraine and Finland.
Taking place at the Dzintari Concert Hall in the coastal resort of Jurmala, from July 27 to August 1, this final stage in the competition is bound to be a grueling but ultimately rewarding process for the participants.
The New Wave 2010 prize fund is worth €100,000. The first-place winner will get €50,000, the runner-up will receive €30,000, and the third-place prize is €20,000.
Besides the upcoming stars, all eyes will be on the red carpet to watch the biggest names in the Russian and international music and entertainment business arriving in Jurmala. Many will be performing during the festival. This year, special guests include pop singers Toni Braxton, Lara Fabian and Engelbert Humperdinck, the Italian tenor Alessandro Safina, and soprano Anna Netrebko. A long list of big-name Russian stars includes Philipp Kirkorov, Vladimir Presniakov, Dima Bilan, Valery Leontiev, Kristina Orbakaitė and Zemfira. The organizers promise “a boundless sea of positive emotions in hospitable Jurmala” in which all fans of popular music will be able to see “a brilliant six-day show-program competition”.

Grand prize
The popularity of New Wave (Novaya Volna), with its pine-and-dune seaside setting, rivals that of Eurovision in many of the countries of the former Soviet Union. The 17 participants for the competition’s grand prize this year come from 12 countries: Sona Shahgeldyan from Armenia, Milk and Kisses from Azerbaijan, Litesound from Belarus, Gabriella from Brazil, Niki Manolov from Bulgaria, Uku Suviste from Estonia (see interview), Stacy from Finland, Hila Ben David from Israel, Kairat Tuntekov from Kazakhstan, the groups PeR and Lady's Sweet (see interview) from Latvia, three artists from Russia – Music Hayk, Murakami and Yegor Cesar – and three from Ukraine – Tatyana Shirko, Ivan Berezovsky and the girl group Payuschie trusy (Singin' Panties).
Some finalists were already named after the national selection rounds. Several applicants were given additional musical tasks on the basis of which the jury could make a final decision. Those who were selected by jury in the selection rounds participated in a semi-final at the Borodino Hall in Moscow on April 14 and 15. That was attended by as many as 125 performers, 51 of whom were admitted to the second day of the semi-final.
The event in Jurmala lasts for six days: three contest days, two special-event days involving the well-established stars, and, at the end, a day in which the competition results are announced followed by a final concert.
Competition participants will have to perform internationally known hit songs, hits known in their own countries, and songs specially written for the festival. The jury, headed by the well-dressed and easily distinguishable Igor Krutoi, is known to be highly critical of the participants and justifiably feared. Other jury members include Alexander Rumyantsev, New Wave’s general director, as well as music producers, composers, radio DJs and past New Wave winners.

Rivaling Eurovision
The similarity to Eurovision is evidenced by the fact that several of the participants – Milk and Kisses, Litesound, Niki Manolov, PeR and Ivan Berezovsky – have also been finalists in national Eurovision competitions. This is a fact that hasn’t escaped the watchful eyes of the organizers of Eurovision themselves, as they told RigaNOW!.
“Naturally, we keep an eye on other music contests organized around the world, so we are aware of the New Wave contest,” Jarmo Siim, communications director for Eurovision, said. “Especially as some of the participants of the Eurovision Song Contest have taken part in the New Wave competition too and have been successful.”
As examples, he mentioned the winners of the 2004, 2005 and 2007 New Wave contests – Cosmos, Intars Busulis and Natalia Gordienko, as well as Maarja (or Maarja-Liis Ilus) from Estonia. And, of course, Russia’s most famous music superstar Alla Pugacheva, who represented Russia at Eurovision in Dublin in 1997 and who has helped New Wave independently, even handing out her own special prize.
“But it seems that the way the two contests are organized is very different,” Siim cautioned. “The Eurovision Song Contest has a true television format, in which countries, represented by their public broadcasters, compete to find Europe’s best act and song. Viewers are heavily involved through tele-voting at the Eurovision Song Contest, which now has a long tradition.”
However, Eurovision has only the best things to say about New Wave. “We believe that the New Wave festival is organized at a high level and with the best intentions,” Siim explained. “Obviously, this is intensified because the festival has seen several of the biggest music names in Europe participate.”
To boost their chances, some of the participants from smaller countries have spent a lot of time working on their songs and routines in better-connected cities, increasing the international nature of the festival – and cooling any nationalistic fervor that may be felt by audiences.
Milk and Kisses, for example – the first artists from Azerbaijan to participate in New Wave – relocated to Kiev in the months leading up to the festival, recording, mixing and rehearsing their numbers for the competition. Their song written for the contest is called “Podruga” (Friend), written together with the popular Ukrainian musician Dmitry Shurov.
Latvia, the hosts, will be represented by two contestants this year. “The organizing committee, after thinking for a long time and weighing up all the pros and cons of the quality of the Latvian artists, announces that it invites two groups who were noted by the jury – PeR and Lady’s Sweet”, New Wave General Director Alexander Rumyantsev said at the national stage of the competition.
The trio PeR, founded in 2007 and named after the initials of the three members’ names Pēteris Upelnieks, Edmund Rasmanis and Ralph Eiland, sing in the style of beat-boxing. Lady’s Sweet also has three members, Karīna Tropa, Jolanta Strikaite and Vineta Elksne. Their musical career began with a collaboration with the group Sweet Waterz. This talented trio has also participated in a rock opera based on a Latvian national myth, “Lačplēsis”, and a concert series called “Stories of the Captains”.
RigaNOW! wishes all contestants and applicants, from all countries, the best of luck for the final.

Artify-online 24.01.2011 05:23

mida ma otsin, aitah

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