Review: Armenia- Genealogy ‘Face the Shadow’

armeniaArmenia had probably the most interesting concept for choosing their Eurovision entry out of all countries in 2015. They proposed to symbolically reunite the Armenian diaspora who had been forced to move abroad following the Armenian genocide of 1915 by forming a band out of representatives from five continents- Europe, Asia, Africa, Americas and Oceania, as well as having a sixth member from Armenia. The result was the band Genealogy and their song is ‘Face the Shadow’.

The Armenian six piece is made up of a variety of singers from a number of different backgrounds and genres. This includes Essaï Altounian is a Paris based singer songwriter and keyboardist, Tamar Kaprelian living in Arizona is a pop singer best known for her song ‘New Day’, Ethiopian native Vahe Tilbian is an R n B/Pop singer, Japanese singer Stephanie Topalian, Australian opera singer Mary-Jean O’Doherty Basmadjian and finally Armenian folk singer Inga Arshakyan.

You would think with such varying styles that the merging of the six singers would prove impossible to get right, but the song really works.  Each singer seems to get half a verse each, allowing them to show off their talent individually. The group come together on the chorus with the operatic trills from Mary Jean running right through, while the pop stylings of the others help to ground it.

The song is obvious in its message, it wants to commemorate all those lives lost in the Armenian Genocide 100 years ago. The song’s original title was called ‘Don’t Deny’- a powerful message to all those who try to deny that the brutal murders on the Armenian population ever took place. The title was controversial and because of strict Eurovision rules to prevent overtly political messages in songs, the title had to be changed to ‘Face the Shadow’.

The video reflects this message with a family posing for a series of photos and one by one they begin to disappear until there is no one left. Meanwhile the band sing in what appears to be a graveyard covered by weeds and dust. They are all separated in the beginning, but by the end they all come together, reunited at last.

I thought initially that the Armenian entry was a bit gimmicky, but when they released the song I was blown away by the sheer talent in the band, and especially by how they made it all come together and work. I would like to see this entry do well and have a feeling we’ll be seeing it in the final. Do you agree? Vote for it in our poll below.

 

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