Review: Sanja Ilic and Balkanika- ‘Nova Deca’ (Serbia)

Artist: Sanja Ilic and Balkanika

Song: Nova Deca

Country: Serbia

Rating: ★★★★★☆☆☆☆☆

Ranking: 37th

Betting Odds: 251/1

Serbia are represented by legendary composer Sanja Ilic and Serbian folk super group Balkanika at Eurovision 2018. In fact the group is so super that almost half of the eleven members won’t be permitted to perform on stage at Eurovision due to the strict rules that stipulate only six people are allowed on stage during the performance.

Nevertheless, Sanja and the group will attempt to build on their mission statement of ‘preserving, revitalising and modernising Serbian medieval and byzantine music traditions and bringing this music to a wider audience’. Audiences don’t come much bigger than Eurovision and the band’s song ‘Nova Deca’ is their attempt at showcasing their Serbian medieval traditions.

There is no doubt that ‘Nova Deca’ is not something that one hears every day. There is not really anything else you can compare it to. The eleven member band has a rich mix of musical styles and instruments on show including atmospheric drums, one male and two female vocalists and a man who looks like a more unkempt version of the Weetos Man playing a traditional whistle.

The slavic languages are beautiful and have a real melodic quality to them that lends itself well to musical composition. The songs does have its moments particularly the ‘Na na na! Na na na!’ harmonies on the chorus and at times the wailing laments convey emotion similar to that of Jamala’s performance of ‘1944’.

However, given that there are eleven musicians vying for position on the track, I think it can come across as muddled and often confused. This is especially apparent when the three vocalists come together on the song in a cacophony of sound that could induce a migraine just for the sheer fact of not knowing which voice to concentrate on.

Bookies have Serbia as a rank outsider at 251/1 and the odds of them making it to the final look slim.

For more information on the artist here is 10 Things About…Sanja Ilic and Balkanika!

The full lyrics to the song are here and check out the video below!

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