Festivali i Kenges (Albania) National Final 2022 Reviews: Ester Zahiri and Evi Reci

Ester Zahiri — “Hiena”
This is very much a song of progression. It begins with little more than just Zahiri and a piano, but you can feel the tension immediately, and not long after the song heads into its second minute we have a drum-focus before strings come in for the chorus, after which the only variation is a big note by Zahiri, an Albanian trademark by this point. I quite like the way it flows, but in Eurovision parlance, I’d say this lacks a “moment” (the big note probably doesn’t make enough of an impact).

Evi Reci — “Me duaj”
This is an unusual entry, focusing on more acoustic instruments like guitars and a ukulele. Reci’s vocals are mixed in a way that they sometimes feel like she is standing behind the other instruments. I’m not an expert in brass instruments, but was that a French horn for the instrumental break? Regardless, that was arguably the highlight of the song and I’m disappointed that it didn’t return for an encore right at the end, where I think a few well-placed low notes might have given the track a less sudden ending.