Festivali i Kenges (Albania) National Final 2022 Reviews: Shega and Urban Band

Shega — “Një”
Uh-oh, whistling — and not even good whistling. That’s an ominous start for this song, which turns out to be not too bad at all in the end. It’s feels Italian in a way I can’t quite put my finger on, perhaps the singing style, which far more restrained and even a bit modest compared to most of the other male singers in the contest. The focus on various string instruments and varying modes of percussion give the song a small and accessible vibe, something relaxed and homely.

Urban Band — “Padrejtësi”
It’s a theme I suspect I’ll be revisiting a lot in these national finals: the resurgence of rock in the wake of Måneskin’s victory. While Albania often sends entries with rock influences, this band has the harder edge that Måneskin have, even if they don’t seem to share the Italian’s band’s gender-bending, glam aesthetics. In any case, there’s not much to fault here. It’s a good, solid rock song with a guitar solo that puts the one in Sajmir Çili’s track to shame, even if the first few bars make me think they’re about to do a cover of Beastie’s Boys’ “Sabotage”.