The Ukraine are another returning nation to the 2016 contest and one who will ensure the spotlight will be trained on them due to the subject matter of Jamala’s “1944”.
Eurovision entries are not permitted to be political, see Georgia’s 2009 effort “We Don’t Wanna Put In” famously disqualified due to its obvious referencing of the Russian leader. This makes “1944” a controversial inclusion in the contest.
The song is an ode to Jamala’s great grand-parents and a semi-autobiographical account of the deportation of Crimean Tatar population to Central Asia in 1944. Unsurprisingly it has drawn the cry of “boycott” from certain quarters.
“1944” had huge resonance throughout the Ukraine when presented at the Ukrainian National selection and is a fitting song that flirts with controversy and befitting of the Ukraine’s return to the contest.
Watch Jamala's official video for '1944':
Four Questions with Jamala
What are the most interesting aspects about your entry?
1944 is dedicated to my great grandmother. In this song I use complicated vocal technics, for instance, mugham. I also use a duduk which is a beautiful instrument.
What are the three most impressive facts about you?
I can sing in any musical style. I’ve graduated from the Musical Academy as an opera singer, I was headliner of many international jazz festivals, and I sing a lot of folk songs of various nations.
This year I won all main nominees in the Ukrainian National Music Award (YUNA): "Best Album", "Best Artist", "Best Song" (with Andrey Khlyvnyuk and Dmitriy Shurov) and"Best Duo" (with Andrey Khlyvnyuk and Dmitriy Shurov).
I made my first professional record at the age of nine. I recorded an album of songs for children. The session took only one hour and I made only one take for each song.
Do you have a (lucky) routine before you go on stage?
No, I pray only.
Why is the Eurovision Song Contest important for you?
It’s a great opportunity to be heard and to show the high level of Ukrainian music. The Eurovision Song Contest gives you a chance to perform in front of a huge audience. I have a very important song for me that I’d like to present to the world. 1944 concerns all people that had their own horrible tragedies in the past. We should always remember and never forget them to avoid the same things in the future. I want to deliver this message to as many people as possible.