Riccardo Cocciante has been announced as the Guest of Honour at Festivali i Kenges 56 next week in Albania.
Italian singer Riccardo Cocciante has been announced as the Guest of Honour at the first night of Festivali i Kenges 56. Riccardo Cocciante has been performing since the 1970s and has released over 18 studio albums and five live albums over the course of his career. In 1991 he won Sanremo with the song “Se stiamo insieme”, however did not go on to take part in that years Eurovision Song Contest on Italian soil in Rome.
Kozeta Kurti a Spokesperson for Festivali i Kenges added;
His presence is not a way to attract the public to the festival, but it’s a reward for the Albanian audience who is passionate about Italian music,
The reveal of Riccardo Cocciante as a Guest of Honour continues the overarching theme of this years Festivali i Kenges in bring the quality of Sanremo to the competition.
The twenty-two finalists were selected by a five-person jury formed of; Markelian Kapidani, Luan Zhegu, Ben Andoni, Sokol Marsi and Edmond Rapi. This year’s Festivali i Kenges will be of a high quality according to the five jury members, with some of the more well-known singers bringing “elaborate” songs to the competition.
The two semi-finals of Festivali i Këngës 56 will take place on 21st and 22nd of December and the Grand Final will take place on 23rd December.
Albania in the Eurovision Song Contest
Albania made their debut at the Eurovision Song Contest back in 2004, the same year the televised semi final was originally introduced to the competition. Albania succeeded in their first showing with Anjeza Shahini’s “The Image of You”, sailing through the semi final in 4th place and eventually landing in a respectable 7th place at the grand final. Albania have competed in the Eurovision Song Contest every single year since their debut, making 2018 their 15th appearance. Since the success in their original attempt, they have reach the grand final a further six times. They bettered their 2004 score in 2012 with Rona Nishliu’s song “Suus” who finished the contest in fifth place with 146 Points, their first time reaching the top 5 and their best placing to date.