The next artist featured in our “Who Is” series for the Eurovision 2018 season is the band Iriao from Georgia.
On New Year’s Eve last year, it was announced that Georgian band Iriao would represent the country at the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest. Let’s get to know a bit more about them.
Iriao are a Georgian group made up of David Malazonia, Nugzar Kavtaradze, Bidzina Murgulia, Levan Abshilava, Shalva Gelekva, George Abashidze, and Mikheil Javakhishvili. The name “Iriao” is derived from the Georgian phrase “Iriao-uruao”, which is used in the yodelling singing style “Krimanchuli”.
Known for their unique jazz and ethno folk genre, the group have performed at the Borneo Jazz Festival in Malaysia in 2014, and have been performing together since 2013. Their debut performance was made in Tbilisi in June of that year and received lots of recognition from the media. The band was created by leader David Malazonia, who has been successfully composing music for theatre and films for 30 years.
The roles of the band members are:
- David Malazonia – Keyboard, composer, arranger
- David Kavtaradze – Georgian folk instruments
- Bidzina Murgulia – Vocals
- Levan Abshilava – Drums, percussion
- Shalva Gelekva – Bass
- George Abashidze – Vocals
- Mikheil Javakhishvili – Vocals
Iriao was selected to represent Georgia after being internally selected by Georgian broadcaster GPB. Their song for the contest will be revealed at a later date.
Georgia debuted in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2007, they were represented by Sopho Khalvashi and the song “Visionary Dream”. Sopho finished 8th in the final scoring 97 points, the song received 12 points from the televoters in Lithuania. Georgia has only ever missed one contest since their debut, this was in 2009 when Georgia had selected Stephane & 3G with “We Don’t Wanna Put In”, the song proved controversial for its lyrics aimed at the Russian President. The EBU asked for Georgia to rewrite the lyrics of the song or change the song completely. Georgia was forced to withdraw as it continued to state the lyrics were not of a political nature.