Four years after an aborted attempt, Jamala returned to a Ukrainian national final and this time made it through. Her life and the Ukrainian representative in Stockholm, Jamala, answered escXtra’s questions this week. See the video interview below.
Jamala had reached the final of the 2011 Ukrainian selection, which was mired in accusations of vote-rigging and corruption. Both she and Zlata Ognevich refused to take part in a reorganised final, leaving Mika Newton to participate in 2011. Of course, both Zlata and now Jamala have eventually made it to the Eurovision stage.
An ethnic Crimean Tatar, Jamala’s grandparents were among thousands exiled from Crimea to eastern reaches of the then USSR, Jamala herself being born in Osh, Kyrgyzstan. The years since 2011 have been tumultuous for Ukraine, and so perhaps Jamala’s eventual arrival to Eurovision is timely, given the message of her poignant song, 1944.
Jamala speaks to escXtra about the experience of the 2016 final, what changes we can expect to see and hear in Stockholm and how she deals with critics of her song.
Jamala will perform ‘1944’ in the 15th slot of the second Eurovision. semifinal on 12 May.