10 May 2018 - 18:56
For the first time, the Eurovision Song Contest will feature a performance in Georgian, as the ethno jazz band Iriao is set to represent the country at the televised event in Lisbon later today.
The seven-member group will be among bands and artists going on stage to showcase their bids for no less than 18 countries at the competition.
Their performances mark the second semifinal of Eurovision, with participants vying for a spot in the grand final on Saturday.
Known for their signature style of mixing Georgian polyphonic singing with jazz elements, Iriao will compete with their song For You.
A stage venue designed to replicate the shape of a maritime vessel — a nod to Portugal’s history — will host the event, with viewers able to vote for their favourites during the show.
The voting will commence after all performers conclude their appearances, with votes to be accepted from the official Eurovision mobile application as well as through SMS and calls.
The Georgian band is scheduled to be the No. 10 in the order of appearance for tonight’s contestants.
Debuting in 2013, the group is led by composer and folk jazz pioneer David Malazonia, performing on keyboard.
He is joined in the roster of the band by Nugzar Kavtaradze on Georgian folk instruments, Levan Abshilava on drums and percussion, and Shalva Gelekva on bass. Vocals involve George Abashidze, Mikheil Javakhishvili and Bidzina Murgulia.
Iriao released their maiden recording in Poland in 2015, before taking part in music festivals in Georgia and abroad.