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A Moment with Portugal, Ireland, and Malta 🇵🇹🇮🇪🇲🇹

17 December 2021 at 11:00 CET
After their first rounds of rehearsals here at La Seine Musicale in Paris, the team took a moment to chat with Simão from Portugal, Maiú from Ireland, and Ike & Kaya from Malta.

🇵🇹 Portugal

The first of our artists to take the stage to rehearse is Portugal’s Simão Oliveira, whose song O Rapaz ('The Boy’) tells the story of a young man who fell in love with the classic melodies on the radio as a child, and grew up to become a singer in his own right.

For 14-year-old Simão, these lyrics aren’t just words on a page; they’re his own personal story, as well! O Rapaz is inspired by the wistful, nostalgic fado style that is traditional and typical in Portugal.

When asked to describe what fado is, Simão says:

Normally, you have a Portuguese guitar, a viola, alongside an acoustic guitar to accompany a singer. This is a really Portuguese song, and perfect to represent my country!

If you’d like to learn more about this classic musical style, Simão recommends that you listen to some of his other favorite singers, like Amália Rodrigues (who he calls the 'pillar of fado music’) or Carlos do Carmo, who represented Portugal at Eurovision 1976, or more current artists like Ana Moura or Carminho, who are leading the way in introducing the style to a new generation.

O Rapaz is Portugal’s sixth entry at Junior Eurovision since their debut in 2006. After a bit of a hiatus, the delegation rejoined the contest following Salvador Sobral’s victory at Eurovision in 2017, and they’ve been back nearly every year since.

🇮🇪 Ireland

Maiú Levi Lawlor, age 14, is going to rock the house with his performance of Saor (Disappear)! He says his first rehearsals went well, and that he can’t wait for the night of the show: 'For the audience to be there, and to get their reaction…it’s so exciting!'

Like all of us, Maiú’s life was changed when the pandemic took hold last year, with classes moving to Zoom and social lives turned upside-down.

Maiú says:

I didn’t have too much singing to be doing. I’d be singing around the house and everything! But I actually started learning the piano, through the pandemic. I’ve always wanted to play it. But I think it was good for me as well, because I’m always so busy, and it was nice to have a break!

As we hear in the lyrics to this year’s song, 'in our hearts we are free…you can’t make us disappear!’

Ireland debuted at Junior Eurovision in 2015, and have been in nearly every year since (except 2020). Through the years, the country’s songs have kept the Irish language front and centre, and Maiú is the same way! He speaks Irish on a daily basis, learning it from a very young age. He was happy to feature his school, Coláiste Raithín, in the video for Saor (Disappear).

Keeping things in the proverbial family, the singer of Ireland’s most recent entry, Anna Kearney, is one of this year’s songwriters! When asked about the best advice he’s gotten from his team, Maiú said that the thing he’s heard the most is to just enjoy every moment!

🇲🇹 Malta

Ike Mizzi & Kaya Gouder Curmi, both age 11, have been performing as a duo since appearing on Malta’s Got Talent last year, where their blend of musical styles endeared them to voters. They had known each other through local festivals beforehand, but being paired together for the show ended up leading to a wonderful artistic partnership, as well as a great friendship.

Ike says he appreciates Kaya’s sense of humour, and that she takes a joke as well as she gives one! Kaya likes that Ike listens to her ideas and respects her.

My Home is Malta’s 17th Junior Eurovision entry since their debut in 2003, with the country having previously won the Contest in 2013 and 2015. Ike and Kaya have spoken with previous Junior Eurovision winners Gaia Cauchi and Destiny, and they’ve gotten some priceless advice on both their vocals, as well as a reminder to just enjoy the moment!

Make sure to follow the official Junior Eurovision Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and Facebook channels for exclusive behind-the-scenes content from Paris.