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Posts Tagged ‘"Is It True"’

The year is almost over and I’m still reeling from everything that’s happened in the last 12 months… I couldn’t feel more blessed about this past year’s adventures, unexpected twists and turns, surprises and the most exciting news that kept flooding in, week after week. Looking back on it now, after the month of May, it all changed – drastically. The build up, granted, was intense and very gradual but nevertheless, I couldn’t be more grateful for every bit of it.

After our song, “Is It True?” came second in the Eurovision Song Contest, was later voted the Eurovision Song of the Decade and most recently (or precisely – today) hailed by ESC Awards in Europe as the Song of the Year and yours truly, alongside co-writers Chris Neil and Oskar Pall Sveinsson, Lyricists of the Year, and was also recorded by Swedish Idol winner, Erik Gronwall for his debut record which was released this past Monday, it seems that unlike what we had expected, the song has really brought on some major changes that would have been totally unheard of a year ago. Nothing comes easily, of course, and the amount of work that I had to undertake shortly after the tune took off has still got me reeling from excitement, sleepless nights and incessant creating, planning and executing 24/7.

For those of you who have waited patiently for the book (a work of fiction that is now being reworked as a memoir) – well, I can’t wait either! I’m now on Chapter 9 and quite frankly, writing and rewriting the same story can be a little daunting at times, but also super-exciting. Plus, now I’ve got a fantastic collaborator by my side, Chuck Taylor (if you look him up on Google or Wikipedia, your jaw will drop, I’m so blessed!) so it doesn’t feel all the overwhelming anymore… But it is a major responsibility, nonetheless.

In addition, we’ve got a Broadway project in the works, a record (some very surprising song choices, unlike what you’ve heard on MySpace! Stay tuned for details!) and of course the solo gig at the Metropolitan Room… Be sure to make it! Can’t believe it’s already happening in a matter of weeks. So many songs to master, lyrics to learn by heart (ooooh, hate that part, but it’s a must, what can I say!) and fortunately some of the most incredible musicians to rehearse with in the coming weeks… That’s the best part. Billy Stein, my musical director, co-writer, producer and the most amazing, creative and witty person I’ve come across – it’s really something working with Billy… We played at SteveStocking 2009 last Tuesday and that was so much fun!! Especially the Christmas number… “White Christmas” …. One of my all-time favorites!

So much more to report but daren’t keep this too long. Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, Happy Holidays and above all, may the New Year bring you all more happiness, joy, prosperity, inspiration, health, stability (oh yes, in every way!) and peace….

Countless blessings and thanks so very much to each and every one of you for your incredible support throughout this year and all the years past,

Tinatin xxx

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sod_logo_smallThere are times when I really miss the daily blogs followed by instant reactions that usually developed into full-on electronic dialogues. But for better or worse, I can only count on a few minutes here and there to post my regular (or nowadays “irregular”… My bad!) updates. Not surprisingly, though, it takes me so long to actually get to the computer for these overdue “news blogs” that I tend to forget half of them by the time I’m typing away yet again!
So, first things first… Earlier this afternoon, we heard from our European counterpart that the authors of “Is It True” (Christopher Neil, Oskar Pall and yours truly) performed most gloriously by Yohanna, have been awarded for the #1 Eurovision Song of the Decade as voted by the ESC viewers and ESC Today readers worldwide. Did we really beat some of the greats, such as Andrew Lloyd Webber, Diane Warren, Ronan Keating, Patricia Kaas, etc. to name but a few? I’m still reeling from this, to be honest!
And from Sweden – this very song was performed at the Swedish Idol semi-finals (and won the semi’s!) by Erik Gronwall last week… which, by the way, you can hear (and see) right here.
Now, on a political note… As I’m getting ready to return to the UN Radio HQ next week to resume my weekly UN Uncovered show on Progressive Radio Network (it’s been over a month, I can’t believe it!) I am still trying to keep up with international political affairs… Believe it or not, I do read the Financial Times – still, even a year after the August War back home… So…. The other day, as I was surfing the web and reading the online Friday edition of the FT, I came across this article:
“Iceland after a year of financial crisis
Financial Times – London, England, UK
‘Is it true? Is it over? Did I throw it away?’ Seldom can the words
from an entry in the Eurovision Song Contest be more appropriate…”
To read more, please go to: FT.com
If you read on, you’ll be equally surprised by the sudden twist – a pop song lyric in a heavily political piece? I couldn’t be more excited, though, I admit!
And pop songs aside, I can proudly confirm that I am about to start working with the great Timothy Graphenreed, who wrote my very first song for me back when I was 16 years old, on our Broadway-themed concert to take place in NYC (theater, date, etc. TBC) in the new year – a variety of songs, ranging from American standards and some of my own tunes… Quite a challenge, but I’m extremely excited and really, really psyched!
While brand new material is on its way, I can already give you a quick hint – there’s about 4-5 new tunes that I’m dying to post on here asap, but it will have to wait until it’s been sent to my publishers at Kobalt Music and straight onto my homepage.
Please do stay tuned for more news and I promise to keep this blog up to date as much as possible… But for now, happy holiday to everyone (Columbus Day, if you haven’t noticed – some of the stores are closed today…. Brrrr…..!)

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300px-Mad_scientist.svgA crazy month so far… And the summer has only just kicked off!

Negotiating contracts, meeting with lawyers, publishers, agents and new
songwriting partners can be fascinating, exhausting and at times really
exciting, but what about some free time for a bit of fun and entertainment?

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to take the entire day off, let alone a
proper weekend off work, without feeling somewhat guilty deep down (“I
should be working, not hanging out!”) Although having said that, recharging
my batteries is definitely one of my priorities for the next couple of
months or so. That, along with a couple of trips that have been on the cards
for way too long, including London and possibly LA, but not excluding an
imminent return to Moscow for a potential project that is currently in the
works… Something massive but not yet finalized negotiation-wise, so I
daren’t say more!

All in all, a very exciting time but it’s also quite disappointing that I’ve
barely managed to catch up with any of my friends in-between the mad weeks
here and there. I don’t regret it for a second, of course, but sometimes I
genuinely worry that my friends will soon start accusing me of ignorance –
and that would make me feel awful!!! 😦 I wish I could place everything on
hold – or maybe a pause button? – for a day or two and just concentrate on
catching up with each and every one of them!

Oh, and guess what else is happening next weekend? A gig in Central Park!
But more on that later… with pictures and possibly even a youtube video!

In the meantime, of course, the UN Uncovered radio show and the BTR Russkiy
in the Mix show are still very much on air and in production on weekly basis
– it’s a way of switching off once a week, I guess, and thinking about the
bigger picture every now and then!

And the book… The synopsis for the sequel is already done, while the first
book is currently being reviewed and edited by the critics, so I’m excited
and just a little nervous!

Wow, would you believe that “Is It True?” is still in the charts and still
going strong? While “Thinking of Someone Else” is #2 on the iDanceFM charts
and we’ve just completed a pop cross-over radio mix in the UK, which I’ll be
posting shortly on myspace! And by the way, it has just been picked up by
Hit FM and Europe Plus, a couple of leading Russian commercial radio
stations and will probably be added to a few more top stations throughout
Russia in the next couple of weeks or so.

I’ll do my best to keep the blogs coming on regular basis and keep you all
posted at all times… My apologies again for not getting back to everyone
in timely manner but I promise to get better at it – I’m really not as good
as I used to be 😦 But I’ll improve, promise! 🙂

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ttlargeThe annual Eurovision Song Contest consists of forty-three participating nations, including most of NATO, the Eastern European block and Israel. It is one of the most anticipated television events in all of Europe, attracting anywhere from 100 to 200 million viewers worldwide on a yearly basis. 

Originally conceived in 1956, as a means for peaceful reunification of European countries following the Second World War, the premier international song festival has also served as a career launching platform for some bright musical careers. Celine Dion, ABBA, Julio Iglesias and many other household names have established themselves in this massive kaleidoscope of contemporary music.

The ESC winner is determined by an hour-long (and a rather nerve-wrecking) telephone and jury voting system. There is one strict rule that no one is allowed to break – the callers cannot choose their own nation’s entry. Fair enough! But the Scandinavian countries will always vote for each other no matter what, and so will the Eastern European block – over the years, the geopolitical aspect of the contest has unfortunately proved insurmountable!

Ironically, Eurovision 2009 will be taking place in the Russian capital for the first time in the 54 year history of the event, from May 12-16. And I say “ironically” because the idea of applying as either a songwriter or an artist in the national pre-selection process has never really entered my mind, until just recently.

In 1999-2000, when I was just starting out as an aspiring musician, there were casual talks in Moscow about sending me to ESC to represent Russia as its Georgian-born Russkiy citizen. However, the chances of beating famous Russian pop stars in the internal polls were minimal as a completely unknown 15-year-old girl. So I decided to wait, and take my chances at a later stage in my career…

Almost a decade – and many songs – later, I got a call from Reykjavik in October, from my long-time collaborator (and very well-known Icelandic songwriter/producer) Oskar Pall Sveinsson (known for his UK & US hits as Oskar Paul). He asked if I had any objections to his idea of pitching a song we had co-written together with the legendary producer Christopher Neil, as a possible contender to represent Iceland at the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest in May of 2009.

“We’ll have to find an Icelandic artist to sing the song in order to qualify, but a multi-national songwriting team should go down well in the pre-selection process,” Oskar promised. “And besides, the contest will be held in Moscow next year – could it be any better for you?”

To make a long story short, 217 songs, 4 weeks of semifinals and a nationally televised grand finale later, the wonderfully gifted Yohanna’s performance of “Is It True” granted us a staggering 44% of the national votes across the country. Thanks to overwhelming support, the song immediately qualified as the official Icelandic entry, and it will compete against 41 of the best pop songs from Europe in mid-May… Just a few weeks away!

Since the primary concept of ESC is to find the best pop song, some the most renowned scribes in the world team up to compete. This year’s “contestants” include Andrew Lloyd Webber, Ronan Keating, my hero Diane Warren, and many more. Really, why wouldn’t they want to write the signature song of the year?

Could I be anymore humbled looking at the list of my colleagues and “competitors”? In fact, I’d be lying if I said that I’m not nervous – but at the same time I am oh so excited!

BTR will bring you exclusive coverage of this event through the eyes of a participant – up close, personal and totally unplugged at the biggest European song festival of the year. It just might be a first for the American media.

You can follow the three-week journey, promo tour, semi-finals and grand finale (we simply must qualify – and you’ll be the first to know about the outcome!) right here on my DJ blog. I’ll be sharing the latest news and pictures from my all my Eurovision adventures.

So, gear up, hop on my train of ESC madness and let’s make it true for Iceland together!

Tinatin’s Eurovision Ride with BTR

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eurovision-moscowAnd the official ESC’s Icelandic Delegation blog is up and running….

With great support from the official sources!! 🙂

ESC Official Icelandic Blog

ESCToday Press Release

ESC TV

Eurovision.tv Press Release

What’s next? A Russian lyric – quite literally!

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l_f0ba42ad96e748b2dcc5113b94b3c2bdBrand new article in today’s issue of Frettabladid, the Icelandic newspaper with the largest circulation.

P.S. Special thanks to Magga!

Leynihöfundur að íslenska Eurovisionlaginu Is it True?

Þýðir textann yfir á rússnesku Tinatin vinnur nú hörðum höndum að því að þýða texta íslenska Eurovision-lagsins yfir á rússnesku og telur að það gæti heillað Rússa upp úr skónum.

Nafnið Tinatin Japaridze kemur sennilega flestum Íslendingum spánskt fyrir sjónir. En það tengist landi og þjóð með nokkrum sérstökum hætti. Því þessi georgíska poppstjarna sem alin er upp í Moskvu en býr nú í New York er einn þriggja höfunda að framlagi Íslands til Eurovision, Is it True? sem Jóhanna Guðrún flytur. Og Íslendingar hafa þarna náð töluverðu forskoti á önnur lönd með ögn skárri rússneskri tengingu en Rússalánið víðfræga. „Við reyndum að halda þessu leyndu enda vildum við að fólkið kynni að meta lagið en væri ekki að spá í einhverja pólitík. Það gekk eftir og ég get ekki beðið eftir að hitta Jóhönnu, Óskar og Chris í Moskvu,“ segir Tinatin í samtali við Fréttablaðið í gær.
Is it True? var upphaflega hugsað á plötu Tinatin sem hún vann með Óskari Páli og lagahöfundinum Christopher Neil í London fyrir nokkrum árum. Lagasmíðarnar gengu hins vegar það vel að lagið rataði ofan í skúffu þar sem það hálfpartinn gleymdist. „Síðan hafði Óskar samband við mig fyrir hálfu ári og spurði hvort það væri mér að sársaukalausu að senda lagið inn í Eurovision,“ útskýrir Tinatin sem fór í kjölfarið að fylgjast grannt með keppninni hérna heima í gegnum fartölvu sína í New York. „Óskar var alveg handviss um að það kæmist í gegnum sextán laga úrslitin en svo gæti brugðið til beggja vona á úrslitakvöldinu.“ Tinatin hélt því niðri í sér andanum þegar hún horfði á úrslitakvöldið og reyndi að skilja hvað var í gangi. „Ég skil auðvitað ekki stakt orð í íslensku og vissi því ekkert hvernig þetta fór fram. Fyrst hélt ég að við hefðum lent í öðru sæti og fannst það alveg frábært. Ég meira að segja vakti mömmu mína í Moskvu og sagði henni frá því. En svo varð náttúrulega allt brjálað þegar ég komst að því að við hefðum unnið og hvorki ég, Christopher né Óskar Páll vorum viðstödd,“ segir Tinatin.
Söngkonan er nú að vinna að því að þýða texta lagsins yfir á rússnesku ásamt landa sínum sem búsettur er í New York. Og hún hlakkar mikið til að koma til Moskvu og fá tækifæri til að taka þátt í Eurovision-ævintýri Íslendinga og hitta fjölskyldu sína sem þar er búsett. Tinatin hefur jafnframt mikla trú á Jóhönnu Guðrúnu. „Þegar maður er listamaður er maður mjög vandfýsinn á aðra listamenn. En að svona falleg stúlka geti sungið jafnvel er náttúrulega bara draumur.“ Og Tinatin telur að Íslendingar hafi alla burði til að heilla að minnsta kosti Rússa upp úr skónum ef ekki aðrar þjóðir. „Samband Íslands og Rússlands er mjög sérstakt og ég held að þetta eigi eftir að ganga mjög vel.“

freyrgigja@frettabladid.is

A secret composer of the Icelandic Eurovision song “Is it true?”

The name Tinatin Japaridze is most likely unknown to Icelanders but it connects to the nation and the country in a special way. This Georgian pop star who was raised in Moscow but now resides in New York is one of three composers of Iceland’s entry in Eurovision, performed by Jóhanna Guðrún. And this way by, the Icelanders have made a better and stronger connection to Russia instead of the famous Russian financial loan.

“We tried to keep it secret and not make it a big deal so people would appreciate the song for what it is rather than start thinking about the politics. It worked and now I cannot wait to meet Jóhanna, Óskar and Chris in Moscow – in many ways my home where I spent most of my childhood,” says Tinatin in an interview with Fréttablaðið yesterday.

“Is it true?” was originally written and recording for Tinatin’s album which she made with Óskar Páll and songwriter/producer Christopher Neil in London several years ago. The song turned out really well but as it happens quite often in the music industry, the track was put away for a while and it practically forgotten. “Óskar contacted me 6 months ago and asked if he could submit it for the Eurovision pre-selection,” explains Tinatin, who soon began to follow the Icelandic national final on her laptop in New York. “Óskar was positive the song would make it through the first round but I wasn’t as sure about the finals.” Tinatin kept her fingers crossed when she watched the final night and tried to understand what was happening on the screen. “Of course I didn’t understand a word of Icelandic and had no idea how things were unfolding. At first I thought we came second and I was very happy about that. I even woke my mother up in Moscow to tell her. But of course when I realized we had actually won, it was quite amazing and insane too since none of us – neither Óskar, Chris nor I were at the finals,” says Tinatin.

The singer/songwriter is now preparing on the Russian translation after contacting a Russian writer who also lives in New York to collaborate on the special version . She very much looks forward to going to Moscow and taking part in the Icelandic Eurovision-fairytale – and of course meet her family. Tinatin has a lot of faith in Jóhanna Guðrún. “When you’re an artist, even more so than a writer, you become incredibly picky about other artists. But seeing such a beautiful girl who can really sing that well is of course rare and fantastic!” Tinatin believes that the Icelanders can charm the Russians as well as other nations.”The connection between Iceland and Russia has become special over the years and somehow I think everything will go well.”

freyrgigja@frettabladid.is

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logoTinatin Interview – The Georgian Times 03.03.2009

“It is definitely one of my goals to finally return to my roots when the time is right and introduce myself to my audience back home as “one of their own.”

Probably most Georgians would feel proud to hear that over the Atlantic a 24-year-old girl, Tinatin Japaridze, is on her way to reaching the heights of two careers: as a writer and a musician. Heralded by Billboard Magazine as one of the “fresh faces to keep an eye out for in 2008,” she was a finalist in the worldwide John Lennon Song Contest and her song “Wild” was hailed as a 2007 year-end Billboard Top 10 Critics’ Pick.

Years ago in London Tinatin, together with Christopher Neil who is also her Executive Producer and Vocal Producer and Oskar Pall Sveinsson wrote a song called “Is It True?” which has become Iceland’s Eurovision Song Contest Entry for 2009. The song won the national finals by a staggering 44% and will be competing with at the international finals to be held in Russia in May.

Tinatin’s music career began in 1998 when she auditioned with Professor Luigi Alva at La Scala and was offered a place at the Academy. At 14, she began classical vocal lessons with renowned Maestro Gocha Bezhuashvili, who has worked with La Scala, The Metropolitan Opera and Covent Garden. In the summer of 1998, Tinatin was invited to open the 1st Festival of Russian Films in Cannes and was then asked by the Mayor of Nice to close the annual Carnival of Flowers with her version of Jacques Brel’s “Quand On Na Que L’Amour.”

Three years later, she went to London to study journalism—and while there, launched her first promotional tour, organized by Event One, Jeff Chegwin and Yegor Shishkovsky, the latter of whom is a widely popular Russian-born journalist and radio personality. Live performances and TV/radio interviews with Tinatin were featured on BBC, Channel 5 and ITV’s “London Tonight,” where Capital FM’s Neil “Doctor” Fox referred to her as having a “really fantastic and beautiful voice. She’s unbelievable. It’s a voice that you would want people to put money behind.”

Born in Georgia and raised in Moscow, Tinatin has written in Russian for the leading Russian Newspaper in America, in English for the United Nations (where she is the United Nations Radio Correspondent) and in Georgia she has both written and been written about – including a story about her in Cosmopolitan – for which Cambridge Jones, the UK’s top photographer, took portraits.

Tinatin is currently working on two literary projects, fiction and non-fiction. Her songs are top hits on UK Radio stations and in clubs. Catapulting into mainstream success with a current dance/club hit in the UK, “Thinking of Someone Else,” Tinatin is adding final touches to her debut album with a number of the industry’s top producers and scribes.

As her collaborator Sahin has described, Tinatin’s voice is very soft and just floats over the music. The basis for this, he believes, could be the Georgian culture she is coming from.

“One of the highlights of my early days came when I was asked by my all-time heroes, Alan and Marilyn Bergman, to perform ‘A Piece of Sky’ from ‘Yentl’ at the Creative Arts Awards honouring Marilyn, who alongside her husband wrote some of the most touching and beautiful lyrics that I was brought up listening to,” says Tinatin. That performance marked her American debut, where she was presented to Mayor Rudy Giuliani and consummate Broadway composer Cy Coleman by the legendary conductor, arranger and composer Marvin Hamlisch, and accompanied by jazz piano great Mike Renzi.

To find out more about Tinatin we took our chance to ask her several questions as well:

Q: What are your expectations concerning Johanna Gudrun Jonsdottir, as you are the co-writer of her Eurovision song with Oskar Pall Sveinsson and Christopher Neil?

A: My long-time collaborators Oskar Paul Sveinsson, Christopher Neil and I co-wrote Is It True? several years ago in London as one of the few songs recorded for my pending album at the time. As often happens in creative situations, we somehow ended up putting the song aside after its completion. Many songs and years later, I got a call from Oskar asking if I had any objections to his idea of submitting it for this year’s preselection process in Reykjavik.

In an announcement made by RÚV Television, just over 69,000 votes were cast by the public when they chose our song as the nation’s representative out of the 217 entries. It was so unexpected – Chris Neil was away and Oskar was in hospital, so you can only imagine our excitement when the news finally arrived!

As for my expectations of the ESC finals in Moscow, it’s very hard to predict the outcome at this point – had you asked me last year if I was planning to participate in Eurovision 2009, I would have rolled my eyes and said, “I doubt it”, for no reason other than the simple fact that planning anything ahead of time is nearly always a complete waste of energy!

Thanks to Oskar, we discovered the wonderfully gifted and beautiful Johanna, and she did a great job! As a singer, I was inevitably “picky” but couldn’t find a single flaw in Johanna’s performance, which in itself was extremely gratifying. I think she’s got a lot to offer at this year’s competition, so we’re very proud and definitely very much looking forward to it!

Q: Currently you are writing an autobiography, will it be available for Georgian readers?

A: This autobiography is definitely something I have long wanted to write, but now more than ever before, it seems like the right moment for me to share my story, which will be published in the UK later this year.

Hopefully, it will resonate with my compatriots, as in many ways this book also represents my journey from Tbilisi, my hometown, to Moscow where I moved at the age of nine, and my final destination – the United States of America, where I’ve been living for the past four and a half years.

Q: When did you obtain Russian citizenship and what was the reason for this?

A: We moved to Moscow in the early 90’s during the upheaval in Georgia when my dad, the architect and painter Givi Japaridze, was offered the opportunity to pursue his professional career in Russia.

It was the beginning of a difficult transition, but it was also a challenge that I chose to embrace, along with many other Georgian émigrés in Moscow at the time. I pursued my studies at the International School of Tomorrow and at the Moscow State University, until I finally moved abroad: first stop – London for several years, and only later – New York.

Q: You’re at #2 on the Dance Radio Top 25 along with Madonna, Donna Summer and Jennifer Hudson with the song “Thinking of Someone Else,” how do you intend to continue catching the attention of your fans?

A: To be honest, that’s a very tricky question! I’ve often been told that a lot of twists and turns that I took in my early career have never really followed a set pattern of a debutante – it all happened ”upside down”.

For example, while most artists become involved in political issues much later, a couple of years ago, the former President of the UN Correspondents’ Association, Ian Williams, suggested that I compose a piece of music based on the United Nations Charter as a one-of-a-kind ”UN song”. Less than a year later, I was standing onstage at the UN Headquarters singing “We the Peoples” at the request of the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, honoring Sir Richard Branson. It suddenly dawned on me that yes, sometimes we do have the craziest ideas, and yes, everyone will tell you not to do it, but with a little bit of luck, effort and belief, everything is within our reach – even the most insane and ridiculous fantasies!

I suppose trying to calculate the next move, no matter how predictable, is one of the most difficult tasks for me. And while my heart inevitably lies in contemporary music, I consider classical training and particularly bel canto to be an absolute must for any vocalist in any given genre; and needless to say, Maestro Gocha Bezhuashvili has certainly become one of my most trusted mentors.

Q: Do you plan any tours in the future and would Georgia be one of the countries on the list?

A: It is definitely one of my goals to finally return to my roots when the time is right and introduce myself to my audience back home as “one of their own.” The fact that this has not yet happened was certainly not my decision.

These days, I often get fan mail from young Georgian people asking me why I still haven’t made any effort to appear publicly in Georgia and have somehow managed to remain the country’s “best-kept secret for much too long”… I admit that singing foreign songs and working on an English-language project did not necessarily work in my favour in Tbilisi. Some accused me of unpatriotic tendencies, while others simply didn’t care much for American songs sung by a Georgian girl who was being produced by some of the leading European and American scribes and producers. Why? Because I wasn’t singing in Georgian!

I have to be honest and say that, to a certain extent, I was slightly disappointed by the unexpected reaction of my fellow Georgians. There is absolutely nothing wrong with our compatriots achieving success and recognition in other parts of the world – if anything, doesn’t their popularity abroad promote our own country and its citizens beyond the ramifications of geography and politics?

Eka Bilanishvili
2009.03.03 18:55

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