Belarus: take a close look at Belarusian finalists for Junior Eurovision

Ahmet Butun reporting from Ankara (Turkey)

Names of finalists of the National Children's Contest "Song for Eurovision" released. The professional jury announced the results of the national selection round of "Song for Eurovision". This year a total of 40 applications had been filed. 10 singers will go on to perform at the gala concert on September 30. Based on telephone voting and the jury's say, the winner will be selected to present Belarus at the International Junior Eurovision Song Contest in Bucharest this December. So here comes a brief(!) article for you to know a little more about the finalists.

01. Artem Azuka (12) was born and now lives in Grodno, a city in the North of Belarus. His favourite places in his city are Swiss Valley and Zhiliber Park, where he can have rest and enjoy the beauty of the nature, as he says. He is a typical Pisces boy. He is outgoing and he likes it. He is satisfied with his own traits. Having history as his favourite school subject, his favourite movie is Troy as expected. He likes music a lot, which made him take up making his own music. His Junior Eurovision song is about "summer and tender memories, warmed by gentle shining of the sun." So far, he has taken part in some music events such as Young Talents 2005, Constellation of Hopes 2005 and international contest in Katowice, Poland. When he is asked the thing that made him take part in JESC selection, "I made up my mind to tale part in such a prestigious contest and bring fame to my country" he says.

02. Alexandra Stelmach (10), Artem's company in JESC lives in Grodno too. Unlike her closest companion, she likes the old building of Grodno University as she goes to the music studio there. She's Virgo, has good expression skills, and is emotional, which she finds the most positive among her traits. Like Artem, she says she hasn't been able to find a negative trait in herself. When she matures enough, she dreams of being a singer. In her free time, she likes meeting her friends and playing with her little brother, Ivan. Her favourite movie is Harry Potter. "I took up music listening my mother singing, and I sang along too." she says. Her favourite bands are Petr Elfimov and Dimitry Koldun. So far she has taken part in only one music event, the one held in Poland's Katowice and participated in her studio's disc presentation. "Last year I supported Ksenia Sitnik, this year I decided to try myself" she says.

03. Polina Koval (12) is a girl living in the capital city of Belarus, Minsk."I am just and kind, I would like to get rid of fretful temper." she says. Her favourite school subject is Mathematics. She likes composing songs and playing films in her free time and she dreams of being a singer when she grows up. Her favourite movies are "Three Nuts for Cinderella" and "Kamenskaya". When she is asked the time she began being interested in music, she says "When I was born". Her favourite music band in Studio Natalie. Her JESC song is about "When your friends are near, your life will be full of laughter, joy and dreams coming true." as she says. Up to now, she has taken part in various music events. "My music teacher Natalia and my mother are my main inspirations", she says. "I composed a song and my music coach liked it so we wanted other people to hear it. So I made up my mind to participate in JESC."

04. Alina Konareva (12) lives in Vitebsk. "I like having perseverance, daydreaming, focus on goal. I want to lose shyness." Her favourite school subjects are Geography and Computer Science. She longs for being a professional singer in the future. She took up music from karaoke and going to concerts with parents. Her favourite music band is Pesnyary. 2004 CIS and Baltic Festival Movement (1st place) and Open Belarus-2005 International Student Festival are the music organizations she has taken part in so far. Her song is about friendship, joy, fun (every kid's dream, as she says). "This is my second try. I wanted to tell children about peace, dreams and friendship. I am happy I made it into the finals."

05. Dominika (16) was born in Magdeburg,Germany and lives in Krupki, in Minsk region. She likes Math and Language lessons, and she wants to be a "renowned songstress" in the future. "I have been singing since 5. Have been to music school since 6. My song is about friendship and smiles. The more people smile, the more kindness they give to one another. Up to now, I've taken part in music events such as Zhodino Spring-2003, Golden Bee-2003, Constellation of Hopes-2004" she says. "I like a good challenge and wanted to show my abilities. So I decided to take part in Junior Eurovision", she says.

06. Andrey Kunets (11): "Sing no matter what! Sing in spite of stuff! Sing to keep on dreaming! Sing for luck!" Andrey was born in Mozyr and lives there. He is Saggitarius, likes Russian literature and Universe. He wants to be a singer too. " I like singing and drawing. My hobby is cycling. I took up music from my mother's insistence. My favourite bands are UME's Studio and Mozyr. My JESC song is about a new day, joy, light and love. I've taken part in some music events as Land under the White Wings (1st place, Mozyr), Golden Bee (Grand Prix, Klimovichi), People's Friendship (Grand Prix, Kaizerslautern). I took advice of my mentor and made up my mind to take part in Junior Eurovision." he says.

07. Mikhail Lila (12) is a typical Leo boy born in Mozyr too. In Mozyr, he likes Youth Art Club as he sings and plays instruments there. His favourite school subjects are Russian, Belarussian and Math. He wants singing to be his profession in the future. His hobbies are singing and playing computer games. His favourite sport is running. "It started with my home performances when I was 4 years old." says he when asked how he took up music. His Junior Eurovision song is about his native city and the beauty of Belarus. The music events he has taken part in so far are "Constellation of Hopes", "Starshine", "Golden Fenix", "Slavic Bazaar", finalist of junior "Eurovision- 2005" and "Golden Bee". "My dream is to perform at "Eurovision" and I will be trying every time."

08. Natalia Lipskaya (11) was born in Minsk and lives there. Her favourite school subjects are Art and Belarussian. Unlike other finalists, she wants to be interior or fashion designer in the future. Her hobbies are singing, dancing and creation of designer projects. "I was born in the family of musicians and took part in concerts of "Radzimichi" folk band where my parents and sister work." says she. "My song is about our beautiful, generous and hospitable Belarus. I'd like to tell the world about my Motherland. And I would also like to demonstrate what real young Belarusian girls look like. We have few songs about our Motherland. I'd like to tell Europe about our Belarus."

09. Christine Makarchuk (15) was born in Sosnovy Bor and lives in Koreny. "I like purposefulnes and curiosity in myself" she says. Her favourite school subjects are Math, Belarussian and Music. She likes singing and beading in her free time. Her favourite sport is Voleyball. "I've been singing since I am 2 years old. I started performing on stage being 6. My song is about friendship. We are all different but live at one planet. The song is about Belarus and its beautiful nature." says she. So far, she's taken part in mmusic events like Village Lightning (several times), The Song of Our Fathers Youth, Popular Artist of Svetlogorsk and Constellation of Hopes. "I dreamt about it but managed to write the song only this year."

10. Ksenia Zhukova (15) was born in Gomel in Belarus . She lives in Gomel. "I'm very sociable and I like it, I have no negative traits." Geography and Biology are her favourite school subjects.She wants to be a singer in the future. She likes singing, dancing and meeting friends in her free time. Her favourite sport is Tennis. "My song is about friendship, solidarity of people of all the globe, peace, dreams of the world with all nations enjoying peaceful sky under the stars." says Ksenia. The music events she has partaked so far are Talents of the New Century 2005, Constellation of Hopes 2006, A Ticket to Yalta 2005, premium of the city of Gomel in 2005. "I like to take part in different contest very, very much!"

11. Yulia Vorobey (14) lives in Rechitsa, the city she was born in. Her favourite school subject is English. Singing together with her mother made her took up music from very young ages. "Spring, the sun and friends are outside and I have to stay under house arrest." she says about her Junior Eurovision song. She's taken part in such events as Singing together with the orchestra, Telebom, All of us come from childhood, Eurovision 2004 and 2005". "It's already the 3rd time I take part in Eurovision, so it was easy to decide" says she when asked how she decided to partake in JESC National Final.