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Last Updated: Wednesday, 29 November 2006, 10:07 GMT
Next Big Thing: The finalists
The Next Big Thing logo
The contest is part of the World Service's Generation Next season
Seven acts from six countries have made the shortlist for the BBC World Service's search for the world's best young unsigned band.

They will fly into the UK next week to perform at the BBC's famous Maida Vale studios, where a panel of music industry experts will decide the winning act.

Find out more about the artists below, and tell us who you think you should win using the voting form on the right.

SWEET CHERRY FURY - COLD BLONDE BODY (BRAZIL)

Sweet Cherry Fury
Sweet Cherry Fury hail from Santos, Brazil
This six-piece Brazilian group say they share a "passion for rock and roll".

Based in Santos, the band consists of five teenage girls, Mariana, Marina, Marinelli, Nika and Isabela, plus guitarist Guilherme.

Since forming in 2004, they have received attention in the Brazilian media - performing on TV and appearing in magazines.

Cold Blonde Body talks about the band's attempts to escape the boredom of school - and mathematics exams in particular.

17-year-old lead vocalist Marinelli performs all of her songs in English.

THE SKAGZ - WHITWELL (UK)

The Skagz
The Skagz describe themselves as a trashy pirate rock band
Skagz are from Warsop, Meden Vale, a small mining community in the north of England.

They decided to start the band after meeting at the local music venue, a working men's club known as Black Market.

According to legend, they met up the following day to practice at a friend's house and had eight songs ready by the evening.

Whitwell is about the band's singer, Vardy, being attacked by a gang in a neighbouring village.

"Its a bit strong in language, but like all Skagz songs it's about real life experiences - it's honest and it's real," they say.

SILVA - I LIKE (ARMENIA)

Silva
Silva enlisted her family to help put her entry together
Seventeen-year-old pop singer Silva Hakobyan started performing at an early age.

She sang at the State Song Theatre of Armenia, and has entered many competitions in her home country.

Her entry, I Like, was composed by her sister Mane and produced by Edgar, her brother.

NiC - TAKE A LOOK INTO MY EYES (MALAWI)

NiC
NiC raps in a mixture of English and Greek
Seventeen-year-old rapper Nick Giannakis was born in England, but moved to Malawi at the age of one after his parents separated.

He fell in love with hip-hop after hearing the music of Tupac Shakur, and aged 11, decided to try his hand at rapping.

After honing his skills and performing in rapping contests, he landed a job at a local radio station, and later recorded his first album.

His song, Take A Look Into My Eyes, describes the difficulties he has faced trying to excel in the music industry in Africa.

"The song touches on various issues like drugs, loyalty, peer pressure, and other issues young people face in this day and age," he says.

MISHKINI - 3 EYEZ (GHANA)

Mishkini
Mishkini is a refugee from Liberia's long-running civil war
Mishkini is a young Liberian refugee living in Ghana.

He says he is "very glad" to have been nominated for the Next Big Thing competition, and has been praying for his wishes "to come true as we proceed".

His song, 3 Eyez, is performed in Ewe (a Ghanaian language), English and French.

It talks about consequences of unfaithfulness among lovers.

STEFAN ABINGDON - MY DUNKS (UK)

Stefan Abingdon
Stefan says he "keeps it British" by rapping in his London accent
Stefan Abingdon was entered into the Next Big Thing competition by his brother and sometime drummer, Kyle.

Born and bred in London, he describes his sound as indie-rap-acoustic-rock, and cites everyone from Aphex Twin to Frank Sinatra as influences.

His entry, My Dunks, is "an observation of fashions and trends of teenagers today".

"I wrote it about the kind of people that stop while they're walking down the street just to clean the dirt off their brand new trainers," he says.

"It's my protest against fashion victims, which blatantly includes myself!"

MLK AND THE DREAMERS - GREAT MAN (USA)

MLK
MLK describe themselves as a loose collective, with "six-or-so" members
Comprising six musicians from three different schools in Omaha, Nebraska, MLK and The Dreamers describe their sound as "original, playful, and energetic".

They bonded over a shared love for a song, For Real, by the folk-rock band Okkervil River.

"We are influenced by everything around us," they say. "We sound like the silence of a library where books reach out and grab you and draw you in".

The band's name is a reference to Martin Luther King Jr, and their song is a tribute to the civil rights leader, featuring the repeated refrain, "Martin Luther King Junior was a great, great man".




VOTE RESULTS
Which is the best new artist?
Sweet Cherry Fury
 13.55% 
The Skagz
 7.93% 
Silva
 40.26% 
NiC
 8.11% 
Mishkini
 6.43% 
Stefan Abingdon
 10.29% 
MLK and the Dreamers
 13.43% 
4995 Votes Cast
Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion


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