quinta-feira, 27 de maio de 2010

Deixa-me rir...

Caros audiophiles, in honour of this weekend's 55th annual event, this week we are going to "celebrate" the "music" of the Eurovision Song Contest! Oh no, I hear? Oh yes! There really have been (a few) great popular songs that first serenaded our ears at this ridiculous but amusing circus extravaganza, where singers have represented countries that they are not nationals of, participating countries that are not European can be Eurovision for one night...and where one winning female singer happened not to be female! These days the transparently political voting (democracy at war?) of the Baltic and Balkan States ensures that the 'old guard' of the West can never win. So 'Nul Points' Norway have now won 3 times!
But established reputations were never respected. Some famous singers have taken part, but they usually do not win: did you know that Julio Iglesias, Nana Mouskouri, Amalia Rodrigues, Olivia Neutron-Bomb and Cliff Richard have all participated and lost? Only an unknown Celine Dion was a winner (for Switzerland, even though she is Canadian).
Eurovision has its historic moments: everybody remembers ABBA's Waterloo and, in Portugal at least, the significance of Paulo de Carvalho singing, in 1974.
Some other hugely popular songs started life in Eurovision: Volare (1958), Puppet On A String (1967), L'Amour Est Bleu and Congratulations(1968), Tu Te Reconnaitras (1973), Save Your Kisses For Me (1976)... I struggle to think of more recent ones.
Ironically perhaps, one of the most historic moments of Eurovision was not even a song: in 1994 part of the Riverdance show was performed for the very time during the interval before the voting - and received the longest and loudest standing ovation of that night, and every night when it plays around the world!
So here I present a few of my favourite Eurovision songs, strangely all by female singers, plus a video which celebrates Portugal's persistent participation, but which actually represents quite well the story of Eurovision.

Gigliola Cinquetti - Non Ho L'Eta - 1964 Italy (the winning song, and the earliest Euro song I remember as a child)

Vicky Leandros _ Apres Toi - 1972 Luxembourg (even though she is Greek, but she was anyway the winner)

Amina - Le Dernier Qui A Parle - 1991 France (the first time I can recall when a country tried to offer something different; she should have won and changed the face of Eurovision):

Friderika - Kinek Mondjam - 1994 Hungary (even though I don't understand a word; a beautiful simple song well sung; if the rules at that time had permitted her to sing in English or French, maybe she might have won)

Portugal 1964-2008 (well...funny to see how the fashions and haircuts changed through the years!):

So what about Eurovision 2010? Honestly, I don't really care, but maybe I will watch it and who knows, maybe there will emerge one memorable song, one bright comet among the asteroids. Which means almost certainly it will not win...

A proxima (centauri),

7 comentários:

Anónimo disse...

At last, something frivolous!!!!! Just teasing!! Oh well.... what can I say, PO?? You're my musical hero! You know that... Bjs. pcp

Anónimo disse...

Que recordações de infância tenho daquelas noites de eurovisão. A casa cheia de amigos e todos a fazer apostas, incluindo as crianças.Non ho l'eta é também a canção de recordações mais longínquas...Like you PO the Gigliola Cinquetti song is my oldest eurovision memory. Today's Deixa-me rir made me remember happy childwood times. Thanks
P.S. It is more than 20 years I do not watch it, maybe this year...

marialemos disse...


your text is great. the videos so and so, i think. maybe because we now have much better stuff than before. but we had to go through that in order to become what we are now? and it's a popular event aimed to target larger audiences? and (the most important) - are we that old? - ahrrr!!!

Great post Po. Thanks for that.

Philip disse...

Dear Anonimo e MariaL, thank you for your memories. Yes, our family and friends also used to come together for Eurovision parties - it was a big event back then. I suppose for other people nowadays it must be. But somehow there seems less innocence these days, less emphasis on the song, more about the performance, style more than substance (which, I suppose, is not difficult when there is so little substance!) - ooh, sounds like some politicians I could name!
And yes, we are that old...well you are anyway! In my defence I should say that Non Ho L'Eta is the first Euro song I remember, because it was in our record collection, but I was only 3 years old then. The first Eurovision I actually watched, I think, was 1969 when Lulu won (jointly) with the silly Boom-Bang-A-Bang. And I definitely remember listening secretly under the bedsheets with my new pocket transistor radio to Dana winning with All Kinds Of Everything in 1970. I must have been banned from TV that night!
Thanks, PO

marialemos disse...

That's right: I'm that old and still rocking, according to my family, anyway.
Last month went out in London a book on Corporate Social Responsability (CSR)in which the contributor for Portugal was myself. CSR is quite new, not memories:)


Anónimo disse...

Olá..Bom dia..
Concordo em pleno com o seu artigo..apenas uma questão - Quando é que Amália Rodrigues e O livia Newton-John participaram no Evento??? E já agora, Sir Cliff não ganhou em 1968 porque tudo tinha sido combinado para a Espanha ganhar - Franco assim o fez!!

Hi..Good morning..
Agreed..only a question, please: When did Amália Rodrigues and Olivia Newton-John took part in this Event?? By the way, Sir Cliff did not win in 1968 because everything was made to Spain to win - Franco wanted and made it!!

Muito obrigada. Thanks so much...

Philip disse...

Hello Anonimo, thank you for translating into English for me. Actually there is no need, I have my Portuguese dictionary, it's good practice for me! And google has an automatic translator...
Well, I'm glad you question about Amalia. NO, she NEVER participated, I added her name to check if anyone was really paying attention!
As for Olivia N-J, she came 4th for the UK in 1974 with the song Long Live Love behind ABBA's Waterloo...
I didn't know Franco influenced the 1968 result. Spain's "La La La" was truly awful, but at least Sir Cliff's song is still remembered. Actually he also came
3rd in 1973 with Power To All Our Friends, quite a good song. And I should have included another UK song Love City Groove, a funky tune from 1995...
Do you have any favourites?

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