Friday, May 25, 2012

The Amazing World of the Eurovision Song Contest (Baku, Azerbaijan, 2012)

If all you know or have heard about Europe are the financial successes or problems of the European nations in the news, then that is not enough knowledge about Europe. There are many -- other -- essential components.




The world of the Eurovision Song Contest 2012 currently underway in Baku, Azerbaijan, in a thus far fantastic presentation, with the final on Saturday, May 26, 2012, is an amazing musical melting pot that shows the kind of cooperation that is possible between peoples of our Planet Earth, of all origins, of all nations, and of all ages (see the photo linked below of one of the surprising contestants - a group of elder ladies from the Ural Mountains). What a contrast to the above song from Cyprus, our personal favorite.


 Buranovskiye Babushki photograph is linked resized from http://www.buranovskiebabushki.ru/

Europe, especially when viewed in the broader context of related cultures, extends far beyond traditional platitudes and stereotypes.

Take a look below at the musical representatives chosen by European nations to represent them in the contest, choices which show that Europe has a much different character than envisioned by those who just watch recession news on television.

In the list below are the finalists in the Eurovision Song Contest 2012.

[Many links and texts below are adapted from various pages at Wikipedia, but there are also other sources at the various links.]

CYPRUS
Ivi Adamou was born to a Greek Cypriot father and Bulgarian mother and is under contract with Sony Music Greece. Ivi Adamou's "Snow White" La La Love is our Eurovision 2012 favorite and has the most YouTube hits so far of any of the Eurovision 2012 songs. Where the fans are, that's where the votes are. Twitter http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pedf_OQmcmI @IviAdamou #eurovision

RUSSIA
The Russian Eurovision Song Contest entry is Buranovskiye Babushki, a world-wide unique female group from the Ural Mountains (see the photo at the top of this posting) made up of eight sprightly singing and dancing grandmothers (only 6 at a time can sing in Eurovision) who entered the contest to raise money for their Udmurt village. Their recorded songs include, according to the Wikipedia: "Yesterday", "Let It Be","Smoke on the water", "Hotel California" , "The Star Called Sun", "I Am Beautiful", "Sneg-Snezhok", "Chiborio", "Babushki-Starushki". Amazingly, the Russian grannies have a good chance to win this contest.

NORWAY
Tooji (Touraj Keshtkar (Persian: تورج کشتکار‎) was born in Shiraz, Iran, moving to Norway at age one. Tooji is bound to be a star among the ladies.

DENMARK
Soluna Samay was born in Guatemala to German and Swiss parents and attended the American Robert Muller LIFE school.

UNITED KINGDOM
Engelbert Humperdinck (born Arnold George Dorsey) is an Anglo-Indian who was born in Madras, India. Legendary singer, but now 76 years old.

UKRAINE
Gaitana is a an Afro-Ukrainian singer and songwriter of Ukrainian and Congolese descent.

FRANCE
Anggun is French-naturalised singer-songwriter of Indonesian descent -- the first singer from Indonesia to break into American and European record charts.

SWEDEN
Loreen is of Berber-Moroccan descent.

ITALY
Nina Zilli was born in Italy but moved to Ireland in childhood, later studying opera. She also spent two years in the USA in Chicago and New York.

GREECE
Eleftheria Eleftheriou is a Greek-Cypriot singer born in Cyprus.
 
TURKEY
Can Bonomo represents primarily Muslim Turkey.
He is of Sephardic Jewish descent.

SPAIN
Pastora Soler. The album Fuente de luna included her first big Spanish hit, which was also a number one hit in Turkey.

ALBANIA
Rona Nishliu is a Kosovo-Albanian singer.

LITHUANIA
Donny Montell was born in Vilnius, but highly influenced by Michael Jackson, Queen and Freddie Mercury. 

HUNGARY
The four-man group Compact Disco started to perform live in January 2010, mostly in Hungary, but also in Transylvania, Romania.

BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA
As written at her website MayaSar "Together with the Roma Sinfonietta orchestra, Maya recorded Korake ti znam at [Adriano] Pennino’s studios in Rome. It is worth noting that the orchestra regularly collaborates with Oscar winner Ennio Morricone and singers including Quincey Jones, Roger Waters and Michael Bolton."

MALTA
Kurt Calleja is Maltese singer who earned singing experience in the United Kingdom.

SERBIA
Željko Joksimović is known in Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Republic of Macedonia, Croatia, Slovenia, Greece, Germany, Austria.

ICELAND
Greta Salóme plays the violin, also for the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra.

AZERBAIJAN
Sabina Babayeva from this year's host country Azerbaijan (as last year's Eurovision winning country), prior to being selected, recorded Sikhvarulis tamashi as a duet with Anri Jokhadze, who represented Georgia in the contest.

ESTONIA
Ott Lepland is from the Estonian island of Hiiumaa.  In winter, Hiiumaa can be reached from the mainland via a 26.5 km ice road (the longest in Europe) across the frozen Baltic Sea.

ROMANIA
The group Mandinga shot the video of their song Zaleilah in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, in 2012.

MACEDONIA
Kaliopi in her early career toured with Zapro Zaprov "Razvigorče" through Czechoslovakia, Slovenia (then Yugoslavia) and Austria.

IRELAND
Jedward are two identical twins inspired by Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears and the Backstreet Boys.

MOLDOVA
Pasha Parfeny has always been inspired by Stevie Wonder.

GERMANY
Roman Lob is the singer of "Standing Still", a song written by British musician Jamie Cullum.

Yes, the global world has gotten much smaller and much more interconnected, especially in Europe.

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