Saturday, April 30, 2011

Carola takes Barbra and Elvis to #1

As Carola's latest album hits #1 spot in Sweden it proves Carola is going strong. It is actually her 9th number one album! And if you thought she was at her career top in the beginning when Främling broke all the records think twice: six of those nine albums have been 2000's releases! And four of them are either Christmas or religious music and one is a compilation. And now a cover album.
Here are her #1 albums: Främling (1983), Steg för steg (1984), Jul i Betlehem (1999), Sov på min arm (2001), Guld platina och passion (2003), Störst av allt (2005), Från nu till evighet (2006), I denna natt blir världen ny (2007), Elvis, Barbra och jag (2011)

Finland a dark horse?

Keith Mills, the Eurovision guru from All kinds of everything predicts Finland a top-5 placing along with United Kingdom, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Estonia and France! If you don't believe me watch yourself here.

Paradise Oskar's Da da dumb? merchandise now available

Show your support and get your Paradise Oskar Da da dumb? t-shirt, pins and bags from here. There you can also buy his debut album Sunday songs that is released on May 4, 2011.

ESC 2011 Düsseldorf - Here we go!

The press center is open. The technical rehearsals are on going in Esprit Arena. The delegations are arriving. The teams from various fan websites are in town and ready. Has it really already been a year??!!
In the next two weeks I will do my daily round ups what's been going on with combined information from various blogs and websites as I am not there. You can also check 3minutes for updates as their team with Louis & co. are on the spot.
Paradise Oskar and the Finnish team are flying in today and tomorrow they will have the first touch with the stage that looks rather nice as you can see here and here.

Eurovision 2011 on video

Eurovision song contest 2011 rehearsals will start tomorrow. At this point it is good to have a round up of the songs on video. Some countries have released music videos after the previews were sent to EBU, some have only the video available and one can only wonder what they come up with on stage. Here they are:

POLAND - live - music video - English
NORWAY - live - music video
ALBANIA - live Albanese - music video
ARMENIA - live - music video
TURKEY - live - music video
SERBIA - live - preview video - English video
RUSSIA - live - music video
SWITZERLAND - live - music video
GEORGIA - live - music video
FINLAND - live - preview - music video
MALTA - live - music video
SAN MARINO - live - music video
CROATIA - live Croatian - live English - music video
ICELAND - live Icelandic - music video
HUNGARY - live - music video - Hungarian
PORTUGAL - live - music video
LITHUANIA - live
AZERBAIJAN - preview - music video
GREECE - live - music video
BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA - live
AUSTRIA - live
THE NETHERLANDS - live Dutch - music video English
BELGIUM - live - music video
SLOVAKIA - live - music video
UKRAINE - live - preview - video Ukrainian
MOLDOVA - live - music video
SWEDEN - live - music video
CYPRUS - live - music video
BULGARIA - live - music video
FYR MACEDONIA - live - music video
ISRAEL - live - preview - music video
SLOVENIA - live Slovenian - live English - music video English
ROMANIA - live - music video
ESTONIA - live
BELARUS - music video
LATVIA - live - preview - music video
DENMARK - live
IRELAND - live - music video
FRANCE - live - music video
ITALY - live - preview - music video
UNITED KINGDOM - live - preview - music video
GERMANY - live - music video
SPAIN - live - music video

Friday, April 29, 2011

#1 in Finland this week: Apulanta - Vääryyttä

Veteran rockers Apulanta shot straight to #1 this week with Vääryyttä and Jennifer Lopez drops to #2 after 8 weeks on top with On the floor but her new single Papi enters already at #9.

The Icelandic affair - is it coming home?

Iceland has a different story to tell in Eurovision 2011. The usual plans changed when one of the finalist Sigurjón Sjonni Brink, aged 36, suddenly died only 12 days before the semifinal he was scheduled to perform of a brain haemorrhage caused by an aneurysm.. His wife and co-writer of the song  Thorunn needed urgently to decide how to go. She came to the conclusion with his friends that Sigurjón would have wanted the show go on. Six of his collegues joined forced and performed the song, it qualied for the final where it won easily the Icelandic final (25.449 votes against the fan favourite Jóhanna's Nótt with 18.506)
Aftur heim become Coming home for Düsseldorf and is performed by guitarist Vignir Snaer Vigfusson, drummer Benedikt Brynleifsson, piano player Palmi Sigurhjartarson, guitarist Gunnar Olason, bass player Hreimur Örn Heimisson and singer Matthias Matthiasson under name Sjonni's Friends.
Gunnar, Vignir and Benedikt all have already Eurovision experience: Gunnar as part of TwoTricky in 2001, Vignir with Birgitta in 2003 and co-wrote Selma's entry in 2005, Benedikt played with Eirikur in Helsinki 2007. Also Vignir, Benedikt, Gunnar and Hreimur performed with Sjonni in the Icelandic national final in 2010 with Waterslide
Sjonni was a real Eurovision fan with his wife and this would have been already his 5th national final song in Iceland. They submitted the song in the very last minute. The day before the deadline there still was no demo recorded and the song had English lyrics (as Countryside) only but the rules requested lyrics in Icelandic!
Thorunn Clausen herself suffered and miraculously survived a stroke in 2009 and wrote the lyrics of Coming home as a vivacious, optimistic celebration and a reminder of the fragility of life. She has four children by Sjonni.

"Some say I'm a bit of a fool
Driving down the road I stop to listen
I hear your laughter in the trees
your whisper in the breeze
my love is you"

On a personal note I wasn't really keeon on this song at first and jumped the wagon "this only won because of Sjonni's death" and wanted Jóhanna to win but now I see it as a tribute, and a possible black horse. Not many believe in this song's chances in Düsseldorf but I think they will hit the right note and take Iceland to the final. Well written and performed little song that hopefully gets the message through with its own merits, not for the sad story. Do you think the message will come home in Europe?

Italy: Where is the official CD?

For most of us finding and buying the Eurovision CD in a local recordstore is easy enough but not in Italy. The country may be back in contest and RAI is doing an effort but the record distributors are not warming up it seems. Fans are reporting all over Italy the shops are not having the CD and when asked -  if someone actually makes an effort to investigate the matter -  the result is "fuori catalogo", or "out of print". That concerns all the main chains (FNAC, Ricordi/Feltrinelli, Mondadori/Messaggerie Musicali). EMI, the distributor os the CD is not doing any effort to distribute it, and at the moment the only way is to order it online in Italy is frpm  Discoteca Laziale. (Which used to be MY recordstore in Rome the good old days when I lived in a walking distance from it and indeed that shop does have a great selection, helpful staff and in short: the best record store in Rome!)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Raphael Gualazzi's three second breath

The first Italian represant (not counting various Melonis and Meneguzzis...) in the Eurovision song contest of the 2000's Raphael Gualazzi has been busy lately with his concerts and promo gigs around Italy and beyond, including the recent ESC Party in London. Follia d'amore or Madness of love may be old news in Italy as he has released the follow up there, A three second breath
In the pic above you have the cover of the before mentioned ESC song with it's pinkish line.... It includes all three versions of the song.

Far l'amore con Raffaella Carrá and Bob Sinclar

Italian diva, legend and icon Raffaella Carrá is not only on the spotlight with her coming Eurovision presentation in Italy but also for the remix of her old hit A far l'amore comincia tu, now titled Far l'amore and remixed by the French guru Bob Sinclar. It is destined to become the hit of the summer in Italian clubs as everyone knows the original. Now they have also a video - without La Carrá - shot in Plastic, in Milan owned by Dolce & Gabbana who are also featured in the video. How many other celebritisies can you spot? It also features a rather typical Italian taxi ride.... :-)
Now also the plans by Rai2 how they will treat Eurovision song contest final on May 14, 2011 have been clarified. They will have La Carrá presenting the show before it starts and then the show itself will be shown as it is (well, isn't that in the rules that one must show it as it is?) and during the interval and afterwords she will talk and comment about it with her guests in the studio in Rome. She will also give out the Italian votes. So, the feared option by many fans that they would be talking all through it showing only bits here and there is not materializing.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Musiqq & co. in Belgium

Not all Eurovision promo events take the same spotlight like the one in Amsterdam or the other one in Kyiv or are as succesful and big. Gent in Belgium was attended only by the artists from Latvia, Slovakia and Romania. I have no idea who organized it and how but apparently at least the guys from Musiqq and Hotel FM did also other promo gigs around Gent those days and Witloof Bay from Belgium joined them at some point. Don't know really what Twiins were up to?
Anyways, Musiqq is giving final touches to their performance and on Friday April 29 will give a concert in Riga before heading off to Düsseldorf on May 3 with their team that includes besides the four backing singers the Head of delegation and the Head of press, once again the lovely Aija Medinika (rock it girl! xox)

Malta: Glen Vella is getting ready

Glen Vella has taken his bubbly personality to UK ESC party where she met Dana International and Nikki French amongst others and visited also Italy with a performance in Top of the Pops following Blue's footsteps a few weeks ago. And before heading to Düsseldorf he met his fans in Valletta signing his Cds.... Busy boy. But after all he's only got One life....

Kyiv celebrates a big Eurovision promo with Mika

Some 200.000 people gathered in the main square of Kyiv to the farewell concert of Mika Newton before she heads to Düsseldorf. She had invited along Austria's Nadine Beiler, Moldova's Zdob si Zdub, Azerbaizan's Nikki and Eldar, Amaury Vassili from France and United Kingsom's Blue making this a real treat. The artists of course shared compliments and will meet again in Germany next week. Watch the artists perform in a beautiful city scenery here.

ESC 2011: Paradise Oskar speaks out, vol 3

In this final part Paradise Oskar comments the last songs in the second semifinal and the Big5. read the first part here and the second part here. For the record, he doesn't believe in pre-contest favourite France's chances...

FYR Macedonia: Nice eastern sound and Kalinka mood. Reminds me a bit of Moldova's Hora hora song a couple of years ago. Absolutely fantastic accordeon in c-part of the song. It's nice they send something that doesn't try to be Swedish or American but the melody is forgettable. And the intro doesn't help either.
Israel: She can sing, at least on video. Credit to her she has written the song herself. If she does poorly she can only blame herself. The sound and the melody have been heard many times before and this isn't giving any credit to Israel. Hard to get the lyrics with this mix of Hebrew and English.
Slovenia: Good singer, and the looks help, too. Do you know how old she is? The melody is a bit boring and the sound weird. Confusing: is this rock or what they are looking for? And the preview video is in Slovenian but she will sing then in English?
Romania: Good stuff! Modern pop sound, except the chorus. Lyrics are rather nice even if with clichés. The bass in the chorus is a bit disturbing making the whole song a bit bland, would be better without it.
Estonia: Modern and new sound in Eurovision. Melodic and sing-a-long chorus. Positive and hits with the first hearing. Not the best but nice little tune in all. I don't get the lyrics though: what happens on that street and why an Estonian girl is singing about Rockefeller?
Belarus: Not totally hopeless, the chorus has ok melody. Even dancable. Starts with an annoying "hey hey yeah yeah" that's always irritating. Totally useless tect with phrases clued together and some "I love Belarus" in between.
Latvia: The singer has a different, nice voice and the chorus has a good melody. Makes clear what's the title of the song. But nothing extraordinary, a bit bland and boring even with the rap part. Is this modern r'n'b or rock? I think this is lame rock and leaves a strange aftertaste.
Denmark: Nicely melodic song that sticks to your head. Rather good lyrics without clichés. But I follow the Swedish Melodifestivalen and this is so similar to Andreas Johnson's Sing for me from 2006. And I have heard a Japanese song that this is even more alike. This leaves a sad feeling you have heard this before.
Ireland: What positive can I say about this now? Rather modern and surely works on dancefloor. The chorus is catchy but annoys me already with first hearing. They've got the attitude righ in performance. But totally annoying song! Nice though that these two are the ones sing "da da dam" too. We couldn't be more different!
France: Different from the rest. Opera song. Good singer who takes his space. But this could have been even more boombastic, now the song kind of stops and the beautiful and catchy chorus you are expecting never materializes fully. It's a bit boring you don't remember the melody afterwords.
Italy: Also this is different from the rest in its jazziness. Gives you good feeling with its down to earth groove. Especially the trumpet solo is nice. Yet the chorus is a bit hard to tell apart and make out the story of the lyrics when switching the language all the time. In three minutes stage version there's no time for the pianosolo which is a shame.
United Kingdom: They can sing. The 90's boyband thing will appeal to little girls and not so little who will vote them just because they are Blue. It's the same song you hear on radio every day. Basic radio pop, well produced. To my ears this is nothing original and therefor I don't even want to hear this til the end...
Germany: I had to listen to this right away I heard Lena is back to defend her victory. Yet another such a cute girl... Lena sounds cute whatever she sings. The song has an exciting, waiting atmoshere that in the end goes nowhere, like it was a long long intro to something. It's fast but it doesn't make you want to dance. Is it planned or do they want to show a different Lena?
Spain: Happy song that brings back memories from the 90's. The best parts are Lucia's legs. Fake. Goes nowhere. They can just fake the whole thing through. 

Albums that have shaped my music taste 6: Madonna - True Blue

Mind you, I used to hate Madonna. Never got into Like a virgin or Material girl. Then came Into the groove, still one of my all time favourite songs. Then I discovered  Dress you up and Angel and by the time True Blue album came out in 1986 I was a devoted fan and this album cemented by adoration for her. Some 25 years after I'm still a fan and religiously buy her albums and generally like them. But this album must have been the period of my ultimate fanhood with fantastic singles one after another: Live to tell (#1), Papa don't preach (#1), Open your heart (#1), True blue (#3) and finally La isla bonita (#4). And I'm not alone. The album has sold over 24 million copies to date, and went to #1 in 28 countries.
And by the time her new single Like a prayer from the next album was premiered on MTV, on my birthday btw,  I remember being at home the MTV open waiting for it all day long until the video was shown late evening.... but that's another story!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Parody guys present Popular!

Here it is, the parody video of the season: Dekel and Bastien's loving tribute to Eric Saade and Popular. Enjoy!

UPDATE: They have made Ilta-Sanomat in Finland, too. Here

ESC 2011: Paradise Oskar speaks out, vol 2

Paradise Oskar continues with his likes and dislikes, opinions and comments on the songs of the second semifinal. Read the first part here. The last part is coming tomorrow.

Hungary: This makes you wanna dance instantly! Really modern, today's pop. Cascada meets Celine Dion. The chorus is really melodic and gets into your head. The song itself isn't that original but stays in your mind for its strong atmosphere. The lyrics are a bit lame, I wish she had sung about something more original.
Portugal: Gives you a good mood, a happy protest song against something. I wish they had done something funnier than those signs, change cloathes with each other or something. Very theatral but not surprising. I don't get it all in the end.
Lithuania: This is written by someone who really knows the art of songwriting, melodies and harmonies. Much more interresting than most. Excellent singer. But it's hard to listen til the end. The beginning is boring until the Disney gear kicks in and the orchestration gets more and more interesting but it's too late by then. Lyrics aren't that interesting either.
Azerbaijan: Nice pop tune, you could hear this on radio. The chorus is quite catchy and even maybe a little bit touching. But not so interesting, original or personal. Lyrics are rather bland just "running scared, running scared..." Overproduced.
Greece: I don't really listen to hiphop so I'm not the right one to comment on this. Maybe he's telling important things I don't know? But it's tough, the intro goes on and on, then comes the rap, and finally the chorus comes going nowhere. Gloomy and dark. Not for me.
Bosnia-Herzegovina: Nice folksy rhythm music! Rather autenthic with nice groove. The same rhythm as in Norway's winning song by Rybak. The musicians are pretenting to play the instruments in a fantastic way, especially the woman who plays Rhodes even if the piano is playing. It's not the same thing! Not catchy enough to sing along except the wou-wou parts that fit this song.
Austria: Really good singer and voice. Melody is nice, too. Has the Disney-vibe but in a nice way. But it isn't giving the feeling the singer is telling you something. Bland lyrics and it really never gets going.
Netherlands: This is so good, really good! He is my favourite singer of these year's singers and has amazing voice! Absolutely the best melody and modern sound that works. This makes me feel so good! I don't quite get the lyrics though, and I preferred it in Dutch when I really didn't understand a thing. The chorus could be a bit stronger so people would have something to hold on to. 
Belgium: Full accapella that gets some extra points from me instantly. They do a great effort and they all know their part. I hope they can pull this live as well as on record. But the song is a bit bland and the only thing making it stand out is it's accapella. I wonder if people will vote something this jazzy? Maybe there's even too many drum solos and such...
Slovakia: How old are these girls? It will be nice to meet them in Germany. Rather nice and catchy melody. Not bad but is this slow or fast? What is it all about (while watching the video with woman giving birth, floods, and such)?  I'm confused. Should I feel warm hearted or go to dance? 
Ukraine: I only watched this til the end because Mika is so cute and can sing. Acoustic guitar and the bass remind me of 90's pop like Britney Spears and Backstreet Boys. But this is heard so many times. And if you have 3 minutes why waste it singing stuff like "we are people living on a planet"...
Moldova: These guys had last time the granny beating the drum! Now the only positive thing are the Ku Klux Klan hats and the fairy on wheels (not seen on preview video). This isn't going anywhere. You watch the live performance if you don't have to listen. Boring melody if it even has one?  Does it have a chorus? It's energetic but still not.
Sweden: Great modulation. One recognises Fredrik Kempe song right away. Very Swedish and polished. They have put a lot of effort and you can see and hear it. You can sing along the chorus and dance to it. This has a great stage show, breaking glass and all but what's the purpose of it? Only seeking attention? Everyone will surely remember the song's title as it is repeated so many times it starts to irritate in the end. Otherwise there isn't much of a message, is there? Is that Rasputin thing a sample? If it is then it's against the rules but it works here.
Cyprus: First this sounds nice with real instruments, mandolin and such. Appearence of the female singer all of sudden is a surprise. But such a artifical video: man standing in suit in a forest and on a beach. Melody doesn't go anywhere. Then comes the rougher part of the song in the middle. Leaves you with strange feelings.
Bulgaria: She has a nice voice. There are some dangerously high notes but I believe she will manage them live, too. Chorus has a flexible melody, better than most. Not bad at all. The sound is very 90's and heard before though. The staging is a bit strange when they sit at first and then stand up but the song stays the same.

Paradise Oskar's favourites from the second semifinal are The Netherlands, Sweden and Hungary. "I met the Dutch guys in Amsterdam and they were really pleased I named them as my favourites" he tells. He met more closely also the artists from Austria, Bulgaria and Ukraine but is not promising any Eurovision romances yet. "One girl came to tell me how much she likes my song but unfortunately I don't remember who it was!" he confesses...

Source: Iltalehti

Return to da da dams, ding dongs and boom booms

Eurovision has a long history with insane song titles and lyrics. It all started very quickly when the songwriters realized they needed a hook that could be understood in all corners of Europe, in every language. So, put something that means nothing (or sounds in other languages like it means nothing even if in your language it does, like Oui, oui, oui, oui, Pomme, pomme, pomme  Bana bana or Qele qele) and preferably repeat it over and over again until boredom or irritation and you were at least noticed.
1960's and 1970's were the golden era with this stuff when songs like Voi voi, Tipi-tii, Boum badaboum, Ring-dinge-ding, Tom tom tom and Daili dou were sent with variable success. Simple La, la la or Boom bang-a-bang and Ding-a-dong proved more popular. Yet by the critics Eurovision is just this; nonsense lyrics but then doesn't it just prove the fact they are memorable?
The 1980's didn't count much on this strategy when one can only pick up Bem bom and Didai didai dai and the icing on the cake Diggi-loo, diggi-ley as well as Boogaloo. The Swedes liked the loo those years.... 
The 1990's are almost totally absent of this fun stuff but in the 2000's we had Nanana, Rimi rimi ley and Ninanajna... and then all of sudden in 2011 we are supposed to go boom, boom, ding dong and da da dam. Or even haba haba that apparently does mean something - but who understands that? All in one year. What happaened?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

ESC 2011: Paradise Oskar speaks out, vol 1

Axel Ehnström aka Paradise Oskar (20) has listened this year's entries with Iltalehti and speaks out with his honest opinions. I have freely translated what he says and I think it's kind of refreshing he does it and doesn't just say nice words about everybody and every song as so many other artists do when asked. So, what does he really think of his competitors when there's a bit over a week before the start of rehearsals in Dusseldorf?

Poland: You can dance to this. She has written the song herself which is a plus. Not very original and had she sung in English it would have been just one of the many. 
Norway: This is so good and positive it's hard to say something negative. Happy lyrics and melody, no weird gimmicks that would put you off. But when heard many times becomes a bit irritating and no one understands the chorus in swahili.
Albania: Exciting! Almost like progressive rock sound. And she surely can sing. But I didn't get the song. Eagle and freedom? The bridge to the chorus is the best part but it could be clearler and happier. Tends to stay a bit too gloomy and dark.
Armenia: She's cute. You get the Lena vibe in the beginning but it doesn't matter. But I don't want to hear this till the end. Lyrics are filled with clichés and annoying "I love you boom boom chaka chaka". The chorus is totally different from the rest. Weird song.
Turkey: Nice singing voice and sing-a-long chorus. Not very deep lyrics but still not too shallow. "Life is beautiful, live it up" fits nicely to the pop feeling of the song. Yet the sound is rather heard, 1990's Green Day. Could be a bit fresher.
Serbia: Oh, this sounds nice! Nicely old-fashioned sound that still sounds cool. Happy 1970's colorful performance and gives you good vibes. She sings well. But the song doesn't go anywhere, just keeps going round and round and the chorus isn't so catchy. Or is it just the language I don't understand?
Russia: Let's go out and party. The best part is again the bridge to the chorus that is easy sing-a-long. Generally I'm against all these wow-wow-wows as they say nothing. Lacks personality and is heard so many times before. Not the best from RedOne and Alexey is no Lady Gaga. Easily forgettable.
Switzerland: When Anna starts singing it gives me good mood, this feels happy and autenthic. Anna is so cute... I'm single but here's already another candidate.... On the negative side there's no personal side to the sing, just telling how everybody love everybody and world is a happy place. The melody should be happier to overcome these clichés. A bit boring.
Georgia: Dark and energetic and different from the rest. Some surely will like but not my cup of tea. The new singer is better. I didn't quite want to listen to this all as it's a bit scary. What does it talk about? Hopefully not about something positive. Makes me feel like they blame me of something... Aggressive and confusing.
Malta: The best thing is his voice. It's not beautiful but it is interesting. He surely must have listened a lot Michael Jackson! The modulation in the end is fucking awesome! You don't know where it comes from and where it gos to and it surely wakes you up. The chorus doesn't stand out, the song just go on and on, it could have been bigger. Not my kind of music.
San Marino: Such beautiful landskapes in the video. Modern and recorded with real instruments. A little song without real lift up or big emotions. She performs it a bit too surely, without feeling. Missing the edge. Can't listen to the end... next!
Croatia: Chorus is danceable and it has a nice melody. The song is much better in Croatian. If they will have those DJs jumping out of the desk they get a point from me. But it looks fake, she has no party mood whatsover. Rather bland and sung in English lacks personality.
Iceland: Feels authentic and there are different and interesting voices, nice trumpets. In the end instead of modulation an anti-modulation that is really cool. Makes you wanna hum along, even if not so much as they propably whish for. Not quite as catchy and sing-a-long as it was ment to be.

And what about his own chances: After hearing the songs in first semifinal he hopes he will reach the final. According the musical quality of the entries he thinks he should be there. He also should stand out being the only "guy with a guitar" this year and he is not bothered by the comparison with last year's Tom Dice from Belgium: "He sung about himself and his guitar and I didn't find the subject that interesting. There's no sense standing alone on stage with a guitar if you don't have a melody that people can sing along with you!" Like "da da dam" for example....

To be continued...

(Source Iltalehti)

Happy Easter!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The parody guys are going to be Popular- are you ready??

Remember the fantastic parody of Kuunkuiskaajat made by Dekel Ben Avi and Bastien Venturi last year? I mean this! The guys are back with a new one for the 2011 edition. They're going to be Popular! Soon here. Here's a teaser!

Paradise Oskar, Geir Rönning and others sing together

Vår tid - Vårt land or Our time - Our land is a single recorded by some Finnish Swedish speaking artists  under name Artister för tolerans och öppenhet (Artists for tolerance and openness) including Paradise Oskar, Geir Rönning, Elin Blom,  Nina Lassander, Ville Pusa - all known from Eurovision or Euroviisut, Swedish Idol or MGP Nordic along with Fredrik Furu, Andre Linman, Redrama, Frida Andersson and Krista Siegfrieds. I don't know what's the purpose of this affair? Is it pro-Swedish language, that some feel is threatened in Finland after True Finns election thriumph? As you may know Finland is a bilingual but the talk of making Swedish voluntary instead of obligatory in the school goes on since forever, and the chance this happening is maybe bigger than ever now (yet very far becoming a reality, me thinks).
Finland has had several songs in Swedish in the national Eurovision finals over the years but only once a song in Swedish has won (Fri? in 1990) which surely wasn't the strongest of them all. On the other hand many Swedish speaking singers have won from Ami and Monica Aspelund to Riki Sorsa, Carita Holmström, Ann-Christine,  Marion Rung and Edea's Monika Krook.
There are some 290.000 Swedish speaking Finns (less than 5,5% of the population) and some 60.000 more living in Sweden. The Finlandssvenskar live mostly in the south and west coast and in autonomic Ålands Islands.

What do Kuunkuiskaajat think of ESC 2011?

Kuunkuiskaajat have not only met Axel aka Paradise Oskar and given him some good advice the past few days they have also listened the Eurovision 2011 songs and have said their opinion. They think the trend is much younger and poppier than last year, thanks to Lena? with the almost total absense of big power ballads and ethnic music. They also tell in YLE's inteview they have a new approach to Eurovision as they have been also checking out some national finals this year and not only the winners. Do we have real fans growing here?
Anyways Johanna's favourites are Switzerland, Greece (if she can get it without the rap!) and Iceland. Her uptempo favourite is Ireland and she also mentions Italy. Susan then likes Cyprus best and goes also for Switzerland and also Belgium. They both agree that of  Big5 Germany, Italy and France have strong entries and very different ones from each other this year but Spain and UK don't impress them that much.
The worst by far are Belarus and Portugal but there are also many other useless and forgettable tracks. And it's impossible to predict the winner.
And what does Paradise Oskar think about his competitors? Find out here soon.... :-)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Jedward Vs. Blue - the naked truth

Not so long ago Blue took it all off for a Attitude photoshoot that surely didn't hurt their chances. Now Jedward follows with GT photoshoot and behind the scenes video you can see here. The fight is on. The Lipstick guys have also taken every possibility to badmouth the British veterans. But I think Blue are with a chance to win it all and wouldn't be suprised if Jedward would do the Irish turkey trick - their live vocal capacities are pretty much the same!
Lipstick vs. I can? Grown up muscle guys with voices  vs. skinny quite tunedeath teenage boys, who do you prefer?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Kuunkuiskaajat back at it!

Namely the bubbly girls will deliver the Finnish votes on May 14 in Eurovision so get ready for some giggles and a lot of laughter! You have been warned! Meanwhile, here they are on stage in Oslo where they just missed the final by lousy three points....

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

ESC 2011: The stage is looking fine....

The concstruction of the stage is going on and on daily basis there are more pictures emerging and what we can see now it looks very promising I think. What do you think? More pics here.

Norway: Haba haba gets a video

Norway is doing well in polls this year but will the televoters go for it? A lot depends on Stella's vocals when it counts as they're rather limited, even said by herself. It's fun when you hear it but easily forgettable in the end. Anyways here's a video for the Haba-affair now. In a few weeks we will know if it will follow the footsteps of another Norwegian fan favourite, or Stella's twinsister some 20 years ago. With a very different results.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Paradise Oskar in Slovakia, Austria and in a new video

Paradise Oskar went to Slovakia last weekend and won an international choir contest with his choir Con Caronca from Oulunkylän Pop & Jazz conservatory. On the way home he stopped in Vienna for some interviews. That has been his only international promo after the concert in Amsterdam. This week he is doing some promo in Finland and maybe a visit to Sweden but then it's already off to Germany in less than two weeks. His album will be released on May 4, 2011 but he has also had time to do shoot a new video, that you can see in ILtalehti's website here.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Jaana Pelkonen - member of parliament!

Jaana Pelkonen, the lovely hostess of Eurovision 2007 in Helsinki as well as several Finnish national finals and YLE's commentator since Kyiv 2005 to Oslo 2010 has been elected to the new Finnish parliament in the election today. Her National Coalition Party also became the biggest party resisting the attack of True Finns. Jaana was running from Helsinki district and got  5.828 votes. She is already in the Helsinki city council and has been working as an assistant to a member of parliament previously. Congrats Jaana!
I will update this tomorrow with exact numbers when the results have been confirmed.

Hanna Pakarinen turns 30

Hanna Pakarinen has gone a long way from winning the very first Finnish Idols in 2004 to Eurovision song contest 2007 in homeground in Helsinki with Leave me alone and having a sort of a rebirth in Finnish last year with her success album Paperimiehen tytär with hits like the title track, Se yksi ainoa and Miehet. And as a treat here's her version of Un banc, un ambre, une rue in Finnish and acoustic. Congratulations Hanna!!!

Raffaella Carrá and Nico Della Valle as spokepersons

It seems almost certain that Raffaella Carrà will give out the Italian votes in the Eurovision 2011 final. She is also hosting the show from the RAI studios in Rome for the occasion that is to relaunch the contest in Italy after 14 year's of absence. Rai5 will broadcast the semifinal 2 where Italians can vote while the final will be on Rai2.
For San Marino the spokesperson is most likely Miodio's lead singer Nico Della Valle Miodio is the first and only Sammarinese entrant until this year when Senit tries to get to the final. San Marino's TV will broadcast all three shows on both digital and analogical channels that can be seen in some parts of Italy as well.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Albums that have shaped my music taste 5: Kate Bush - The whole story

I know this is a compilation but it is the first Kate Bush album I bought and fell in love with her. I knew but didn't own some of the songs before of course, classics like Wuthering heights, Babooshka, Wow, The man with the child in his eyes and Running up that hill, all included in this greatest hits. Some of the other favourites of mine are December will be magic again and Cloudbusting but sadly they were not included so I had to find them elsewhere as this purchase made me search for her old albums and the ones to come after with songs like This woman's work and Deeper understanding. I lost her a bit since, also because since 1993 she has released only one album, Aerial in 2005.
But now I'm ready to get all excited again as today she has released a new album Director's cut! Or, actually it has remakes, new versions as they should have been of her songs from the 1989 and 1993 albums and it is very promising! Like this Deeper understanding 2011.
Shame the spectacular duet Alice-Kate Bush has never materialized even if time to time there has been talk....

Glen Vella in Italy

After UK's Blue Malta's Glen Vella visits Italy and performs One life in Top of the Pops tv-show. Glen will stay in Italy for a few days and do some promo for himself. Which raises a question why? As he performs in the first semifinal that will not be seen in Italy and Italians cannot vote in. Or is he simply confident he will make it to the final? Or is he pleasing the Italian and Sammarinese jurors Riccardo Cocciante, Leonardo De Amicis and Carmen Lasorella whose votes turned Glen a winner in Malta instead of Richard Edwards with Finally.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Kate Ryan's Lovelife

Kate Ryan leaves her French affairs aside with the new album Electroshock to be released this summer. The first single Lovelife is out now.

Eric Saade releases a video and fires the dancers

Eric Saade has also released an official videoclip for his entry Popular. Dark and gloomy affair it is that surely doesn't make me like the song more or better. Rather the contrary. Besides it's so dark one can't really make out what's it about: Is it remake of West side story's gangs or Michael Jackson's living deads from Thriller?
And as expected he has changed his dance crew for Germany in Malena Ernman fashion: out those who can't sing! And only one of the Melodifestivalen dancers made the cut it seems - there it was all so easy with play-back backing vocals, just like Malena. But he gets to bring his glass cage to break on stage, maybe that will take the attention from the lacking vocals?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

#1 in Finland this week: Jennifer Lopez - On the floor

You thought I had forgotten about the number ones? No. Jennifer Lopez sits firmly at #1 for the 7th week with On the floor followed by Lauri's Heavy at #2 and Sunrise Avenue's Hollywood Hills at #3. 
In albums Foo Fighters drop Anna Abreu's new one from the top spot and Carola's combilation enters at #4.

Marion: Married again!

Marion Rung has married in secret last Saturday. The new husband is 22 years her junior and likes to keep out of public eye. Her previous husband died in  2006. "You never know what's around the corner" she comments happily in today's Iltalehti. "Life is full of surprises!" Blogilkar congratulates!

UK: Blue release official video for I can

If you thought the video we have seen so far with the guys on a rooftop over London was the official video you were wrong. The guys have made a new video and it's simple and effective with a wet ending - is that a hint for Eric Saade? They charmed the fans i Amsterdam and the gay audience with their Attitude photo shoot and are amongst the favourites to win according the bettings odds. I think UK is closer to the sixth win since 1997. BBC may have gotten it all right this time. Wouldn't it be nice if another Big5 country would win right after Germany? My bet is on UK, not France this year.

Israel: Ding dong goes clubbing

Dana International is finishing her video for Ding dong but a club remix has been released in meantime. The mix is by Vooz Brothers who has worked with Dana in the past as well. She's also doing some PR in Ireland this weekend.

Eurovision 2011 - out n'loud!

The one and only Finnish gay men's choir Out N'loud will organize an official Eurovision happening in Helsinki on Saturday May 14, 2011. You can watch the final on megascreen in Kulttuuriareena Gloria in Pieni Roobertinkatu 12 in Helsinki along with out and loud people. The choir will also perform Eurovision songs to warm up the atmosphere so if you don't fancy watching it alone do join in! Fun starts at 8pm local time and tickets are 10 euros. More info here.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Spain: Lucia stays Galician

Daniel Motiño Camúñez reports:
Lucía Perez keeps on preparing her trip to Düsseldorf and the promotion of Que me quiten lo bailao. After a short trip to Zurich to make awarness among the Galizian population there, she has been in Granada before the football game Spain - Czech Republic, in the Moto GP in Jerez and in a couple or radio night shows, by night I mean 01:35AM and in a couple of morning TV-shows. However the impact in the media at this stage is below zero. Most of the Spanish people do not know about the song or the artist, and even some of them even think a ficticial duo called Lore y Macu from a Tele-5 TV Show, the same channel that tried to boicot Eurovision with Karmele and the Tsunami. Who to blame? TVE again; the national broadcaster's interest in the contest has been never lower, a situation that reminds the 80'. Lucia has not even moved to Madrid or Barcelona, she stays on Galicia and connects per telephone or via live conference when she is invited to any shows, always shortly. Lucía seems to stay confident in her home land, where she already has some popularity, and recently became "Predilect Daughter" from O Incio, her home town.

Today Lucia will release her new album Cruza los Dedos,  the first one to be released all over Spain, including Que me quiten lo bailao and Abrázame, thanks God she decided to drop C'est la vie it's all right; her producer is Chema Purón who discovered Lucía and has been next to her through all her career. Purón is not a new name for Eurovisión since he wrote Vuelve Conmigo and Colgado de un sueno. Lucía will be signing albums in the main Galician towns, and it is still to be confirmed when in Madrid.

She was also attending and singing in the Fashion Gala Lucus. She already announced that she will be wearing Galician fashion, which could be Zara or Adolfo Dominguez who knows and her dress wil be full of colour. Please not Lydia again! She has been asked about her favorite songs and they are United Kingdom, (well she said England...), Austria (thanks God she did not say Australia) and Switzerland. It might be a coincidence but are the three countries where she has focused her international promotion.

Another of the details of Que me quiten lo bailao is her dance routine and her staging. Lucía will be with five dancers, three male and two female ones who also will sing backing vocals - so typical for Spain..Are we doing Soraya again? The dance routine has been created by Lola González, director of the dance talent show Fame Academy where the three singers come from. Today will take place in Barcelona a flash mob with the dance routing, to support also Lucía and her song.

On a brigher note would like to highlight the great work from the AEV Spanish Fanclub who once again did this fantastic lipdub of Que me quiten lo bailao in Barcelona during its last meeting. Here.

Carola: Enough is enough remixed

Carola has released a remix by Adam Rickfors of her latest single Enough is enough (No more tears), here. This is of course a cover of Barbra Streisand and Donna Summer (here) off Carola's latest album, Barbra, Elvis och jag that entered the Swedish album charts at #2 and stays in the spot still. This Saturday she will hit the road for a couple of concerts and then she will be touring Sweden most of the October-December 2011.

Anna Eriksson in Sweden

Anna Eriksson's delayed conquer trip to Sweden finally took place and this morning she was interviewed by Nyhetsmorgon, watch it here. She also sung two of her songs, Garden of love and Mad girl's love song from her latest and 8th studio album but the first album in English, Garden of love released in Finland and Norway last year. The Norwegian edition includes also her duet with Seal, You get me. Now let's wait and see if she will repeat her huge success over the years in Finland also abroad...  I certainly hope so as she's a great singer, song writer and amazing live performer. And of course she is the OGAE Second chance contest winner in 2000 with Oot voimani mun.... She has also covered Sonja Lumme's Eläköön elämä but has declared she is not going to participate again in Euroviisut... Shame!

Paradise Oskar's Sunday songs

Paradise Oskar will release his debut album Sunday songs on May 4, 2011. He has written all the songs himself and now you can pre-order it here
Here's the track listing: Da Da Dam, Jimmy’s Song, Sarah The Sparrow, Stupid Little Fool, Just Leave, Sunday Everyday, Miss Nobody, Dear Mother, The Invisible Ones

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The French entry that never was....

Eurovision.tv reports that Daniel Moyne, the composer of the French entry Sognu revealed a few days ago in a press conference that the song Maria was ment to be the French entry this year until they found out Vassily had sung it in concerts before September 2010 and therefor they had to find a new song. Bye bye Maria, welcome Sognu....  I think it all ended better....

Italian fans delighted for Raffaella Carrá

It's official: Raffaella Carrà will host the Italian night of Eurovision song contest 2011 and the fans seem to be more than happy and delighted. La Carrà will surely attract a lot of attention and viewers and her aim is to re-present the Eurovision to Italians who in general have forgot all about it the past 14 years. And an introduction is needed to anyone who last saw the show in the 1990's as it has changed so much! 
Raphael Gualazzi himself is also picking up a lot of support after the initial shock when he was chosen. Even more the fans are happy and satisfied as it seems the RAI bosses are serious about the affair this time and even La Carrá herself said something like "if Italy wins we will do something spectacular!" So, Italy is ready and willing to win again! 
And it seems all the Italian GLBT sites have come Eurovision crazy as well. Stories about Dana International, Marija Serifovic, t.A.T.u, Sestre, Verka Serduchka and of course ABBA, Celine Dion, Olivia Newton-John and likes fill the netpages. And Blue has always been very popular in Italy so it's perfect way to relaunch  the group there and also the Eurovision showing Italians that big acts do participate in it. Good times ahead! Forza Italia!

Gadget

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