Saturday, July 26, 2008

... non era meglio silenzio?

Before I go another thing from the past. When Lordi won in 2006 Tomi Metsäketo actually came second with a song sung in italian but he wasn't first in the Finnish finals: already back in 2002 Taina Kokkonen sung Silenzio and came 11th. Shame as musically the song is very good: catchy, poppy and memorable. Taina was ok, too, and looked pretty (well, the dress maybe didn't...?) but. A big BUT. The lyrics? They don't fit the music at all and make italian sound really weird. Maybe it all looked fine on paper... It didn't stop her moving to Italy and marrying an italian! Judge yourself here:

CatCat Virpi's Hot Summer

Virpi, the blond one from CatCat is slowly returning to music business after having babies and enjoying family life. The first single is Kuuma kesä (Hot summer), a cover of Gyllene Tider's Sommartider featuring quite a few other girls. With this I will leave you for some hot summer holidays.... See you soon!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Hanna Pakarinen wins Iskelmä-Finlandia... not

Iskelmä-Finlandia is the most important single annual award in Finland for artists and was given for the 8th time this year. This year's nominee were Muska Babitzin (Kirka's sister), Maarit Hurmerinta, Olli Lindholm (of Yö group), Timo Rautiainen and the youngest nominee ever Hanna Pakarinen. Previous winners include Marion Rung, Jari Sillanpää and Paula Koivuniemi.

At the first part of the show Hanna and Olli stole the show. Hanna performed Black Ice sporting a new lighter hairstyle and a deep tan in a black dress. In the second round Hanna performed a fantastic acoustic piano version of Leave me alone and again got the best reaction along with Olli who belted out another Yö classic Rakkaus on lumivalkoinen.

And the winner is Olli Lindholm. He also won the People's Choice award. He deserves it. Yö has created several Finnish pop-rock evergreens like Joutsenlaulu, Likaiset legendat and Särkyvää.

Start saving folks!

Moscow is besides the host city of the Eurovision song contest 2009 also the world's most expensive city again according Mercer research. The research was done by compering over 200 products prices in 143 cities over the world. Tokyo came second before London that held the 2nd spot last year. Oslo was 4th, Copenhagen 7th, Helsinki 21st and Stockholm 31st. The highest climbers are Sao Paulo in Brazil (from 62nd to 25th) and Istanbul (from 38th to 23rd). Asuncion in Paraguay came last for the sixth year in a row. Sometimes coming last isn't exactly a bad thing, is it? American cities dropped all due to weak dollar.
Check the Top-50 here:

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

What if Italy participated in 1982....

... and we follow the rule that the Sanremo winner would have gone to Eurovision it would have been Riccardo Fogli with Storie di tutti i giorni. At the time he was just on top of his career, fresh winner of La Vela d'Oro with Malinconia. Maybe these two victories cleared him the way to represant Italy in 1983 when RAI desided to return. The song, despite some controversy at the time and rumours of record label "buying" the victory, has proved an evergreen. For Riccardo himself and a source for many cover versions over the years....

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I treni per Mosca

Now that Moscow has been confirmed it might be worth mentioning Helsinki is a good getaway if you want to arrive in town t.A.T.u.-style: the Russian train Tolstoi runs every night from Helsinki to Moscow (22.50-12.00) to the station of Finljandski. The train stops also in St.Petersburg. The tickets varie from 92,40 (2nd Class) to 345,20 (Business Class private cabin). More info here

Monday, July 21, 2008

It's Moscow 2009!

Primeminister Putin has confirmed today it's going to be Moscow 2009. The other candidate was St.Petersburg but Moscow has better resources. It's going to be late call for the artists as Moscow is two hours ahead of CET, the show will start at 11pm and end around 2am...

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Per Elisa lives again in X-Factor

Aram Quartet won the Italian X-Factor this year and their first single off the debut album is ... Per Elisa! The song Alice won Sanremo 1981 with. Works nicely for them, too:

What if Italy participated in 1981...

... and sent the fresh Sanremo winner? Those days it wasn't automatic but Alice was highly succesful at the time after scoring of one of the biggest hits of 1980, Il vento caldo dell'estate. That song was written in collaboration with Franco Battiato just like her Sanremo winning song Per Elisa. Did you know "Elisa" in the song is actually heroin? It charted all over Europe and started Alice's longlasting career in Germany, Switzerland, Sweden and Finland amongst others. The couple would take revenge in 1984 with I treni di Tozeur but how would have Alice done in 1981? Interesting thought....
This is her very unorthodox Sanremo performance:
and the same song 22 years later

How many compilations can you take?

Alice left EMI after a lawsuit in 1994 over the compilation album Il vento caldo dell'estate and the remix of Chan-son egocentrique they released without her knowledge and approval neither by her or Franco Battiato who was the writer of the song and also dueted with her on it. (Franco Battiato left the label as well and EMI lost two of its long lasting superstars). She was due another album for EMI but as compromise she agreed to release a compilation album she collaborated in, Viaggiatrice solitaria in 1995. Since then EMI has been releasing various Alice compilations every year (12 at least by now and counting...).
After EMI she signed to WEA for five years and now WEA has started releasing compilations as well, including songs from her pre-EMI period (meaning the 1970's) mixed with recent stuff (that is the 1995-2000)... Worth mentioning is she hasn't approved any of them, or has been informed of their release. Isn't it nice to go shopping and find your new album you never knew was released?

My choise: Lauri Tähkä & Elonkerjuu

This is a public request for Lauri Tähkä & Elonkerjuu to take part in Euroviisut 2009. They would walk it, no doubt about it. In process they would bring some Finnish folklore to the contest, keep on singing in Finnish (in dialect actually) and bring a really good live act on stage.

The group has sold over 200.000 records in the 2000s and have scored gold and platinum discs more their walls can carry. Ad an Emma Award for the best band and several nominations in various galas for the best song, album, video, single or band and you have it all wrapped up. They have managed to join the old countryside generations with their songs to the young and hip city people with their arrangements. Isn't this just what Eurovision needs? Enough of hard rock and let's leave the bubblegum Europop to those who do it better, ok? What do you think?

The dates for Euroviisut 2009

YLE has published the rules for the Euroviisut a long time ago but I bothered to read them only now and here are some dates to remember:

September 25 - YLE will publish the names of the artists
November 1 - deadline to submit a demoversion
November 25 - deadline to submit final version
December 3 - YLE will publish the song titles
December 10 - songs may not be published before
January 2009 - the compilation CD will be released
January 9 - semifinal 1
January 15 - semifinal 2
January 23 - semifinal 3
January 31 - Second Chance round + final
March 6 - possible language change deadline
Anyone can send song(s) in but the songwriting team must include at least one Finn so if you plan to submit songs, join forces with Finns!

Friday, July 18, 2008

J'aime j'aime le blanc!

Sandra Kim (Eurovision 1986 winner with J'aime la vie) has found a new life as the face of Dash washing powder in Belgium. It's quite funny actually, the TV ad, made in two different versions for both languages so no housewife in Belgium can ignore her or Dash. Btw, have you ever heard any other song from her? I haven't....

Now we know what to use to wash the dirty Eurovision laundry next time!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

GREECE 2009: Sakis Rouvas

It's official. And by this rate we will know the first entrant for Eurovision 2010 before the Eurovision 2009 final.... Sakis Rouvas will give it another try and joins the endless group of hopefuls who sometimes make it better like Linda Martin and Helena Paparizou and sometimes end up in a disaster like Charlotte Nilsson/Perrelli... The song will be composed by Dimitris Kontopoulos who is no stranger to Eurovision: his songs have been to the Greek and the Russian national finals already four times including this year's Always and forever performed by Kostas Martakis.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Sakis or no Sakis?

Well, it looks like it's true after all. At least its been on every news channel on planet so far, yet neither Sakis himself or ERT have confirmed as yet while rumours fly high about the composer, coreographer and most everything.... Well, we will see... (And last year the season started only in September, sigh)

Cover girl Kate Ryan

Kate Ryan has been having occasional Europeanwide hits since 2001. When she went to the Eurovision 2006 the expectations were high and she was a clear pre-contest favourite. However Je t'adore flopped and didn't even make to the final... Yet she scored another big hit. Her career has been build however on covers: Mylène Farmer's Desenchantee and Libertine, Cock Robin's The promise you made, Desireless' Voyage voyage and at the moment France Gall's Ella elle l'á. Each song has been a big hits previously, and has done really well after the Ryan treatment, too. July 30 Kate will finally come to Finland where she has had a lot of fans since the early days of her career...

Kate Ryan is coming to town....

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Spain reigns NFSC with La Casa Azúl

Some people think Eurovision is just one night thing in May - well three actually these days - but no; the fans keep having all sort of competitions, votings and stuff all year around. Almost. There are the two annual OGAE contests (OGAE Song Contest and the Second Chance Contest). A nice addition to these is the National Finals Song Contest. In short fans can vote all the songs from all the national finals. How it is all done you can read here and it's quite fascinating really. Sweden rules in this contest usually with all the great Melodifestivalen songs and has won 4 out of 9 contests so far. Finland was close in 2006 when Annika Eklund's Shanghain valot came 2nd and Jennie's Take me higher finished in Top-10 as well (and Lordi won the ESC itself!). Also last year Johanna Kurkela's Olet uneni kaunein came 3rd. This year Spain and Sweden share the Top-4. Here is the Top-10, the fans favourite songs from amongst the hundreds of songs competing in 2008 that didn't win!
1. SPAIN La Casa Azúl - Revolución sexual (367 points)
2. SPAIN Coral - Todo está en tu mente (318)
3. SWEDEN Sanna Nielsen - Empty room (299)
4. SWEDEN BWO - Lay your love on me (295)
5. SERBIA Beauty Queen - Zavet (290)
6. ROMANIA Biondo - Shine (287)
7. GERMANY Carolin Fortenbacher - Hinterm Ozean (247)
8. BELGIUM Katy Satyn - Magical sensation (237)
9. SWEDEN Linda Bengtzing - Hur svårt kan det va (234)
10. SWEDEN Velvet - Deja vu (233)

ESC artists reunite in Belarus

A real reunion of the Eurovision artists has been on in Belarus where Slavianski Bazaar 2008 contest/festival/whatever has been taking place: Sirusho from Armenia, Pirates of the Sea from Latvia, Boaz Mauda from Israel, Mor Ve Ötesi from Turkey, Ani Lorak from Ukraine, Ruslan Alehno from Belarus and Dima Bilan from Russia were all there from Eurovision 2008. Add Dima Koldun from Belarus 2007, Ruslana from Ukraine 2004 and Kostas Martakis from Greece 2009 to the list and you have so much Eurovision goodies you feel sick. Greece 2009? Well, I think, predict and hope it's Kostas instead of Sakis next year after all... :-)
Have a look what he could offer here and here why he should have won already in 2008:

Sakis Rouvas back in Eurovision?

Sakis Rouvas, who shake it from Greece back in 2004 (3rd) and then hosted the show after Helena Paparizou's win in 2006 has been rumoured to be back at it every year since. Now some websites claim he would have been chosen for 2009 already... Let's see...

Meanwhile enjoy my favourite Sakis song here:

Friday, July 11, 2008

Dima meets Nelly in Moscow

Nelly Furtado's Get loose world tour hits Moscow next Sunday and Dima Bilan will join her on stage. He will open the show performing four songs. Later on its expected they will give a world premiere of their duet off Dima's long awaited American album to be released later on. The song's title is rumoured to be Can you get to heaven and it is produced by Timbaland. The venue is sport center Olimpiysky - the most likely Eurovision 2009 venue.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Eva from the past

Eva Dahlgren (48) is a real Scandinavian superstar. Her major breakthrough was the album En blekt blondins hjärta or The heart of a pale blond in 1991. Several hits were taken from it and she emptied the Swedish Grammy table winning five awards that year. The album was also a megahit in Finland where Eva has stayed a very succesful performer ever since. The album sold over 500.000 in Sweden alone. A year later she released the same album in English for the international market with some additional hits from the previous album like Angel in my room (originally Ängeln i rummet). The albums biggest hit Vem tänder stjärnorna (Who lights up the stars) translated into less enchanting I'm not in love with you). Eva was awarded the Taube Award 2008 for her 30 years of career in the business.
Have a look & listen these three fantastic videos and songs from the English album "Eva Dahlgren" released in Germany back in 1992. The English lyrics are by Eva and Annabel Lamb.

Unfortunately it's not very likely we will ever see Eva back in Melodifestivalen (she took part in 1978 and 1979) as in a recent interview she stated "I was 18 back then and hated every minute it! Of course I was thrilled to be in TV but that music was not what I listened to, nor was I the person to be involved in such!"

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

What is the OGAE Song Contest?

Some of you may have asked that question after my previous post. And what is OGAE? OGAE (Organisation générale des Amateurs de l'Eurovision) is the international fan club of the Eurovision Song Contest. It has branches in 37 European countries. It all started back in 1984 in Finland and now most participating countries have their own clubs. Lebanon also has one and then there's "OGAE Rest of the world" for all the fans in countries that don't have one. Yet.

The OGAE Song contest is an audio contest where each and every club can sent an original song for their country released in the previous 12 months. Naturally, as the fans are Eurovision fans, many Eurovision artists are involved every year but the songs themselves cannot be Eurovision related.

Unlike in Eurovision itself the "old Eurovision countries" have done well: France and Spain have 4 wins, Italy 3, Germany and Greece two. Only 12 countries have managed to win in 22 editions, and if Sweden rules the Second Chance Contest (more of that later) here they have won only once. This year's contest is organized by OGAE Spain due to their win last year with Rebeca.

Here are all the winners (highlighted ones have also done Eurovision):
1986 Germany Juliane Werding - Stimmen in Wind
1987 Israel Yardena Arazi - Ba'ati eleiha
1988 Germany Mary Roos - Explosion
1989 Norway Karoline Kruger & Anita Skorgan - Hjem
1990 Italy Mietta & Amedeo Minghi - Vattene amore
1991 France Myléne Farmer - Décenchantee
1992 Portugal Nucha - Se o dia nascesse
1993 Italy Laura Pausini - La solitudine
1994 Greece Sabrina - Ftes
1995 Spain Paloma San Basilio - Cada vez
1996 Spain Amistades Peligrosas - Me quedaré solo
1997 Spain Marta Sanchez - Amor perdido
1998 Poland Natalia Kukulska - Im Wiecej Ciebie tym mniej
1999 France Leyla Doriane - Jardin de lumiére
2000 Sweden Nanne Grönvall - Svarta änkan
2001 France Alizée - Moi... Lolita
2002 UK Kate Winslet - What if...?
2003 France Nolwenn Leroy - Cassé
2004 Russia Varvara - Grezy
2005 Italy Alexia - Da grande
2006 Greece Helena Paparizou - Mambo
2007 Spain Rebeca - Que no daria yo

Jenni for Finland in OGAE Song Contest

One of the biggest hits of the past year, Jenni Vartiainen's Ihmisten edessä (In front of the people) will represant Finland in the OGAE Song Contest 2008. She won the close run with Chisu, another Finnish smash hit of the last season in the voting organized by the Finnish OGAE and 41 fans voted this time. The full list of the songs and votes is here:

1. Jenni Vartiainen - Ihmisten edessä 267
2. Chisu - Mun koti ei oo täällä 238
3. Movetron - Ei kenenkään maa 231

4. Annika Eklund - Ole hiljaa ja suutele mua 194
5. Jari Sillanpää - Oon kuka oon 181
6. Anna Eriksson - Huojuva talo 176
7. Paula Koivuniemi - Timantti 141
8. Lauri Tähkä & Elonkerjuu - Pauhaava sydän 130
9. Tauski - Oranssin auringon alla 119
10. Katri Ylander - Välitunnilla 114
11. Tea - Tytöt tykkää 109
12. Kaija Koo - Erottamattomat 105
13. Stella - Korkokengät 85
14. Johanna Pakonen - Kosketus jää 78
15. Kristiina Brask - Nyt mä meen 65
16. Jippu - Mies joka ei hylkää 54
17. Herra Ylppö ja ihmiset - Videovuokraamon tyttö 29
18. Yö - Satukirjan sankari 27
19. Charles Plogman - Vanha suola janottaa 27
20. Eppu Normaali - Pallit heiluu taas 8

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Dahlgren & Jöback in Finland

Swedish stars Eva Dahlgren and Peter Jöback are touring Finland with their joint concert experience Himlen är ingen tak. They have also recorded a doublealbum to be sold in the concert places in Finland, Sweden and Norway. Each sold album donates a mosquite net distributed by Red Cross in malaria effected areas where it is cause of thousands of deaths daily. “Malaria is one of worlds most deadly illnesses but one which can be fought very easily,” say Eva and Peter.

The Finnish dates are: August 12 Lahti, 13 Tampere, 14-15 Helsinki and 16 Turku.

Eva Dahlgren participated in Melodifestivan 1979 with Om jag skiver en sång (3rd) and in 1980 with Jag ger mig inte (7th) while Peter Jöback debuted in 1990 with En sensation (9th). Both have then created remarkable careers, Eva mainly in rock and Peter in musicals. Eva is propably the most succesful Swedish singer ever in Finland.

They both are also out as gay. Eva is married to Efva Attling since 1996 and Peter came out four years ago as well.

Rui Da Silva in Helsinki

Better late than never: I have forgotten to post about Rui Da Silva who was performing in Helsinki a month ago. As we all know he remixed Portugal's wonderful Senhora do mar by Vania this year... As I was on holidays and not attending the party I don't know if he played it along with his megahit Touch me but one can always hope!

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Mamma mia! Agnetha did it!

Agnetha came to Stockholm and made the ABBA reunion possible! Agnetha, Benny, Björn and Frida walked the red carpet with Meryl Streep & co and posed for photographs. ABBA was last seen together in public in 2005 in Mamma mia! the musical's premiere in Stockholm. There are also rumours they performed in a private party in 1999. They have been offered one billion dollars to reunite but have always refused....

Watch interviews & stuff from the premiere here:

Friday, July 04, 2008

Jippu brings gospel to rock festival

Finland biggest and most important summer rock festival is happening this weekend and the artists include HIM; Nightwish, The Ark, Apocalyptica and Teräsbetoni. Also Jippu makes her rock festival debut - she says she never attended one in her life - and will perform her songs and "surprises" with a gospel choir of 40 members! If gospel and Jippu sound a bit strange in a rock festival how about the Eurovision connections? Has Eurovision become more rock or rock festivals more schlager?

A missed chance: Lisa - Sempre

Ten years ago Annalisa Panetta, or simply Lisa delivered in 1998 Sanremo one of the best songs ever in my books. Sempre. And if it only got to Eurovision.... Chiara might have faced some solid competition in the ballad department! But it didn't as Italy didn't participate and she only came third behind horrid Annalisa Minetti who actually fought over to go to Eurovision while RAI only sent her to Vina del Mar in Chile and Antonella Ruggiero of Matia Bazar fame. Anyways, Lisa had her revenge 3 years later when this very song hit number one in France! She also recorded the Spanish version Siempre of it and Celine Dion who presented her at Sanremo predicted her a shiny future. Yet, where is Lisa? All I know she released two albums in Italy (Lisa in 1998 and L'essenziale in 1999) before moving to France for three years where she released a compilation album. In 2003 she was back to Sanremo with Oceano, later made worldfamous by Josh Groban, and gained another good placement: sixth. Third album with the same title followed but then...? Lisa dove sei? Ci manchi! Torna prestissimo!! (E fatti viva, ok?)
Watch here the videos for both wonderful songs. Sempre still gives me the shivers everytime I hear it, after ten years...
And listen here the Spanish version:

Thursday, July 03, 2008

ABB in London

ABB or Anni-Frid, Benny and Björn attended Mamma Mia! movie premiere in London without A or Agnetha as espected. Benny Anderson also confirmed ABBA will never perform together again. "Maybe we should get together and sing our songs, just us 4 and a bottle of champagne" he said though. Agnetha might attend the Swedish premiere of the movie tomorrow Friday and that would be the first ABBA reunion for years... Mamma Mia! the musical will be back on Hartwall Areena stage in Helsinki later this year.
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