Thursday, June 30, 2011

Last but not least in Eurovision: Kabát

Estonia gave Czech Republic's first and only point in Eurovision song contest 2007. Therefor the country's debut with Malá dáma finished in the 28th place in the semifinal. This must have been a disappointment for the band that had been around for years and gave a good performance and I really do like the song, too. At home they were fresh with yet another success album Corrida (#1)  the year before and had released 11 albums in the past 15 years. After Eurovision? They released a DVD from their Corrida tour and then in 2009 a live album Po čertech velkej koncert was released and finally in 2010 when a new album Banditi di Praga. The first video for the album is the title track. They may have needed a break after Helsinki 2007 from recording but are back filling stadiums again it seems. Well done.

Ooh aah... Gina G's back!

Gina G, the bubbly Aussie that made us all go ooh aah back in 1996 is making a comeback in homeground with Next 2 U.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Azeris visit Geneva and learn a thing or two

Ictimai TV's people that will produce the next Eurovision song contest together with EBU next May in Baku have visited EBU's headquarters in Geneva to learn all there is to know about the happening. Special point was made of security guarantees and freedom of expression for all participants, fans and accredited journalists and the individual citizens than will come to Baku for the event, as well as the entry visa issues. Also the usage of the official logo will be strongly monitored by EBU as it can be only used by EBU, Ictimai TV and the official partners bien sur. 
No change for the dates, it seems, and it will be May 22 and 24 for the semifinals, 26 for the final. 
Still nothing sure on the arena but that will be decided at latest in the next reference group meeting in Baku in August. At this point it seems the time for building a brand new arena is running out...
Another piece of news is EBU restores the televoting window only after the last song has been heard, which this blogger welcomes with a big Hooray! Those phone numbers during the performances were rather annoying. I never understood in the first place why delegations spend weeks to polish their stage act and then we have hours of rehearsals on spot for camera angles and stuff - only to be partly hidden by numbers and voting info for 1/3 of the duration of the song?  Besides, who really votes before the songs have been heard (except those who vote for a country, not a song of course...) and the statistics seem to prove hardly no one (except the before mentioned group perhaps...)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Italo hits in Finnish: Vasten auringon sltaa Vs Alle porte del sole

Katri Helena has recorded dozens of cover version, like the stars of the 60's and 70's used to do. Vasten auringon siltaa has one of the most famous of them, a real classic in Katri's repertoire and not only. The original version is of course Gigliola Cinquetti's Alle porte del sole. She won Canzonissima 1973 with that song and earned another try in Eurovision the year after with it.

Monday, June 27, 2011

A final goodbye to Alcazar?

Alcazar is taking "a creative break" after the Stockholm Pride in August but one can read between the lines this time it might be forever. The group, formed in 1998 by Andreas Lundstedt, Tess "Tessa" Merkel and Annika "Fiore" Kjaergaard, already took a break in 2005 but re-emerged two years later without Annika and Magnus Carlsson who had joined in 2002 and with Lina Hedlund instead. 
Three studio albums, one compilation and one live album but 21 singles, that entered the charts in 13 different European countries along with Australia and the US and four Melodifestivalen participations later it seems it's the end. Here are their MF entries: 2003 Not a sinner, nor a saint (3rd), 2005 Alcastar (3rd), 2009 Stay the night (5th) and 2010 Headlines (-). Their other hits include Crying at the discotheque, Sexual guarantee and This is the world we live in. They also covered Don't you want me and samples most every hit in Physical - and indeed their songs are filled/based on samples in most cases... except the MF entries for obvious reasons! They also made an ABBA tribute so this post ends nicely with this song.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Matia Bazar - Fantasia, best & rarities

Matia Bazar has released a 36 track 2-cd with the hits and rarities from the era when Antonella Ruggiero was still the vocalist. Besides the biggest hits including Stasera che sera, Per un'ora d'amore, Solo tu, Vacanze Romane, Souvenir, Stringimi, La prima stella della sera and Ti sento also Sanremo winner E dirsi ciao and Eurovision entry Raggio di luna are included, latter also in Spanish (Rayo de luna) and in English (Moonshine), for the first time on cd. There is also a remix of Elettrochock. Various Spanish versions and English version of Ti sento (I feel you) and Noi (Life) complete the set. A must for Antonella era Matia lovers.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Hooray! Marjorie's back!

One of my ultimate favourites and finest singers in Finland, fabulously fantastic Marjorie is coming back! I don't know about you but I have surely missed her since she disappeared ten years ago. Her new single is Mun elämää (My life) and it's a nice follow up to Täyttä elämää, a song that showcases her vocal skills. Or what about Warum?  or one of the best Winner takes it all covers there is?
She has released three albums in the 1990's and Rakkauden kiertokulku together with Anneli Saaristo and Eija Kantola in 2001. Good to have her back and can't wait for the album!
She has participated in Euroviisut 1988 with Tie, 1989 with Kahden juhla, 1990 with Tuuli and 1993 with Legenda and Aika eteenpäin vain kulkee as one of the four invited artists, the others being Katri Helena, Paula Koivuniemi and Arja Koriseva - however these are not amongst her best songs. Maybe it's time to set her Euroviisut record straight in 2012?

ABBA: Only happy little songs? No.

Björn Ulvaeus reveals in radio programme Pop och politik that ABBAs songs were not so innocent as we are tend to believe. "I'm sure most people didn't even think the possibility we would have a politic messages. After all it was just ABBA, happy little pop songs" he says "but The Visitors for example. I got the inspiration when thinking how it would be living in a dictatorship lead by Breznev. Living in the middle of the cold war and the Sovjet regime. I imagined myself having a secret meeting in an appartment in Moscow about freedom and what it is. The word would leak out and how it would be when there's a sudden knock at my door at night." According Ulvaeus many ABBA songs have a sharp political message hidden in the lyrics.So that you know.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Jedward - Bad behaviour and Big Brother?

News from Planet Jedward. The twins have had to reschedule their coming Carnival tour that kicks off now in the end of July. Meanwhile their follow up single to Lipstick, Bad behaviour has been released and on top of that they have been apparently offered one million pounds to participate in the next season's Celebrity Big Brother in the UK. If that happens that will be a show I would like to see, just to see if their ADHD-like energy never stops and what they come up with!

Happy Midsummer everyone!

I don't know about you out there but Finns are celebrating Juhannus, Midsummer, tonight. The longest day of the year already passed this week with 22 hrs 45 mins of sun in the south and Helsinki while sun never set in the north but as the wise men stripped us off the holidays during the week in the past it is celebrated on nearest Saturday, so tonight's the Midsummer Eve. Meaning shops and everything closes at noon and most everyone will emigrate to the countryside, have a party and get a little drunk. The whole country is filled with happenings, festivals, concerts and traditional midsummer bonfires are lit all over. Not even the bad rainy stormy chilly weather will stop us.... Happy midsummer folks!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Helsinki Pride goes Spanish with Eurovision

Hercules gay club in Helsinki will be having a Spanish week celebrating the Pride 2011. The fun starts on midsummer eve tomorrow when Jose Galisteo takes the stage. He returns the day after with Venus. Then on Sunday it's all about Venus again. On Monday it's Miriam Segura and Rebeka. Rebeka return on Tuesday with Baltanas, who returns the day after with Anael who returns alone on Thursday. On Friday it's the men only party in the club with D'Nash. D'Nash will entertain the crowds also on Saturday with Dj Gallo.
Is that enough of Spanish Eurovision for one week?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Tiziano Ferro is coming out again. Ten years after Xdono.

As an artist that is. This fall he will release his fifth album and the first after his coming out in Vanity Fair last year. The same magazine already featured him in the cover back in 2006 as "Tiziano Ferro is a lonely man", a fact that would become painfully evident in his autobiography Trent'anni e una chiaccherata con papà (Thirty years and one talk with dad) released also in 2010. He may have never been very comfortable with the fame but his is one real success story once it got going.
After several refusals by producers and not being accepted for Sanremo festival 1998 and 1999 (Quando ritornerai) he finally gets his first single recorded and released. Xdono becomes a #1 hit in Italy and charts all over Europe and is the third most sold single in Europe in 2002. Versions in Spanish, FrenchEnglish and Portuguese are also released. His debut album Rosso relativo sells over 400.000 copies in Italy and almost 2,5 million in the world producing other hits L'Olimpiade, Imbranato, Rosso relativo and Le cose che non dici.
Next album 111 sells in Italy over 500.000 and over a million abroad and features hits Xperso, Sere nere, Non me lo so spiegare and Ti voglio bene. He also wrote the Italian lyrics for Blue's A chi mi dice amongst many other songs for other artists and also records with Jamelia Universal prayer . Giusy Ferreri and Carmen Consoli have recorded songs written by him and soon Alice is joining the club in her worthcoming album.
The success continued with Nessuno è perfetto in 2006. Over 450.000 sold in Italy and over a million abroad with hits Stop! Dimentica, Ed ero contentissimo, Ti scatterò una foto, E Raffaella è mia /dedicated to Raffaella Carrà) and E fuori è buio.
His fourth album Alla mia età sold over 600.000 in Italy alone and stayed over 100 weeks in the official charts. On the album he duets with  Franco Battiato and Kelly Rowland, and Amaia Montero for the Spanish language version. The singles were Alla mia età, Il regalo più grande, Indietro, Il sole esiste per tutti and Scivoli di nuovo.He has also dueted with Laura Pausini and  Mary J. Blige amongst others.
Over the past ten years he has won countless awards home and abroad and in January 2011 the poll organized by Rockol and Fnac chose him as the Artist of the decade.
And today exactly ten years ago the story started with the release of  Xdono.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Last but not least in Eurovision: Haldor Lægreid

In 2001 two songs finished last in the Eurovision song contest - Norway and Iceland. Norway was represanted by Haldor Lægreid, then 31-year-old rather unknown singer, dancer and actor with On my own. The over dramatic performance didn't really go down well with the juries and the song scored only 3 points, all of them from Portugal. (The Icelandic song scored points from two countries so this Norwegian entry came ultimate last. Kind of). The result may have been a surprise for Norwegians who had high hopes for their entry.
Haldor studied musical theatre in Sweden and has since made a rather succesful musical career in Germany and has been performing also in Denmark, Norway and Sweden. He lives now in Berlin. Here are some of his more recent performances: How am I supposed to live without you, Calling you and Just tell me when.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Finland: Goodbye to Euroviisut

Eurovision laulukilpailu (Eurovision song contest) turned into more familiar Euroviisut in Finland in the 1960's and has stayed under that name even if YLE has labeled it since mid 2000's as Eurovision - Suomen karsinta (Eurovision - Finnish selection) but now.... it seems it's gone! YLE's announcement today that they will introduce a new musical contest next spring promising it to be the biggest and best musical show in the country searching for the best singer and song. Only after a lot of bla bla bla it is mentioned the winner will represant Finland in the Eurovision 2012 as well. Isn't that a bit ignoring Eurovision? Why not calling it still Eurovision and just revamp the contest and selection process? Something isn't right here...
Anyways, anyone can send in a song. One per artists but the authors can send more than one song. At least one of the writers and the lead singer(s) must be of Finnish citizen or have a permanent residence here.
Demos can be sent from August 15, 2011 and they must be received by September 30, 2011. The artist(s) on demo must also perform the song if chosen. YLE will be also filming the preparations from October 2011 until the final and will propably use the material in the shows somehow. The song cannot be sent to any other country's selection. The final versions of the chosen songs must be at YLE's use by December 16, 2011. YLE also has all the rights for the chosen songs until January 28, 2012 and they cannot be performed or played publicly anywhere except YLE's programmes.
A jury will choose the songs that go further and through auditions and club gigs the finalists will be chosen.
The provisional dates for the semifinals and the final are January 7 and 14 and February 25, 2012 but those are yet to be confirmed. In the final there will be once again two voting rounds. And there might be a compilation album released of the songs.
YLE's announcement left many questions unanswered and rather unclear idea of what it is going to be. And why they drop the Eurovision? Hasn't EBU exactly expressed the wish each and every country would use the Eurovision logo and name for the national selections recently? Time will tell and it seems I'm not the only one left buzzled and confused if you read the chatrooms.....

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Katri Helena charms at the rock festival

Katri Helena has been singing since 1963 and Provinssirock has been an annual event since 1975. But only know these two institutions united and it was a hit. Katri Helena is living a new youth when her audience is not only filled by her generations but also their children and grandchildren! Schlager is in and what's better than the queen of schlager and her hits from the past five decades? And to be up with the times she also performed a rock classic Hetken tie on kevyt (by Tehosekoittaja) together with Negative's lead singer Jonne Aaron. Her set finished with Katson sineen taivaan, a song that has been widely rediscovered the past few years and has a cult status by now. She is also recording a new album to be released later this year with new and young writers and producers. After Katri Helena the stage was taken over by System of a down.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Slippery when wet, literally. Bon Jovi in Helsinki

Last night Bon Jovi were once again in Helsinki and played the sold out Olympic Stadium and despite the chilly weather and at times pouring rain Jon and the guys were in excellent shape and gave a great show - despite John hurting his leg halfway the show.. Talk about slippery when wet!
John Bongiovi surely is one of the best singers around, whether it's uptempo like You give love a bad name or a mega ballad like Always. The highlights of the show were of course the classics Livin' on a prayer and It's my life, and my personal favourite Runaway (that I remember listening along with Främling all summer back in 1983....)
The band has sold over 132 million albums since 1984 and continues to play for sold out stadiums all over the world. They have also scored four US #1's. Their latest single and video is No apologies. It follows nicely the trend of their biggest hits, rock with pop touch and catchy choruses.
And here's Livin' on prayer last night. And It's my life.

Italo hits in Finnish: Olen suomalainen Vs L'Italiano

Toto Cutugno came only 5th with L'Italiano in Sanremo 1983 but it was clearly the big seller of that edition and an international hit. Kari Tapio covered it in Finnish as Olen suomalainen (I'm a Finn) and the lyrics are even more patriotic than the original Italian version if possible - praising Finland and it's white and blue spirit and people. Finns fell in love instantly and this song became Kari Tapio's trademark song that he would (or have to) perform in every gig until his sudden death last December. An evergreen, a karaoke favourite and another song most every Finn knows the lyrics by heart - some of them at least! And here's the perfect duet.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Last but not least in Eurovision: Fabrizio Faniello

When Fabrizio Faniello represented Malta again in Eurovision 2006 with I do propably no one predicted he would end up last with only one point from Albania. He has a solid fan popularity and did well five years earlier when Another summer night came 9th. The ex-football player in Italy however didn't take it bad as he tried again this year in the Maltese selection with No surrender. It only came 4th but I think it deserved much better I think. And I think he will be back. For sure. His career didn't suffer much from this result in 2006 as he has continued to release hits especially in the Asian, German and Scandinavia markets. Like I believe, Love me or leave meI no can do, My heart is asking you to add to his older hits I'm in love and Love on the radio. Will he be one day third time lucly?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

3Js + G or Gualazzi to duet with 3Js

The guys of 3Js have apparently announced they are soon to record a duet with Raphael Gualazzi. The fate of the two acts couldn't have been more diverse in the Eurovision - 3Js last in their semifinal (very unfairly if you ask me as Never alone deserved much more!) and Gualazzi surprisingly runner up in the final with his Madness of love. Anyways, they hit it off on the boat trip and it seems the talks of collaboration are not mere talks but reality soon. Meanwhile 3Js have released their follow up single De stroom, also from the national selection.
This isn't the first time the Eurovision acts of the same year find each other and collaborate after the contest. Like Boaz Mauda, Sirusho and Jelena Tomasevic in Time to pray.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Paradise Oskar - The Mill sessions

Paradise oskar did a TV-programme The Mill sessions long before the Eurovision 2011 but it aired only earlier this month. Acoustic music, some interviews. A very good showcase. You can watch the best bits here. He also started his summer tour recently from Helsinki's DTM receiving very good reviews. Lots of adoring fans from Dusseldorf were present. This Sunday he is again in Helsinki along with James Blunt in Kaisafest.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Last but not least in Eurovision: Michael von der Heide

Big Eurovision fan Michael von der Heide finally made his dream come true when he sung for Switzerland in 2010. Il pleur de l'or was a good song, nicely presented but somehow it scored only 2 points in the second semifinal. From Georgia of all places. That didn't stop him. Soon after he was touring with Sina and the Zurich symphonic orchestra and in 2010-2011 performing in Basel in Meine faire Dame, giving his face to AIDS campaign and this spring he has been touring with his Lido tour. And a new album is in the making, it's his 9th. Maybe he will come back sometime soon? Did you know he recorded a single with Nina Hagen in 2002?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Italo hits in Finnish: Aikuinen nainen vs. Maledetta primavera

Finnish artists have been doing cover versions of Italian songs since the 1950's and many of them have become real evergreens and most people don't even know they're covers. This summer I plan occasionally present some of them and today's offer is maybe the biggest of them all. 
Loretta Goggi did Maledetta primavera in Sanremo 1981 and came second to Alice. Paula Koivuniemi covered the song in 1982 and today it's a real anthem for independent women. And gay people. My bet is every Finn knows more or less the lyrics by heart. In summer 2008 she performed it in rock festivals with thousends of heavy rockers singing along! Aikuinen nainen means Grown or Adult woman (who knows what she wants). But this is by no means Paula's only Italian hit!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Alexander Rybak takes on the Swedish songbook

Eurovision 2009 winner Alexander Rybak releases his third album this week but it's maybe not what you expect. It is a collaboration with Swedish singer-songwriter, painter and poet Mats Paulson. The title takes from Paulson's evergreen Visa vid vindens ängar, originally released back in 1966 and has nine other old and new Paulson songs by Rybak.

OGAE Song contest 2011 - Italian selection

The OGAE Italy has voting going on for their represant for the 2011 OGAE Song contest. It's a good selection of what's in the pop market in Italy so here they are:

1. Modà - La notte
2. Emma - Cullami
3. Paola & Chiara - Milleluci
4. Jovanotti - Tutto l'amore che ho
5. Alessandra Amoroso - La mia storia con te
6. Noemi - Vuoto a perdere
7. Litfiba - Sole nero
8. Nathalie - In punta di piedi
9. Cesare Cremonini & Malika Ayane - Hello!
10. Paola & Chiara - Pioggia d'estate
11. Anna Oxa ft Ivano Fossati - Tutto l'amore intorno
12. Davide Mogavero - Il tempo migliore
14. Gianna Nannini - Ogni tanto
15. Dolcenera - Il sole di domenica
16. Marco Mengoni - In un giorno qualunque

Italy has won the OGAE song contest three times. First in 1990 with Vattene amore by Mietta and Amedeo Minghi, then three years later with Laura Pausini's La solitudine and then again in 2005 with Alexia's Da grande. Who do you think would bring home the fourth voctory?

Last but not least in Eurovision: Piero Esteriore

Piero Esteriore had it all going for him when he represanted Switzerland in the Eurovision song contest 2004. He had just gained success in MusikStar reality show on TV and had been able to concentrate on music instead of hair styling. But, a flat zero. Nul points from the other countries in the semifinal for his Celebrate. But for consolation he scored a small hit in Switzerland with Mammamia that summer, released his debut album 1 Secondo the next year (#3) and another one Io vivo in 2007 (#34). Then he has opened a piano bar in Basel, entered the German Big Brother house (that he left one week later) and last year released a new album with new style, From disco to disco (#28) and apparently new name, Esteriore Project. And last year he did the Swiss World cup song. Not bad for a nul pointer!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Tinie Tempah can

I was watching the chart show on telly when Tinie Tempah's Written in the stars came on. I'd heard it before and kinda liked it and now I like it even more, but there was something that kept bothering me. And then it hit me! A little similarities in the video and most of all in the "oh oh oh boom" background with this. But that's not a bad thing at all. On the contrary. :-)

Giorgia is back!

This is a fine day just like the title Il mio giorno migliore suggests, Giorgia is back! One of the  best voices in Italy has released the first single off her worthcoming album, her first in three years. Just like you can hear from the sound the new album will be much happier and poppier than her previous works and for me that's excellent news. She says it's due to her new life as a mother of Samuel born in 2010 and not having time to think everything over and over and going just for the feelings. This new one could easily become a real summer hit. Can't wait to hear the rest! Her classics include E poi, Gocce di memorie, Marzo, Vivo per lei, C`e da fare, Di sole d'azzurro Vivi davvero and Sanremo winner Come saprei. Let's enjoy them while waiting to hear the new material....

Friday, June 10, 2011

Last but not least in Eurovision: Malene Mortensen

Malene Mortensen was new and fresh in the Danish final 2002 that she won with full points from televoters with Vis mig vem du er. The hopes were high in Denmark and not only, I remember this song was one of my top favourites. But, performed as Tell me who you are in Eurovision she didn't convince at all. Seven points in total; 4 from Israel, and one each from Turkey, Malta and Lithuania. That may have put her career on hold for a moment but not for long, the year after she released her debut album Paradise with famous jazz musicians and four more have followed, the latest being from 2009. She took charge on that one and produced it herself as well as wrote most of the material as well.  She goes on performing with a small band, or a bigger one or a full ochestra. Coming last in Eurovision didn't hurt her career, but then - she chose jazz instead of mainstream pop.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Waylon for the Netherlands 2012?

The Eurovision 2011 season is hardly over and the fans recovered from the two weeks of holabaloo (and the bloggers, I might ad!) but in some countries the speculation on who is going to go for them to Baku 2012 is already in full force. And most of all funnily in the Netherlands that came the ultimate last this year!
Several artists and songwriters have been reported being interested in the job - from veterans like Gerard Joling, Gordon with his new group LA The Voice and writer Eric van Tijn to Within Temptations Sharon den Adel and reality stars Rochelle Perts and Tim Douwsma. And Waylon. What makes him interesting is that he is signed to Motown and if you read my blog you know I love old school Motown and I liked instantly Wicked way, his first single. He is no stranger to Eurovision either as he participated in the national final already back in 2005 with Rachel Kramer and Leeven als een beest .Later he participated in the Holland's got talent and came second. His other singles include Hey! and Happy song.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Raphael Gualazzi - on the road this summer. With a gold disc

Raphael Gualazzi has been collecting praise and success all year 2011 and now it's time to hit the road for real. And his album Fantasy and reality has sold gold in Italy. His summer tour will start from Rome in June 24, and continues through Italy, France, Belgium and Switzerland at this point. He will be accompanied on stage by Christian Marini (drums and percussions), Manuele Montanari (bass), Luigi Faggi Grigioni (trumpet and flugelhorn), Max Valentini (baritone sax and contralto), Enrico Benvenuti (sax) and Giuseppe Conte (guitar). Besides his own real concerts he's performing in various festivals and happenings. He will surely do also Don't stop.

Here are the confirmed dates so far: June 12 Piassasco, 21 Treviso, 22 Venaria, 24 Rome, 25 Samois sur Seine (FRA), 27 Udine, 28 Bollate, 29 Rezzato, July 2 Nantes (FRA), 2 Rimini, 4 Sarzana, 5 Lugano (CH), 7 Milano, 8 Alessandria, 9 Porto Viro, 11 Sordevolo, 13 Castegneto Carducci, 14 Fiesole, 15 San Severino Marche, 16 Mercogliano, 22 Urbino, 24 Termoli, 26 Carpi, 28 Grado, 29 St.Etienne (FRA), 30 Bordeaux (FRA), 31 Città della Pieve, August  2 Anzio, 6 Loreffe (BEL), 7 Locorotondo, 11 Pescara, 12 Cesenatico, September 10 Molfetta, 14 Montlouis sur Loire (FRA)

Monday, June 06, 2011

Last but not least in Eurovision:'s Aven romale is one of the rare songs to score a flat zero or nul points in the Eurovision and that happened in Moscow 2009 in the first semifinal. It was Czech Republic's third and so far last participation - last, second to last and last again and even with zero points would make any country to think if there's sense to it all?! (This said there's a rumour they might be back in 2012?!)
But continued doing what they did before: gigs all over Europe including Finland in various festivals and gipsy music gatherings. Before Eurovision they had released two albums and the third one is coming out in 2011. The first single of it is Desperado. And it's a very nice song indeed, in a Manu Chao style. They also participated in the Czech final in 2008 with Benga beating and in 2007 Muloland and in 2009 they were actually chosen internally.Coming last in Eurovision propably had zero effect to in their career.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Raphael Gualazzi - A three second breath

Eurovision 2011 runner up, Italy's Raphael Gualazzi has released a video for his follow up single to Madness of love. Here's A three second breath. And while we are at it here's also Reality and fantasy, the title track of the album and the single before Follia d'amore... Have a lovely Sunday everyone!

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Laura. Blues Brothers. Iceland.

Laura Voutilainen is having a very busy summer. She's starring in the Blues Brothers musical cabaret in Tampere all summer but besides that she is flying regularly to Iceland where she is recording her new album with local musicians. The producer of the album that will be released in October is Matti Kallio, a Finn who lives in Iceland. Knowing how small Iceland and how most everyone knows each other can be expect some interesting collaborations or maybe duets? Laura and Paul Oskar? Laura and Yohanna? Hmm, that would be nice! Anyways, let's see if she changes direction a bit as her last but also very succesful albums have been heavily influenced by cover songs from Russia. Worth mentioning is her latest video Rakkauden soturi was shot in Malta so she seems to like the small islands in the corners of Europe!

Friday, June 03, 2011

Dima Bilan in tax trouble

The Russian tax authorities searched the Eurovision 2008 winner's office in Moscow recently. They believe Bilan hasn't declared all his earnings and paid his due taxes. Bilan's manager declared they found nothing while the authorities inform they will go on with their investigation. They got interested when Bilan bought several luxury apartments in Moscow even if his manager had said in an interview Bilan only made some 50.000 euros in 2009. Forbes Russia magazine estimated he had made at least 3 million euros at the same year. Apparently it's Not that simple.

Eurovision and democracy - from Norway to Azerbaijan

We can think whatever we want about the democracy in Eurovision voting system but how about in the real world? The third global democracy index has been revealed and not surprisingly in the lead are the countries that usually top the global lists of the best places to live: Nordic countries with Australia and New Zealand. Is it a coincidence those two countries are also a bit Eurovision crazy? And as #9 we have Canada that has given us a few Eurovision artists including Cèline Dion... And in top-30 also South Africa, another Eurovision crazy country. And next year we are heading to the least democratic country in the list of the Eurovision countries. Yes, it's vene even below Belarus!

1.Norway  2.Iceland  3.Denmark  4.Sweden  5.New Zealand  6.Australia 7.Finland  8.Switzerland   9.Canada  10.Netherlands   11.Luxembourg  12.Ireland  13.Austria  14.Germany  15.Malta  16.Czech Republic  17. USA   18.Spain  19.United Kingdom ... 23.Belgium... 26.Portugal... 28.Greece 29.Italy 30.South Africa  31.France  32.Slovenia  33.Estonia... 37.Israel  38.Slovakia  39.Cyprus... 41.Lithuania... 43.Hungary... 48.Poland  48.Latvia... 51.Bulgaria  53.Croatia... 56.Romania... 65.Serbia  65.Moldova  67.Ukraine  68.Montenegro... 73.Macedonia... 84.Albania... 89.Turkey... 94.Bosnia & Herzegovina... 103.Georgia... 107.Russia... 109.Armenia... 130.Belarus... 135 Azerbaijan ... last but not least 167. North Korea (The microstates like Andorra, Monaco and San Marino are not listed)

Here's the full list and how it all works in Economist Intelligence Unit

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Fabrizio Faniello - No surrender

Fabrizio Faniello has released a new album No surrender. The album has been recorded between Malta, Sweden, Italy and Germany with songwriters like Mary Susan Applegate, Take That's Gary Barlow and Arash. Included is of course his Maltese Eurovision wannabe 2011, the title track No surrender and his previous smash hit I no can do. This is his fith album including the previous Hits & Clips, and his first in four years. Listen the songs here.

Ell/Nikki go Universal

The winning duo of Eldar and Nigar, or Ell/Nikki has signed to Universal records and will be recording their joint album in Germany and Sweden shortly with local songwriters. The album will be published in varipus markets through Universal's local labels in Europe but also in Australia and New Zealand. Once the album is done they will hit the road and tour all over Europe. I am personally a bit sceptical about their chances to make it big but then, who knows...? Good luck anyways!

Baku 2012: New taxis and airport

The Azeris are not wasting time to start working for the Eurovision song contest 2012. Recently it was reported they are buying new purple colored taxis for the city from London and the hiring for the drivers has started already - and they have to pass rather strict selection process including drug and mental health testing. And of course basic English courses and customer service skills on top. 
And now it is reported they will reconstruct the Heydar Aliyev international airport. The airport is located some 20 kms northeast from Baku center. This facelift is part of the bigger reconstruction plan in force at the airport that will go on until 2013. 
Baku has also a metro with two lines of total 33,1 kms and 22 stations, opened in 1967 during the Sovjet  era. There are plans to built another 70 stations by 2040!

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Eric Saade's heart in the air

The Eurovision 2011 third placed Eric Saade is releasing his second album Saade Vol.1 in the end of this month. Meanwhile the follow up single to Popular has been released and is titled Hearts in the air. He's planning to released Saade Vol.2 for the Christmas market and of course hoping for an international career. We will see... (This new single sounds very much like Anna Abreu to me?!)
Saade has released in his career one album previously, Masquerade (#2 in Sweden) and four singles: Sleepless (#44), Manboy (#1), Break of dawn (#45) and Popular (#1).
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