Today is a special day on this blog. Another milestone reached, a one I never even dreamed about when I started this some time ago.... One million visitors since I installed the counter! From 207 countries. Million. That's all I can sing today... millimillimillion millimillion.....
Nina Zilli's Per sempre will be Italy's entry in the OGAE Song Contest 2012 after a voting that you can follow here. In all 45 people voted from Italy and abroad and La Zilli scored 303 poibts against Dolcenera (Ci vediamo a casa) 244 and Francesca Michielin (Distratto) 240.
The song was first announced as the Italian entry for the Eurovision 2012 but was changed to L'amore éfemmina (Out of love) within days.
Italy has won the contest three times previously, in 1990 with Mietta & Amedeo Minghi (Vattene amore), 1993 with Laura Pausini (La solitudine) and in 2005 with Alexia (Da grande).
Alice's new album will be out this September. It has been postponed several times (and years) but now it's coming out for real. It should include songs written for her by Franco Battiato, Tiziano Ferro and Mino Di Martino among others. But most importantly songs written by Alice herself. Throughout her career she has been co-writing, arranging, producing and playing songs to her albums, a big part of them really. And she has written alone also some wonderful tracks over the years, including three of my personal favorites from her: La mano, Notte a Roma and Una sera di Novembre. And I can't believe it's already 30 years since the release of Azimut album, that I love(d) so much that I still remember all the songs by heart....
So, just for the fun of it, here's an imaginary compilation album of songs written by Alice herself,
Two Israeli Eurovision stars have joined forces for this song that translates to When men dance. The song has already taken over the Israeli airplay charts. Is this the Israeli take on Paula Koivuniemi's Sata miesta tanssii (100 men dancing)?
Fine voiced Alexia returns to the scene after a two year break with an Italian language A volte si, a volte no and it's pretty great track indeed. Alexia sold over 6 million records with hits like Uh la la and Summer is crazy before changing the language and scoring 2nd place in Sanremo with Dimmi come in 2002 and winning the year after with Per dire di no.
Franco Battiato was elected internally by RAI to represent Italy in Eurovision 1984 due to his great success in the early 1980's. Looking back now it feels like a miracle he accepted but maybe he found it an amusing thing to do. His song I treni di Tozeur, that finished only 5th but deserved so much more, is a real classic and many fans consider it as one of the best Eurovision songs ever. Me included. Now we know of course he went to Luxembourg with this very song, took Alice with whom he had been working a lot in those years.
The legend tells he had originally another song in his mind for the occasion. However, its chorus was in English and that was a big No no those days (yet I treni di Tozeur includes the opera part in German!) but I'm still wondering how it would have sounded as a duet if he took Alice along with this one, too? Namely No time, no space. Another special song with a majestic orchestration in the chorus. And could it have done better than I treni di Tozeur?
After Eurovision it was most of Alice to gain success in Europe. She already had hits in Germany for example before Eurovision but her following albums Gioielli rubati - a cover album of Battiato's songs - and Park Hotel gained her fame and popularity also in Scandinavia and central Europe (and Japan of all places). Battiato did try to break through in the Spanish speaking market but with less success. However, today Battiato is a living legend in Italy as a singer, songwriter, author, producer and painter and still actively producing music, both pop and classical, and touring. A new album (29th poppish one and 54th if we include also classical, live and compilations) is to be released later this year.
Lordi loses another member, but this time one that was in the Eurovision winning formation, namely keyboardist, the lovely lady Awa. Simerock on August 11, 2012 will be her last live appearance with the monster band. In Lordi's official website she tells: ”Playing in the band has been
an incredible experience and clearly one of the best times in my life. I
have always been very fond of Lordi, its music and image, and will
surely be following news about it closely. The band and the crew were
and will always be a second family to me and I will be missing them and
our fans greatly. However, seven years in the band has been physically
and emotionally very demanding. You have to be in a band like this 100
%. If you are not able to do that anymore, you have to let go and give
space for something new.”
The band has already her replacement ready who will play on Lordi's next studio album planned for 2013 spring release. Earlier this year Lordi changed their drummer after Otus passed away. Both new members, their names and outfits will be revealed before the new album release.
Michalis Hatzigiannis is back again. In English. We own the world tonight is filled with summer and groovy feelings. I'm sure we all would feel like owning the world if Michalis was singing a serenade to us in a hot summer night.... and we can only dream about Malmö for him...
The most awaited version of the songs in Eurovision 2012 finally is here, Pastora Soler's Stay with me. And indeed the song works also in English even if the original Quédate conmigo has its charm that is not easy to beat. One of the most classic songs in this year's contest and maybe an evergreen in the making? It hits all the right chords in my book anyways....
Greek Nikos Ganos has released yet another video and song, Say my name. Apparently he is an Eurovision wannabe and why not? This video is once again bigger than the funds and you can see at times it's a very low budget affair. But then, thumbs up for trying! And the song is kinda catchy, too....
Well, really it is Dj Mam's feat. Jessy Matador & Luis Guisao performing Zumba He Zumba Ha, a song that was a hit already in 2011 and again in 2012 with added Jessy Matador, our very own Eurovision bum shaker with Allez ola olé. A video full of summer and beach shot in Rio de Janeiro, can it be any more summer?
A few days I presented Desislava's latest video Moeto drugo az featuring her new flame Svetlozar Savov. The couple has been also busy doing another sultry video for Desislava's English singing alter ego Dess titled Only one. And it's not bad at all, and the video is beautifully shot offering a lot of eye candy to every genre....
When Malmö was announced the host city for the 2013 Eurovision song contest many jaws dropped. Not only the fans who had been foolish enough to book flights and rooms in Stockholm already - who are these people and are they insane??? - but also native Swedes were more or less unhappy. But apparently it's a sum of things; the Ice Hockey world champs being held in Stockholm at the same time, EBU's wish to downscale the event and cut the costs being the most apparent ones. And some suspect it's also an attempt to change Malmö's somewhat suspicious image as the center of Nordic racism and racial conflict hot spot. Did you know 174 languages are spoken in the Malmö area?
Malmö has also less traffic problems than Stockholm, especially if two major international events should take place at the same time. There are two international airports within 20 minutes from the city center, the train station is some 100 meters from the arena (there's a train from Copenhagen every 20 minutes and it only takes minutes) and you can get to the arena from the center in 5 minutes by bus. Also there should be enough of hotel rooms unlike in Stockholm when the city is filled with tens of thousands ice hockey fans.
Like every year the host city declares it will be a party for everybody and key locations in the city will be engaged. The Folkets park will be used for open air concerts and screening and maybe the EuroClub will be located there, too. Other options are Debaser and Amiralen Club in the center.
Centrally located Gustaf Adolfs torg could be used as the Eurovision Village that could be opened already a bit before the event hits the town.
The welcome reception could be hosted by the Malmö Opera, and the press center would be in Malmömässan. All venues well connected .... sounds a bit like Helsinki 2007 really where the whole city center was connected and involved with the Eurovision madness.... :-)
So, after all it sounds pretty good. This said I have never been a fan of the Swedish stages (I think both 2000 and especially 1992 in Malmö were rather awful and the presenters haven't been really that great either with the exception of Lill Lindfros in 1985 (and the stage that year was great, too) so I'm a bit skeptical about the show they will produce... and Melodifestivalen is a whole another story!)
Italy is cutting its costs as we all must know by now, and RAI is on the table now. They are to cut their funds for Sammarinese TV that RAI owns by 50%. The director of the channel, appointed directly from RAI's headquarters btw, Carmen Lasorella may return to RAI and the future of the channel is more or less uncertain if all this will happen in the end. And that puts in danger the participation in Eurovision as well. SMTV is trying to get new investors, maybe from Asia or Eastern Europe.
Crazy for happiness. That's what she is, Jannika B. She's just secured a recording deal and has just released this pulsating pop track Hulluksi onnesta. A great follow up to Onnenpäivä, her debut single. Let's see how her career will develop, her first try in Idols 2007 didn't take her that far, maybe it's her time now?
Lena Philipsson's divorce hasn't been a nice one and she's been through some rough times. Due to this she has cancelled her participation in Tomas Ledin's 60th anniversary concert next Tuesday in Skansen, Stockholm. that will be broadcasted live on SVT. "She's not ready to meet the TV cameras and the media interest yet" her publicists told the press. Tomas Ledin himself told he has talked to her and is sad she can't make it but understands fully. The other guests, among others Niklas Strömstedt, Eva Dahlgren and E-Type will be there.
Let's hope she can get herself together for the Pride concert on August 4, 2012!
Edyta Gorniak is having a great success in Poland again with her 6th album My. Teraz-tu features a very summery video and is in Polish but recently she has also released Consequences that's in English. What a fine vocalist she is and Poland should definately send her off to Eurovision again to make better her second place with To nie ja....
Well, can you blame them? Czech Republic managed to collect a total of 10 points in their three year's of participation, or two last places and one second to last place in semifinals. No wonder they are not keen to return and participate in 2013 either. Nor are they interested in broadcasting the show(s) so it also rules out the participation in 2014... But with songs like Have some fun and Aven romale, do we really mind? Mala dama was pretty good though!
It's summer in Montenegro and it sounds like Michalis Hatzigiannis To kalokairi mou . But it doesn't matter. I love this song and this reworked version works well, too. Moje leto is maybe more oriented for the late night than the original lazy afternoon one.... For me this is a tune filled with summer and good vibes!
And there's the annual rumor Michalis has been offered to return to Eurovision next year. This time for Greece.... And he's also to try again with an English material this fall, so....
EFR12 will broadcast another great interview by my flying reporter Robert in Baku 2012, this time with the Greek representative Eleftheria Eleftheriou. Make sure to tune in here at 9pm CET. The edited written version is here.
Loreen is one of the artists in Nordic Cavalcade concert on August 19, 2012 in Turku Castle. The concert is part of the Linnan juhlat aka Turku Castle Park Festival events August 17-25, 2012 and features also artists like Diandra Flores, Melissa Horn, Saara Aalto and PMMP. More info here.
It's not her only appearance in Finland this summer as on July 22 she will be in Mariehamn (Åland Islands)
Franco Battiato who never seems to stop working on music, books, films, operas and painting is on a Short summer tour right now with and without Filarmonica Arturo Toscanini. With the filharmonica that has 35 musicians, celebrating its 10th anniversary, he performs his classics with new arrangements, and with his band and Il Quartetto Italiano he continues the last summer's very successful tour. More info here. Here are the dates:
Madonna's third single off her latest album was shot in Firenze and the best of it is the location and pretty people and scenes and her own look is fab, too. The song itself clearly isn't one of her bests but fits in the summer mood. Turn up the radio or turn the sound off and enjoy the vision only :-). La festa è finita adesso. Allacciati la cintura, stronzetta! And I'm, waiting for her concert in Helsinki in a month....
Diandra Flores won the Finnish Idols and her debut album where she sings covers and new material in English and in Finnish came out last week and debuts at #1 in the album charts. Outta my head is the title track and the first single from it. Another song that has got already a lot of attention is Prinsessalle.
Desislava should have gone to Baku 2012 instead of Sofi, I still think so. Her Love is alive just would have had a better chance, even if Sofi did have her own sort of charm, too. Desislava is back with Moeto drugo az and is spicing up the gossip rags with the hot summer fling with the guy in the video....
Sabina Jeszka made herself known in a reality show in Poland and has now released her debut single Good times with a video that oozes just that, good times and summer! The song is wonderfully retro and could have been done in the 1980's already....
Let's stay in yesterday's theme with the questionable Swedish videos. Panda da Panda or Thibo Girardon is a Malmö based half French artist. He has released some music and videos and Titta när han dansar is surely gonna make your mouth drop - a little at least - and maybe bring a smile on your lips, too.
I don't know much about this Swedish duo but two videos were enough to make me like them. The recently released Jag vill ut besides being a catchy pop tune features a video that displays the reality of the youth in some god forgotten towns anywhere in Sweden (or Finland or anywhere else for that matter....). But with a twist in the end! Previously they have released another great song and video, Genova, that features a certain activity common to all of us, a longing for someone who isn't around... All done in a very artistic and tasteful way though but it's so called NSFW! :-)
EFR12 will broadcast another great interview by my flying reporter Robert in Baku 2012, this time with the sensation of the year, Albanian Rona Nishliu. Make sure to tune in here at 9pm CET. The edited written version is here.
Now this song is pure summer since the first notes. Enters the catchy chorus and the game is won. Summer hit! But will we remember it in the fall? For many (I hope) this will make lovely summer memories to remember in the future.... "Remember summer 2012? What a Madness!"
Well, now this is a surprise. I, like many others I believe, thought Malmö's bid was just a formality and Stockholm or rather Solna it would be. Instead we are off to Malmö for real. Most of the fans are not happy, and the Swedish people is rather buzzled as well. "It seems strange" headlines Aftonbladet. In their poll over 64% think it was a wrong decision. In Expressen's poll it's 62%. They write the real winner in the hosting race is Denmark and Copenhagen instead of Sweden. And some speculate already this is EBU's doing to make Eurovision a smaller scale event again, as they expressed their wish earlier this year.... Oh well, Malmö it is. All of you who have already booked rooms in Stockholm, you can now cancel them...
Kostas Martakis has released a new song and video. The song isn't very summery I guess but the video is even if shot in black and white. The song S' Exo Anagki, S' Agapo maybe takes a few listening to register but the wonderfully haunting piano in the background is all I need to like it....
Well, almost. The boys celebrated their 650.000th follower on Twitter by being photographed fresh from shower as promised. It's not the first time they drop their clothes as you see here. Meanwhile their second album is nearly here and the title track Young love is hitting the charts....
No, it's not the Milk and Honey of Hallelujah fame but an Italian production and rework of an old Paolo Conte classic. Not the first new version nor the last but perfect for this summer! Via con me (It's wonderful) also has a fantastic video filled with Italian sunshine, ice cream, coffee, sights..... the whole package! Quanto mi manca!
Alice gave a concert in Milano last night and in the track list we had two songs from the forthcoming album in September, namely a cover Il cielo by late Lucio Dalla, and a new song written by Mino Di Martino Morire d'amore. Online has emerged also Per Elisa.
In an interview with La Repubblica she declares as a fan of Tiziano Ferro since his early career: "I have always liked his way of songwriting that is never banal which isn't easy. A common friend introduced us and I have to say Tiziano has been very gentle and available, something I didn't expect." And how could she not include a song by Franco Battiato? "I was listening his Ombra della luce in my car and decided to call him and him to write me another song that would be as beautiful as that. And he did!" Photo by Giuseppe Nicoloro
Eleftheria Eleftheriou is looking ahead with her new summer single Hearts collide, another Swedish production and rather easy tune - in from one ear and out from the other - but then aren't most of the summer songs so? The video is nice and filled with eye candy for all genres though ;-p Here.