Today it's been 15 years since the most famous woman on globe died in a tunnel in Paris. You all know of course who I am talking about. Not being exactly a fan but when I heard the news, sitting at work that morning in central Rome it was a weird feeling, an awkward moment. One of those "you remember exactly where you were and what you were doing when you heard" moments. I felt like I've lost someone I really knew. And closest I ever had with her was in November 1989 when I was in Hong Kong and so was she, and I saw her - and the man that later married the rottweiler, like she used to call her - walking by just meters away upon their arrival. She was already in an unhappy mood. You could see it even if it wasn't public yet. The funeral followed with Elton John making some publicity for himself before he took as his purpose in life to mock Madonna... Her faith was such a shame. I think she looked prettier and happier than ever in her last summer. The summer of 1997.... One can only hope she died happy....
Friday, August 31, 2012
Thursday, August 30, 2012
I don't know how it is where you are but here the summer's over. The non existing summer of 2012. So we need Roman Lob to Call out the sun and hope for a few sunny days still to come......
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Finland's second largest city - and this blogger's hometown - Espoo will host the UMK (Uuden musiikin kilpailu) 2013 final on February 9, 2013. Barona Arena was built in 1999 and can host up to 8.000 people. It's the home of Espoo Blues ice hockey team but also often used for concerts and names like Laura Pausini, Harry Belafonte and Alice Cooper have performed there, and this season's Talent semifinals and final will be broadcasted from there, too.
Fans of reality show and Eurovision have a lot to watch this fall season in TV. The Big Brother kicks off tonight and while there are no Eurovision stars as housemates (as far as we know) the presenter of the Big Brother Extra show every early evening and co-host of the main weekly show is none other than Cristal Snow! Remember Can't save me from Euroviisut 2008? And in this season's Dances with stars we have Princess of the republic, vision in pink Krisse Salminen who charmed the world in Eurovision 2007 co-host trying her dancing skills. Euroviisut contestant Jippu is there, too, from the same year as Cristal with Kanna minut and so is Antonio Flores, the partner of runner up in the latest presidential elections earlier this year, Pekka Haavisto. Nothing to do with Eurovision or music but a remarkable thing anyways!
Monday, August 27, 2012
"Sometimes you have to go far to see near" is the slogan of this sort of a road movie where one day at the door of a concert pianist played by Samuli Edelmann stands his long lost father, played by Vesa-Matti Loiri who stated a couple of years ago he wouldn't do any movies anymore. "When I read the script, was told Mika Kaurismäki would direct and Samuli would pay my son, I couldn-t but accept" he told the press once the news is out. The preview of Tie pohjoiseen (Road to the north) was last weekend and it was a box office smash hit like one would have imagined; nearly 37.000 viewers and this year's second best opening and clearly the most watched movie over the weekend beating Disney's brave by 20.000 viewers.Tuomittuna kulkemaan.
Sunday, August 26, 2012
Museumplein in Amsterdam played host to the big Eurovision concert with Holland Symfonia (support and read more about the orchestra and it's fight for survival here). Blogilkar's Robert was on the spot, of course!
Three actors played Eurovision singers belting out classics like Tu te reconnaitras, Ik hou van jou, All kinds of everything, Save your kisses for me, Hold me now and Waterloo. Some were done very well, especially Annet Malherbe turned out to be fabulous in her solo numbers. Loes Lucas did a decent job but unfortunately Jeroen Willems turned out to be the weakest link by far nearly raping Non ho l'età, Gente di mare and his version Everyway that I can was rather special, too. Besides the obvious choice of performing winning song some great runner ups were also in the line like 1,2,3 and Eres tu. Special guest stars Lenny Kuhr and Edsilia Rombley really shined and showed why they are the stars. Lenny was in top form oozing sympathy and Edsilia was the usual smile source of energy topped with fine vocals. The pouring rain came down during her Hemel een aarde, which was only fitting for the song and didn't stop people singing along under their umbrellas.
Loes Lucas did a speech at some point for the support of the orchestra and the audience responded wildly. And indeed it's rather strange decision by the Dutch government... shame on them!
You can watch the whole concert here.
Another post on Alice? I hear you ask. Oh yes! Her return to release new material is worth every post and moment in any media. First of all on top you can see the real cover of the album Samsara to be released on September 18, 2012 - the one circulating earlier on internet was a false. Here you can see a snippet of the very beautiful video and on top of that, the first single off the album, Tiziano Ferro penned Nata ieri has climbed to top-40 in the iTunes the day after its release. Fantastico!
This blogger is very, very pleased she sings the way she used to mixing her own voice in choirs singing deep and high the same time.... God, I missed that!
Saturday, August 25, 2012
The troubled Sopot festival was held again this year after a couple of year's break. The line up included three Eurovision stars; Gerard Lenorman (France), Musiqq (Latvia) and Eric Saade (Sweden) who also took the Amber Nightingale Grand Prix of the festival with Hotter than fire. He also won Top of the Top award.
In all there were 15 artists/countries taking part: Poland, Switzerland, Russia, Portugal, Bulgaria, Iceland, Lithuania, Estonia, Croatia, Hungary, Albania, Ukraine and Spain completing the cast.
For some years Sopot hosted the Intervision Song contest, the anti-Eurovision song contest in the East, where only Finland and Yogoslavia took part of the Eurovision countries, and Finland won twice - both times thanks to Marion Rung (1974, 1980). More information here.
Anna Bergendahl has been kind of out of spotlight recently but now she's back! She's been in the States recording her second album Something to believe in to be released in October 2012. And she's really got something to believe in; her voice sounds fantastic in the new single Live and let go that comes with a very nice Californian video to match. Great stuff! You should all learn to love her again.... (You know who you are)
Friday, August 24, 2012
The summer is ending even in Italy (maybe not weatherwise...) and people's favorite past time is here: gossip. And if it's about Sanremo even better. The first name given as certain to be participating in next year's festival is Gino Paoli. He's a youngster of 76. The winner of 2011 edition Roberto Vecchini (68) is a baby compared to him and he wouldn't figure out even among the Buranovskiye Babushki...
This said the man has a remarkable career that covers already seven decades and one of his best known songs is from 1959, Il cielo in una stanza. Dozens of versions have been recorded ever since Mina made the song a hit until these days by Carla Bruni Sarkozy, Franco Battiato, Mike Patton of Faith No More and others. Another classic is Sapore di sale.
This would be his sixth Sanremo following the participations of 1961, 1964, 1966, 1989 and 2002 where he came third with Un altro amore. His latest album is from 2009.
The names of the artists for Sanremo 2013 will be probably announced just before Christmas and we will see if Gino is one of them or not.
Alice's new album Samsara, her first since 1998 with new material will be released on September 18, 2012. Before that, the new single Nata ieri will be on radios August 24 and the day after in iTunes! Nata ieri or Born yesterday is written by Tiziano Ferro. She is supposed to go on tour later this year.
Listen a sample here. And here's a bit of the video.
Listen a sample here. And here's a bit of the video.
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
EFR12 radio will once again broadcast interviews my flying reporter Robert did in Baku 2012. This time it's a double treat: Nina Zilli from Italy and Can Bonomo from Turkey. 9pm here. You can also read the edited versions here and here.
Sweden's ABBA won the 1974 Eurovision with Waterloo and brought the contest for the first time to Sweden, where it was held in Stockholmsmässän on March 22, 1975. I don't have any first hand memories of this as I was only 8 back then and have seen the video only later. But the Eurovision fever was very different in the country back then apparently and the final was held among protests and anti-Eurovision demostrations, something that sounds rather funny today! One of the main things to remember is the voting system launched that year, the very same used still today and created by Finns. The first ever "12 points" went to Luxembourg btw, and the winning the Netherlands got six out of 18 possible. A total of 19 countries present when Greece withdraw for Turkey invaded northern Cyprus in 1974 and was present. Also Portugal mixed politics with Eurovision.
The presenter Karin Falck mixed most everything and totally lost it in the voting. And here. Or she was lost in the beginning already.... Well, she certainly had her charm....
The stage was a simple small one with blue waves (?) in the background and of course there was the orchestra and the conductors! The artists painted themselves in the postcards after walking down the stairs... Well, that was an idea like any other I guess.
So, the Netherlands won with Ding-a-dong (their last btw), the United Kingdom was second once again with Let me be the one and Italy third with Era. France and Luxembourg complete the top-5. Sweden was respectable 8th with Jennie, Jennie while Turkey came last with 3 points, all of them from Monaco, with Seninle bir dakika. Of the other songs it's worth mentioning Germany's entry that has become some kind of cult song among Eurovision fans and indeed deserved much more than 17th place. Finland gained surprisingly one of its best placings ever when Pihasoittajat finished 7th.
Here's my ranking: 1.ITALY 2.NETHERLANDS 3.GERMANY 4.SWEDEN 5.SPAIN 6.FRANCE 7.SWITZERLAND 8 ISRAEL 9.UNITED KINGDOM 10.FINLAND 11.MONACO 12.LUXEMBOURG 13.TURKEY 14.BELGIUM 15.YOGOSLAVIA 16.MALTA 17.PORTUGAL 18.IRELAND 19.NORWAY
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Franco Battiato, the Italian genius of seven notes will release his new album Apriti Sesamo in October by Universal. It is his first album with only new material in five years. In between he has published two albums with covers and new versions of his own songs and collaborated with names like Tiziano Ferro (Il tempo stesso) and Francesco Renga (La strada). Not much else is known about the album yet, but the lyrics should be once again my Manilo Sgalambro, and the album also includes the song they wrote for Alice's new album Samsara to be released in September, Eri con me, in a different version.
As previously stated in this blog the autumn 2012 promises big things in the Italian music scene.... :-)
Monday, August 20, 2012
Here it is finally, simply called Eva & Manu and guess what? It went straight to #1 in iTunes! It's also Ylex's Album of the week so you can listen to it here. Apparently their gig in Helsinki was a huge success, I sadly missed it. They were the official debutantes of Helsinki Festival 2012. A well deserved honor. Get yours here or buy the album! Here for example.
These darlings are the most interesting to come out in Finland since.... err.... since... Chisu?
Remember Elin Blom who fronted Sister Twister that represented Finland in the MGP Nordic, and then tried to get to represent Finland in the real thing before moving to Sweden and making herself known in the Swedish Idols? Well, she has moved apparently to Los Angeles now and emerges with her debut American single and video Kung Fu... Little girls grow up!
The Finnish post has reached the 1990's in their series of stamps featuring popular artists. The stanps are published on September 3, 2012 and the criteria for choosing these six artists is that their career and popularity is still strong besides them being top sellers of the 1990's. Among them we have two Eurovision veterans, Jari Sillanpää and Laura Voutilainen, OGAE Second chance winner Anna Eriksson, the best selling female singer of the 1990's Kaija Koo and two ever popular bands, The Agents and Yölintu. The stamps simply feature their best seller album sleeves.
Saturday, August 18, 2012
Pussy Riot has been sentenced in Russia two years in Russia for this and there has been an international outrage. Many artists have showed their support, among them Rambo Amadeus and Madonna:
“What we need now is a creative sentence solution!” says Rambo Amadeus after hearing the guilty verdict in Pussy Riot case. ”Obvious punishment would be a 100 Euro fine, but as we all know, there are no Euros in Russia. So I suggest Putin to order Pussy Riot to hold a concert together with Buranovskie Babushki. Maybe even a nation-wide tour.”
Also Madonna commented : "I protest the conviction and sentencing of Pussy Riot to a penal colony for two years for a 40 second performance extolling their political opinions. Even if one disagrees with the location or how they chose to express themselves, the sentence is too harsh and in fact is inhumane. I call on all those who love freedom to condemn this unjust punishment. I urge artists around the world to speak up in protest against this travesty. They've spent enough time in jail. I call on ALL of Russia to let Pussy Riot go free."
Viktor Klimenko, Eurovision 1965 in Naples with Aurinko laskee länteen, is celebrating his 50th anniversary in the business with a tour around Finland. He is joined on stage by Kuunkuiskaajat, Eurovision 2010 with Työlki ellää, which is rather fitting.
Viktor Klimenko, the Singing Cossack as he was labelled in the 1970's when he's popularity was at the peak after the release of Stenka rasin album that went platinum and was released also abroad. In 1980 he was reborn as a Christian and turned into gospel.... He has also an ongoing acting career both on stage and in TV and films.
He got the Finnish passport only in 1973 and therefor was sent to Naples with an alien passport and that was his first ever trip abroad. So, one can argue was Geir Rönning the first and only non Finnish to represent the country in Eurovision....
07.09. Mikkeli / Martti Talvela-Sali
08.09. Lappeeranta / Lappeenranta-Sali
21.09. Turku / Logomo
28.09. Tampere / Tampere – Sali
12.10. Joensuu / Carelia – Sali
26.10. Oulu / Madetoja – Sali
27.10. Kuopio / Musiikkikeskus
02.11. Seinäjoki / Seinäjoki – Sali
10.11. Pori / Promendali-Sali
Friday, August 17, 2012
A group of Finns has made a wonderfully visual video and really nice song I've only just begun directed by Elias Koskimies and featuring familiar faces from the Helsinki LGBT scene. The video's main character Venuz Vulgar and co. decide to go to St.Petersburg to release a friend that has been prisoned for being gay. On the road they have to fight religious haters, skinheads and all the rest. Rather apocalyptic but the march to St.Petersburg continues...
Koskimies tells he did the video with his own credit card and some 60 volunteers. Well done. Show your support. Watch it.
Thursday, August 16, 2012
Solomon has delivered another catchy pop tune and fancy video to go with it, Life goes on. It could be just a matter of time he breaks to the mainstream pop charts and gets the hit he deserves.... Meaning he should be known much much better!
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
This is so horrible it's already good. Estonian N-Euro creates Hawaii on the beach of Baltics with a couple hula girls, fills a cheesy tune with Spanish words - what would a trashy euro summer hit be without? - and if you can get over his hairdo and most of the rest, this is actually rather catchy and entertaining tune! And talk about low budget video! Hula girl indeed. LOL.
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
If you plan to send a song to the Finnish national final, ex-Euroviisut, now UMK (Uuden musiikin kilpailu) 2013 you must do so by September 16 by 4pm. The artist on demo must be the final one, there can be only one song by an artist and the song cannot be sent to any other national final. And of course the artist must be 16 years old by the date of the first semifinal in Malmö, and the song can't be longer than 3 minutes.
YLE's jury will select 12 songs to be announced on December 3, 2012. The final will be held in February 2013 but how do we get there and how many songs will take it that far is not told yet...
Full rules here.
Hungarian Eurovision hopeful Andras Kállay Saunders has teamed up with Swedish Rebstar for this Tonight. Great video and very international sounding track and no wonder Universal Hungary has made him their main priority at the moment to launch a big breakthrough and worldwide stardom. Maybe he could still do Eurovision 2013 in between? Please?
Madonna's second concert turned out to be a success after all the controversy in Russia and France for example. Nearly full Olympic stadium enjoyed the show despite nearly freezing temperatures once the sun set - what a contrast to her first ever Finnish concert almost exactly three years ago when it was still +25 at midnight after one of the hottest days in the century! I think the the Sticky tour's set was maybe better, more solid. This MDNA was a rather confusing package jumping from one atmosphere to another, and maybe missing real highlights. However, the opening and Masterpiece stood out, and nothing beats Like a prayer, especially when the stage is taken over by a full gospel choir.
Last time Madonna stayed in Helsinki almost a week and took the kids to swim in the sea. Today, she is still here and she took the kids to Linnanmäki amusement park. Nothing extra was asked for them and they were able to walk around and have fun like mortal commoners. She even took a ride in the roller coaster (built in 1950 of wood and still mainly original)! I have a feeling she likes it here!
Monday, August 13, 2012
Russian duo Sergey and Yulia of Out of Space are losing control in this video for Я теряю контроль. The video is pretty fun and summery and the song is a good example of trashy europop but the I love the lazy beat! And it's refreshing they haven't done it in English, or shout some Spanish nonsense in between. And Sergey dances like there's no tomorrow....
Sunday, August 12, 2012
Italian national hero, writer and journalist Roberto Saviano will be among the guests in Sanremo 2013, a bit like Adriano Celentano last year. It will be interesting to see what he will talk about! On the other hand he declares himself a fan of the festival, it being one of the few national popular events that unites the country for a few days when everything just rolls around it from politics to business and entertainment. It's worth remembering also that there will be parliamentary elections in Italy soon after Sanremo...
Saviano, most know for his book Gomorra (Gomorrah) published back in 2006 where he describes the clandestine particularities of the Camorra and mafia business. After that he was threaten by various Naples godfathers and the Italian Minister of the Interior had to grant him a 24/7 police escort. By 2008 he was ready to leave Italy but likes of Orhan Pamuk, Dario Fo, Rita Levi Montalcini, Desmond Tutu, Gunther Grass and Michail Gorbachev published an open letter demanding the Italian state to secure his safety. In 2011 he was granted the Olof Palme prize. He still lives in a secret location to avoid attacks by the mafia.
He was also accused by former premier Silvio Berlusconi - of all people! - of defaming the country and being unpatriotic....
He was also accused by former premier Silvio Berlusconi - of all people! - of defaming the country and being unpatriotic....
Saturday, August 11, 2012
Norwegian ex-Idols, ex-MGP artist Tone Damli joins forces with Swedish heartthrob Eric Saade in this duet Imagine. The video is a pretty display of both of them in more or less steamy situations and Saade gets to challenge likes of Dima Bilan for being with open shirts and muscles in the air while Tone just looks pretty. Oh the song? Well, nice summer tune, isn't it?
The power of goodbye (1998). A fantastic pop song, that would also make a perfect Eurovision entry :-)
Your heart is not open so I must go
The spell has been broken, I loved you so
You were my lesson I had to learn
Friday, August 10, 2012
American Broadway musical star and songwriter Matt Zarley has released yet another fantastic track following WTF, Had I known and Perfect, all with great videos, too. This Trust me must be the best so far, great story line in the video, fun to watch and great to listen to if this kind of music is your cup of tea, and mine it is. And it's so refreshing someone show the other side in videos in such a natural way. Fab!
Another Madonna track that was kinda lost in controversy of American Life album and deserved so much more is Love profusion (2004), not forgetting the beautiful video!
There is no comprehension, There is real isolation
There is so much destruction, What I want is a celebration
Thursday, August 09, 2012
Alexander Bard's new project is called Gravitonas fronted by singer Andreas Öhrn following the footsteps of likes of Army of Lovers, Vacuum and Bwo. Their latest effort Call your name has come out in an EP featuring 17 remixes, just in case they weren't sure which one worked best...