Thursday, July 31, 2014

EUROVISION: FACELIFT FOR THE LOGO

While Eurovision song contest is heading for it's 60th edition EBU has decided to give a little face lift for its generic logo. Until 2003 there was no generic logo and broadcasters created their own ones instead and it was a bit confusing really.... Then in 2004 the heart shaped "v"logo was introduced for Istanbul contest. Ever since that logo has branded all Eurovision song contest events and merchandising along with annual broadcaster's own event sub logos and themes from Under the same sky to Feel the rhythm, True fantasy and #JoinUs. All matched together with the generic logo.
What do you think? On top the new one with the next host's flag and and below the first one featuring the Turkish flag.... This blogger likes the simplified and cleaner logo and the change of the letter type to Gotham. Well done!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

SUMMER EUROBOYS: IAKOVOS GOGUA - XILIES KAI MIA NYXTES

Iakovos Gogua was one of the Greek Friends of Giorgios Alkaios that got us go OPA! while dancing in the Eurovision song contest 2010. Huh! Gogua has now released Xilies kai mia nyxtes, that translates to a thousand and one nights. The video matches the theme with a lot of harem inspired trousers, half naked bodies, fire and all that mysterious orient.... His smooth voice fits nicely to this song that sounds like most every Greek Eurovision entry (in a good way!) A perfect mix for hot summer nights!
You can check more of his male belly dancing here

Saturday, July 26, 2014

VALENTINA MONETTA IN CONCERT IN SAN MARINO

Valentina Monetta is giving a kind of home coming concert to present her latest album Sensibilità to the people of San Marino. The venue is none other than the country's main square, the famous Piazza della Libertá next to Palazzo Pubblico aka the building that houses the Sammarinese government and the city hall. Yes, the very one you see in most every image of San Marino. How cool is that? 
Anyways, Valentina and her band (Simone Migani in piano, Claudio Malerba in drums and Alex Gori in bass) will perform songs from her album and surely some old favorites like Una giornata bellissima and of course, all her three Eurovision entries. Yours truly will be present and will bring you exclusive photos and stuff in due time.

The concert starts at 21.30 on August 5, 2014. The concert is part of Estateincentro, a series of events taking place in the historic center of San Marino city in summer nights. 

Friday, July 25, 2014

SUMMER EUROBOYS AND A GIRL: AJDA PEKKAN & KENAN DOGULU - HARIKA

Well, it's really Ozan Doğulu feat. Ajda Pekkan & Kenan Doğulu singing Harika, that translates as Great. Ozan is Kenan's brother who shook it up worth of a fourth place in Helsinki 2007 with Shake it up, Şekerim. He was and has stayed in top ever since. The brothers are joined by the original Turkish süperstar Ajda Pekkan who hasn't aged a bit since her 1980's Pet'r Oil. This trio offers a sing-a-long summer hit with a touch of the 1980's that sticks to your head with some added oriental flavor. This bloggers approves highly. They have also had a chance to perform it live

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

EUROVISION 2015 FINAL ON MAY 23

ORF and EBU have confirmed the dates for the Eurovision song contest 2015 in Austria. It all moved a week forward from the previously announced dates so the final takes place on Saturday May 23, 2015 while the semifinal as usual the previous Tuesday and Thursday, or May 19 and 21.  The venua has not yet been announced but it's due soon. Vienna's Wiener Stadthalle, Inssbruck's OlympiaWorld and Graz's Stadthalle are still in the running,meaning Vienna's other offer, Marx hall has been dropped. 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

SUMMER EUROBOYS: DIMA BILAN - BOLYEN TOBOY

Eurovision 2008 winner Russian Dima Bilan has grown a beard, maybe inspired by Ms Wurst? and has released yet another single Bolyen toboy that apparently translates to Addicted to you. Or Sick of you. He also shows us how he brushes his teeth and drives a (sponsored) car among other things. The song isn't bad, I rather enjoy it. But it's nothing original or memorable either, a perfect summer ear worm that won't propaby figure high on his resumè later on. In fact it's just like every other song on RU TV music channel that I have now pleasure of having among my cable channels at home. It's quite amazing how every song and video is in the same genre and sounds pretty much the same really. Fascinating! This was played there the other day and I did notice it playing while doing something else elsewhere but only because I recognized his voice..... that is always a pleasure to listen to when passed though studio mics as I do have a soft spot for Dima, unlike most of Eurovision fans it seems.
But whatever happened to Alien24 project? 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

SUMMER EUROBOYS: SEBASTIEN TELLIER - ALLER VERS LE SOLEIL

Ok, I'm pushing the "boy" here a bit for Sebastien Tellier (Eurovision 2008 with Divine for France) but his new song is full of summer in the feeling (lounge chilling after a day at the beach, anyone?) and the song title Aller vers le soleil itself is already filled with sun. This is taken from his latest album L'Aventura released this May. Awesome landscapes in the video and the song kinda sticks to your head even if it's not really going anywhere, is it? Awkwardly  pleasant. A bit like his live performance. Featuring bearded woman btw.... So 2014, isn't it?

EUROVISION 2015: CYPRUS RETURNS

Cyprus has confirmed a return to Eurovision after one year of absence. And instead of an internal selection or one night only national final they are planning a long, long procedure that fans have already labeled Melodifestivalen-esque. There will be audition shows, semifinals, second chance round and of course the grand final. But after all that there will be only four songs in the final. The good thing is that Cyprus takes lead from Finland and the same rule apply: At least one of the writers must be a Cypriot (and probably the same goes for the lead singer, like in Finland?) 
Cyprus joined the Eurovision in 1981 and has failed to participate or willingly not taken part only in three occasions: 1988, 2001 and 2014. They have scored 5th place (their best) three times: Anna Vissi's Mono i agapi (1982), Hara & Andreas Konstantinou's Mana mou (1997) and fabulous Lisa Andreas with Stronger every minute (2004). This blogger welcomes Cyprus back with open arms, they have sent many favorites along the years.... 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

MACEDONIA COMES TO EUROVISION 2015 WITH THE SKOPJE FEST WINNER

Macedonia has confirmed their presense in the 2015 Eurovision song contest and the biggest local music festival, Skopje Fest will be the selection form as its winner will go to Austria. Last year Lambe Alabakovski won with Ke te chekam jas but internally selected Tijana went to Copenhagen instead. (Hopefully Lambe comes back!) But this is not the first time the Skopje winner goes to Eurovision as it has happened already more often that not, namely in (1996), 1998, 2000, 2002, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011. However Macedonia hasn't feared so well in Eurovision failing six times out of the last seven participations to qualify to the final. The exception is Kaliopi's fantastic Crno i belo in 2012 that sailed to the final and finished 13th - the best ever for Macedonia so far. 
This year Skopje Fest will take place on November 13 and 20 songs will take part. The application period to take part is open until July 31, 2014. In the final there is a 50-50 televote-international jury.

Monday, July 14, 2014

DING DONG! MARRY ME THE MOST PLAYED SONG ON YLE IN 2013

Teosto, the Finnish performance rights organization that collects royalties, has made public the most played and performed songs in Finland. Overall the most played and performed song on radios, TV and gigs was Anssi Kela's Levoton tyttö with over 6.600 performances followed by J.Karjalainen's Meripihkahuone and Erin's Ei taida tyttö tietää.
But if we look only at YLE's radio channels the number one is suprisingly Krista Siegfrid's Marry me, the Finnish Eurovision 2013 entry! It collected 1.165 plays, or divided througout the year it was played on some of YLEs radio channels three-four times a day, every day of the year! Who says Eurovision music is not played?
That is even more remarkable if we think the Finnish music makes only 25% of the music played on YLE's channels and in TV even less, 16%. In commercial radios it's a bit better, 29%. But the Finnish music is alive in gigs and festivals, from 67 to 80% (depending a category).

EUROVISION 2015: VIENNA IS NOT GIVING UP - STEP FORWARD NEU MARX

The fight for the right to host the 2015 Eurovision song contest in Austria is turning also a political decision. While ORF seem to favor Innsbruck's OlympiaWorld complex that has the back up by the local Tourist board and regional authorities and Landeschef Günther Platter (ÖVP) has secured the financing. But the mayor of Vienna, Michael Häupl (SPÖ, is having none of that in sight of the elections in 2015. As it seems Wiener Stadthalle is losing as considered outdated and also already booked with events that should be moved elsewhere (at the cost of ORF obviously). Also Graz's offering is considered without any chances at this stage.
Now mayor Häupl is throwing in the Joker and pushing the second choice in Vienna still in the running: a new temporary built hall in Neu Marx. It seems the plans for that existed already way before Conchita's Wurst's win and Austria's rise from the Eurovision ashes like a Phoenix indeed. This multi-purpose hall, the largest in Europe of its kind, would host 15.000 viewers and would be used for other concerts, shows and exhibitions after Eurovision. The press center, delegation areas and the rest would be located to the Rinderhalle (pictured below) next door. Location has also a good trasport services. ORF has a budget of 25 million euros for the Eurovision song contest 2015 and it is obvious Vienna has to put tens of millions of euros for this solution. Will it happen in the election year?
Anyways, the time is running out. ORF should decide on the venue withtin two weeks.....
The poll in Österreich.at website indicates people are indeed in favor for the Neu Marx solution before Innsbruck and the other Vienna bid.... If Neu Marx is chosen, it would be the third especially for Eurovision built venue in four years after Baku and Copenhagen.....
Is this the Eurovision 2015 "island"?

Sunday, July 13, 2014

SUMMER EUROBOYS: WHO SEE - NEMAN TI KAD

Who See featuring Nina Zizic brought Igranka to Eurovision last year but despite being a favorite by many (including this blogger) and outstanding live performance failed to make the final. Now the boys have travelled all the way to Bangkok where they shot the video for Neman ti kad (When I have nothing) among the political demostrations. The video features Montenegrin model Nicola Masonicicu trying all sort of things "when he has nothing" to make the living from a Roman Gladiator to escort.... The song itself is a sort of reggae rap that doesn't really go anywhere but you don't quite notice as you are watching the video.... and it's just fine for a lazy summer day on the beach, isn't it?

Saturday, July 12, 2014

OGAE SONG CONTEST 2014: GIORGIA FOR ITALY

Giorgia again. The winner of OGAE Video 2012 contest with È l'amore che conta (but she did represent Italy in Video contest the year before, too, and in OGAE Song contest already in 2003 as well) returns to OGAE contests with Quando una stella muore the first single off her latest album Senza paura (followed by I will pray (Pregherò) in duet with Alicia Keys, Non mi ami and Io fra tanti so far). She has collected also a triplet of Sanremo trophies: winner in 1995 with Come saprei, third in 1996 with Strano il mio destino and second in 2001 with Di sole e d'azzurro. This blogger is only waiting, whishing and hoping she would do Eurovision some time soon! Some other favorite songs by this Roman singer include E poi, Marzo , Gocce di memoria and Il mio giorno migliore.She may be tiny as a person but her voice is huge. If she was American she would give a run of their vocal cords to likes of certain Célines, Cristinas and Beyonces, not to mention late Whitney.
So, Italy is all set to continuing its good run in the OGAE Song contest with Giorgia's Quando una stella muore, when a star dies.... 
The Italian selection included 18 songs that were first voted by two juries; one Italian and one Iinternational and top-2 from both went to the super final of four. The Italians favored Elisa and Giorgia followed by Arisa and Cesare Cremonini while the International jury went for Arisa and Noemi followed by Elisa and Giorgia. But in the superfinal Giorgia beats the other ladies clearly with 19 votes (each Italian only voter had one vote) when Elisa gets 12, Arisa 10 and Noemi 6. (Full results here in Italiano) And you can listen to all songs here.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

OGAE SONG CONTEST 2014: JANNA FOR FINLAND

Janna has won the Finnish selection for the OGAE Song Contest 2014 with her first Finnish language single Sä et ole hullu (You are not crazy). The song was released last year and became a #2 hit on download, #3 in radios and #13 in singles chart. The follow up sngles have been Läpinäkyvä and Tytöt lähtee tanssimaan. Before this #1 self titled album in Finnish she has released two albums in English in 2007 and 2008 that were also released in some Asian and European countries. Her homepage is here and Facebook here.
Janna is daughter of Maarit Hurmerinta, a multiple Euroviisu participant since 1973.
Finland is yet to win this fan contest.

SUMMER EUROGIRLS: ELENA - MAMMA MIA (HE'S ITALIANO)

Elena Gheorghe has been delivering hits ever since her Eurovision adventure with The Balcan girls back in 2009. This summer she teams up with Glance for Mamma mia (He's Italiano) which is Romanian summer pop by numbers including hilariously idiotic lyrics filled with commonly known Italian words and a hook that stick to your mind. (They teamed already last year with Ecou that became #1 in Romania) It's a nice summer earworm that wouldn't sound quite the same in winter's darkness but in summer sun and a cocktail or two running through your veins it's just perfect. But one question remains: Can you trust an Italiano?

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

SUMMER EUROBOYS: RYAN DOLAN - FALL TO THE FLOOR

Ireland's Eurovision hope last year, Ryan Dolan has since come out and it seems he's one of those artists who can't stop coming out over and over again in his music and videos. His Eurovision 2013 performance of Only love survives was one of the gayest ever (propably unintentionally), the follow up single Start again was a sort of coming out story dealing with bullying, acceptance and suicides. In this new one, Fall to the floor he is dealing with gay relationship and break up. Like his previous songs it's nice. The boy can sing for sure, the song is a good pop song and after a few listenings it actually sounds very nice indeed. Ryan is about to release his debut album this summer and it looks like it's going to be a pretty poptastic one.

EMMA: I WANT TO BE POPE BECAUSE.....

Emma Marrone is in the middle of The Limited Edtion Tour and has declared the following:
"I want to be Pope so I could give gays the possibility to marry 
and adopt many children!" 
At the same time the rumours about her possible sapphic relations emerge again....
She's also gone totally wild with self irony with ther merchandising as you can buy t-shirts with texts like "Mi vuoi morta? Fai la fila..." (You want me dead? Get in line...) and basketball jerseys with "Brown 21" written on them, celebrating her 21st place in the Eurovision.... I think I kinda like that....
Her tour debuted last night in Verona and contiues in Lucca the 11th, in Padua the 19th, in Gallipoli 22nd, in Taormina the 26th and ends in Naples the 28th.

Monday, July 07, 2014

SUMMER EUROBOYS: KALLAY SAUNDERS - JULIET

Today we move to Hungary with the new releases of Eurovision stars. The son of an American soul singer and Hungarian model of noble origins András Kállay Saunders has been enjoying hit after hit and his 5th placed Eurovision entry Running has been a chart topper and multi awarded success in Hungary. Here comes the follow up, Juliet. A lovely midtempo song with beautiful video. Very nice indeed. This blogger has been a fan of his since the times of Csak veled back in 2011 and I'm eagerly waiting for his debut album! And didn't he say he wants to do Eurovision again in 2015?

Sunday, July 06, 2014

SUMMER EUROBOYS: VAIDAS BAUMILA - FREE LOVE

Let's start a summer series of Eurovision artists and their other music to enjoy this summer before some serious Eurovision 2015 news emerge.
Lithuanian national finalist Vaidas Baumila - who should have won IMHO with his version of Attention - has released a laid back summer song Free love with a video to match; beach, sun, sand... and it's summer 2014 so the FIFA World cup gets a hint, too. Very nice little song that is as easy on the ear as is the video for the eye. Maybe not exactly a megahit but well done, Vaidas. Me likes! And please come back for 2015!

Friday, July 04, 2014

FINLAND. UMK 2015 FINAL IN MARCH

YLE has released the rules for the 2015 Uuden Musiikin kilpailu aka UMK. The final is set to March without the exact date nor venue but most likely it's Saturday March 6 and Barona Arena in Espoo again. For the 2015 season the big news are the juries are no longer there and all programmes are live ones. The exact procedure will be revealed in due time.
As for the rules they seem the same as before. The submitting period lasts only one week from September 1, 2014. Besides the rules set by EBU there are some set by YLE as well: An artist can be soloist in one song only but he or she can be part of a group in another song. Writers and producers can participate with several songs. The song can't be send into any other country's selection. At least one of the writers and main solist(s) must be Finns or have a permanent residence in Finland. The song may last over 3 minutes but the winner must provide YLE with a 3 minute version for the Eurovision in due time. YLE will also name a producer to help with the production of the final versions. One can also use their own producers as long as the final version meets the quality and technical standards set by YLE. 
Who will follow Pernilla Karlsson, Krista Siegfrids and Softengine? We will know in eight months! So far it's been better every year, will we be in the top-10 next year?

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

PATRICK FIORI - CHOISIR

Patrick Fiori's  career kick started with the Eurovision 1993 when this Corsican-Armenian young talent sung for France his love for Mama Corsica. Despite becoming respectable 4th he still didn't set the charts on fire. A hit musical Notre Dame de Paris followed with #1 single Belle and since then he has been among the top male singers in France with succesful collaborations with Jean Jacques Goldman (who also made Céline Dion in France for real). Earlier this year he released his ninth studio album Choisir, that reached #2 in France and charted also in Belgium and Switzerland. The lead single of the album was Elles and now he has also released the second one featuring Tommy, J'espère que tu vas bien.  You can also enjoy a little look back to his 20 years in business here, and yes, Eurovision is mentioned! This blogger has always been very fond if this little older Fiori-Goldman collaboration: 4 mots sur un piano. Another #1 hit by the way.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

SANNA NIELSEN - 7

Sanna Nielsen has released her new album simple titled 7. No, it's not her seventh album or even seventh studio album. It marks her seventh attempt to win Melodifestivalen! Obviously it includes her Melodifestivalen winner and Eurovision 3rd placed Undo, that also charted nicely in Sweden (#1), Denmark (#5), Finland (#7), Switzerland (#11), Austria (#12) and entered the Top-40 also in Germany, UK, Ireland, Belgium and the Netherlands. Time will tell if she manages to pull off a follow up from it. meanwhile let's listen a couple of nice bossanova and hard rock covers of Undo by Smoke Ring Sisters and My Remorse. ISA takes a more similar take on the same. As does Ending Sequence. And so does Wendy van MarenUtbryggarna go for a soul version. But Sanna herself does it best, no doubt about that with her heartfelt interpretation. 
The album includes 8 songs, including also Rainbow, Ready and also an acoustic edit of Undo. Sadly, none of the rather nice dance remixes of the same is included. 
The album is a step to a more modern and interntional sound so goodbye to schlager-Sanna as we have known her (All about love being closest to that) . Unfortunately Undo sticks out as the highlight of the album and the rest feels like the writers and producers have fished a bit too much from the same pool. An album filled with similar midtempo ballads with or without added drama turns rather uninteresting quickly despite Sanna being a world class vocalist. You first loved me could become a classic with its country and even gospel undertones and is maybe the best song on the album with Undo. Or has the time of these Disneylike American big ballads gone? It could easily be done also likes by Bette Midler or Celine Dion....
All this said a good 4/5.:-)

WILL SAMIRA SAïD FOLLOW OFRA HAZA?

Samira Saïd (or Bensaid) has a career going on for over 40 years already. After being a child star she also got the honors to be the first (and so far last) Moroccan entrant in the Eurovision song contest 1980 when she was 18. Her song Bitaqat hub was way too exotic back then but this blogger remember loving it to bits. Coming second to last didn't harm her career in the Arab music world where she has been on top ever since and selling over 50 million records, more than any other female artist in the Arab world. Nearly 50 albums have been released and over 500 songs recorded but one thing remains: her voice. Another thing remains, too: her beauty and doll like features without one wrinkle.... Some ladies just get prettier with age, don't they?
Anyways, her latest single and album Mazal earned her a few World music awards to ad to her previous 40 or so trophies and awards over the years in the Arab world. Here is the remix of Mazal. It seems she has signed a deal to record more this kind of Arab disco and who knows maybe she will cross over to the Western market like late Ofra Haza did ages ago with Im nin'alu and Galbi?
(*For those too young to remember she had one of the biggest hits of the year 1988 in the world that kick started her international career leading to collaborations all over the world until her way too early death in 2000 at only 42 years old).

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