Friday, August 31, 2018

POLAND: MARGARET DOES JAZZ STANDARDS WITH MATT DUSK IN JUST THE TWO OF US

We all know Margaret for her auto-tuned pop bangers like Cool me down and In my cabana, but  if you listen to her older songs like the fantastic debut hit Thank you very much there's a voice after all. 
And there's a prove in the album Just the two of us recorded with Canadian grooner Matt Dusk. She says she recorded the album to fullfil her dream as she's an admirer of Ella Fidzgerard who has influenced her a lot - how strange that sounds? The album sold platinum in Poland and two singles were released and she went on to underline she's got no plans to give up on her pop career, as we have seen, the album came out in 2015. 
All in all a very pleasant album with standards like Something stupid, You are the sunshine of my life, Girl from Ipanema, Our love is here to stay and They can't take that away from me. 
If jazz standards are your cup of tea, get this album and be pleasantly surprised!

Thursday, August 30, 2018

EUROVISION 2019: TEL AVIV, JERUSALEM OR EILAT?

Jan Ola Sand and EBU gang have been to Israel to go through with KAN/IPBC the three proposals for hosting the Eurovision song contest in 2019. The choice is between fan favorite Tel Aviv, Israeli politicians favorite Jerusalem and outsider Eilat. We should know the decision shortly. 
Eilat apparently has a plan a bit similar to Copenhagen 2014 to create the venue in the Port of Eilat in some old hangar or warehouse...? Jan Ola Sand stated EBU will not overlook the out of the box solutions if they only meet the schedule. There's always a risk though, ask Copenhagen that went well over budget and had some schedule issues as well but in the end it served its purpose wonderfully giving us one of the best stages ever - outside the venue was another story then, especially getting to the Eurovision Island.....
Eilat is Israel's southernmost town with a population of 50.000, and an important touristic spot between Negev desert and Red Sea squeezed between Egypt, Jordania and Saudi-Arabia across the gulf. Town's history goes back at least 9000 years... New Ramon international airport is due to open March 2019 (delayed already a few times though)

Update August 30, 10pm:
Eilat is out of competition KAN tweeted
Front runner Tel Aviv is offering Convention center's Pavilion 2. Originally built in 1959 and expanded various times while the original part was demolished in 2010. Pavilion 2 has been renovated in 2015 and has the capacity of a little under 10.000. This year the pavilion hosted the 2018 European Judo Championships and likes of Lady Gaga have given concerts there.
Tel Aviv is Israel's second most populated city with its 444.000 inhabitants including also historic Jaffa where people have lived over 9.500 years and its natural port has been used already in the Bronze age. Later Tel Aviv grew around it and became the skyscryper filled modern city it is today, famous also for it's Gay Pride and beeing and international LGBT hotspot .
Jerusalem, that has hosted the Eurovision song contest already in 1979 and 1999 offers Pais Arena, opened in 2014 with the capacity up to 15.000. The previous host arena is way too small for the 2010's Eurovision. Orthodox jews are aginst hosting (as always) and even working on Sabbath seems to cause problems - that would include the final's two dress rehearsals.
Jerusalem is one of the oldest cities in the world and the holy city of three religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam and there's still the on going conflict between Israel and Palestine. It's population is a bit over 900.000.

Update August 30 9pm:
KAN tweeted Jon Ola Sand's comment that Eurovision works 24/7 for a few weeks and not working on Saturday is impossible.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

FINLAND: EUROVISION STARS SAY GOODBYE TO HANNA-RIIKKA

Hanna-Riikka Siitonen's funeral took place on August 19 in Töölö church, Helsinki. Several Finnish Eurovision stars gathered to greet the much loved actress, singer, vocal coach and multiple national finalists and ESC backing singer for the last time and the ceremony was a very emotional one. Her white casket was decorated with yellow and orange gerberas matching her sunny and bright personality that will be so much missed. 
It is said when when her Taikapeili friend Nina Tapio sung there were no dry eyes in the church. The girls have been friends all their life, and Nina's mother was at Eurovision 1976 backing Fredi in Pump pump.
 Her father Fredi (ESC 1967, 1976) and mother, ex-Mayor of Helsinki; Fredi, Hanna-Riikka's husband and daughter; Titta Jokinen (ESC 1976), conductor Olli Ahvenlahti (ESC conductor 1990-98) with Marjatta Leppänen, multiple national finalists and hostess)
Jari Sillanpää (ESC 2004); Sonja Lumme (ESC 1985); 
Anneli Saaristo (ESC 1989), Laura Voutilainen (ESC 2002)

(photos: Iltalehti)

Friday, August 24, 2018

RUSSIA/FINLAND: BLOGILKAR'S MUSICAL JOURNEY TO VIIPURI AKA Выборг

Viipuri (or now Выборг), the long lost town that these days is part of Russia lies in the hearts of Finns, who had to leave it in and in their children's and grandchildren's. The older generations put their longing into music with some legendary songs, could it be otherwise?
Viipuri was the capital of Carelian region and when the Finns had to leave in 1940 when losing 1/10 of its territory it was Finland's 2nd biggest town and the most international one with over 70.000 inhabitants. Finland evacuated them all (400.000 people) and set them to other parts of the country. Finns reconquered the town in 1941 when many of them returned and rebuilt the badly destroyed town but Sovjet Union took over it again in 1944 and it has ever since been part of Sovjet Union, and now Russia. This blogger's heading off there today to see its current state..... 
Annikki Tähti's Muistatko Monrepos'n (Do you remember Monrepos?) is an ode to the beautiful park in Viipuri with its bridges and moonlit nights she fondly remembers and longs for. The song, recorded in 1955 was the very first gold certificated single in Finland, and still is the 4th most sold single ever in Finland with its 38.000 copies sold. 
Georg Malmsten's Heili Karjalasta (Fiancee from Carelia) recorded in 1938 is another evergreen, telling a story how he travelling the world found his loved one from Carelia, the sweetest girl ever who has totally charmed and enchanted him....
In 1960 another song was released, Georg's brother Eugen and his Sellane ol' Viipuri (Viipuri was like that), another anthem for its liveliness and happy times there that originates to the 1920's. The song has been covered many many times including Henry Theel (1969). The lurics describe life now dull and work oriented while back in Viipuri, the town of Carelians one could dance day and night and there were no worries, someone always helped and sung it away and the sorrow was only for the horses and yes, theres also reference to MOnrepos park, moonlight and kisses....
Makes me wonder what kind of love park that Monrepos was?!

Georg died in 1981, Henry in 1989 and Annikki in 2017 but their songs about Viipuri live on a long after the dream of getting it and Carelia back are nothing but a long lost dream.... 

Monday, August 20, 2018

POLAND: SOUNDS OF MARYLA RODOWICZ, SARSA, UNIATOWSKI, SYLWIA GRZESZCZAK

This summer Blogilkar is exploring again new territories in form of holidays 
and that gives also a perfect excuse to explore the music scene as well. 
After Malta, Czech Republic and Cuba it's Poland's time!



Friday, August 17, 2018

POLAND: SOUNDS OF KASIA KOWALSKA, LANBERRY, MICHAL SZCZYGIEL, NOWATOR

This summer Blogilkar is exploring again new territories in form of holidays 
and that gives also a perfect excuse to explore the music scene as well. 
After Malta, Czech Republic and Cuba it's Poland's time!



Thursday, August 16, 2018

M A D O N N A - 6 0

Happy birthday to Madonna. 60 years. 36 years as a recording artist. 83 singles + 17 promotional singles + a dozen other charted songs. 13 studio albums. 3 soundtracks. 5 live albums. 6 compilation albums and countless bootleg compilations and various releases all over the globe. 
This blogger could have never believed in 1982 when I first heard Everybody that I kinda like, or the year after Like a virgin that I disliked with passion would turn into love with Live Aid and Bette Midler's legendary introduction and desperately seeking Susan, or that over 30 years later she's still here and ruling as the Queen of Pop. Since then I have collected her vinyls, seen her live twice and she's been the soundtrack of my life. Almost impossible to pick up the favorites but below are some.... Enjoy!

It was not a chance meeting
Feel my heart beating
You're the one




Tuesday, August 14, 2018

POLAND: SOUNDS OF BEDNARYK, BLACHA, LANBERRY, EDYTA GORNIAK

This summer Blogilkar is exploring again new territories in form of holidays 
and that gives also a perfect excuse to explore the music scene as well. 
After Malta, Czech Republic and Cuba it's Poland's time!

Saturday, August 11, 2018

ITALY: MARIA WINS CASTROCARO 2018.... AND COULD END UP IN EUROVISION


The 61st Castrocaro festival for new voices was won by Maria (or Valentina Ergotelli, 23). And as the facts are, she's got as a winner a right to take part in AreaSanremo wherefrom the artists for December Sanremo Giovani will be selected, and two of them will take part in Sanremo 2019 and the winner going to Eurovision... the journey is long but in theory possible. She's got the look, presence and voice - all she needs now is a killer song!
The festival that used to be the pool of new talents in times before all Idols, x Factors and similar took over television seems to be in decline as it wasn't even broadcasted live but almost two weeks later of its July 29 date, and late night on Rai2. Ten artists made it to the final and were judged by four judges, among them Jalisse's Alessandra Drusian. 
Castrocaro has been a starting point for the careers of Gigliola Cinquetti (she won in 1963 and got a right to participate in Sanremo 1964 and Eurovision), Giuni Russo (1967), Alice (1971), Luca Barbarossa (1980), Zucchero (1981), Fiordaliso (1981), Rosario Di Bella (1987), Silvia Salemi (1995), Davide Papasidero of XF UK fame (2013) among others... and that's only the winners! Other names who didn't win include Eros Ramazzotti, Laura Pausini, Fiorella Mannoia, Paolo Vallesi.... 

Monday, August 06, 2018

ALBUMS THAT HAVE SHAPED MY MUSIC TASTE: FISIOGNOMICA - FRANCO BATTIATO

Over the years I have already presented nine albums that have shaped my music taste including ones from Alice, Cyndi Lauper, Mango, Pet Shop Boys, Kate Bush, Madonna, Diana Ross, Jean-Jacques Goldman and Craig David. Time to dust the series! One of the most remarkable ones is no doubt Franco Battiato and his Fisiognomica. This was a #1 album selling over 300.000 within the first  two months of release.....
The album, his 15th studio album, came out in 1988 following post-Eurovision pop album Mondi lontanissimi that I already loved, and two operas he had composed and this album has also hints of them as most songs were written the operas in mind but turned out too pop for them, as he has told. Battiato's love for the Arabic music is also present and he even sings in Arabic in Zai saman and in Sicilian in Veni l'autunnu.
Included is also Juri Camisasca's (who I adore) Nomani, originally written for late Giuni Russo (who I love), but then recorded by my favorite female artist Alice. A song that still 30 years later sounds always as fresh and good it was back then, a timeless masterpiece. Another classic is L'oceano di silenzio (text based on Wasserstatuen by Fleur Jaeggy) as well as E ti vengo a cercare that underlines the spirituality of this album, that was totally something else back then. He ended up performing to the Pope in Vatican E ti vengo a cercare, Nomani and L'oceano di silenzio the year after.... Like certain Salvador might say: This is real music. And I have been searching for it ever since, while enjoying some bubble gum pop along the way as well.  Soprano Donatella Saccardi is well present in the album. 
The album with minor variations was also recorded in Spanish and sold gold in Spain. 

E ti vengo a cercare 
L'Oceano di Silenzio 

Saturday, August 04, 2018

SWEDEN: INGROSSO-SANDMAN IS THE NEW SAADE-SAUCEDO

Once upon a time we had Eric Saade and Danny Saucedo competing against each, kissing it good 
and also shared girlfriend Molly Sanden - separate times thankfully! 
These days we have younger version of them in Benjamin Ingrosso and Felix Sandman. Also they scored the top-2 in Melodifestivalen, became kissing good friends and are now touring Sweden together. No Molly in between them but a lot of bromance. They even released a song together, Tror du att han bryr sig. Now they both have a new song out.... 

Meanwhile Danny is out with a Latin flavored number Undantag that fits his Bolivian roots, 
while Eric's latest offering is from last summer, Another week

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