Music and relationships between countries

Hi All!
Once again, I have the honour to publish a post by my friend from Istanbul, Kubra.

It’s really interesting to see how political relationships between countries could influence a song contest!

Thank you, Kubra for offering us such an interesting point of view…

An Indispensable Event for Europeans

eurovision_song_contest_2009_logoTo be honest, it has always been an important and indispensable event for me. I used to get excited and wait for it impatiently. We, as the whole family, used to watch it when the time is ripe. It was a visual and musical feast for us. Actually, nothing has changed over the years. I still do feel the same way about it, still excited and eager. The thing I am talking about is Eurovision.

For the ones who may ask what Eurovision is: Eurovision Song Contest is an annual song competition held among active member countries of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and it is one of the longest running television shows in the world. The system is simple; each member country submits a song to be performed on live television. The most popular song in the competition is being determined after the votes.

If we look at the history of it, the first contest was held in Switzerland, on 24 May 1956. Seven countries which had participated were Belgium, France, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, and Netherlands. The contest was won by the host nation, Switzerland. Ever since, the contest successfully continued for 53 years and became more popular each year. Today, Eurovision is one of the most-watched non-sporting events in the world.

Here’s some interesting information about Eurovision results. Did you know that:

  • Lys Assia, who won the contest for Switzerland in 1956, is the very first winner of Eurovision Song Contest.
  • ABBA, who won the contest for Sweden in 1974, is the most notable winning Eurovision artist.
  • Sandra Kim, who won the contest for Belgium in 1986, is the youngest winner and at the time of her Eurovision win, she was only 13 years old.
  • Ireland, who won the contest for 7 years, is the most winning country.
  • The United Kingdom, who won the contest for 5 times, is the country that has been the host nation at most.

Eurovision is a way of gathering for European countries, a way of communicating in peace. Of course, there are also some controversial subjects such as political votes and language. As a rule, countries may not cast votes for their own songs. However, they tend to vote for neighbouring countries. Some people think that it is unethical to knowingly vote for neighbours while the others think it is normal because people tend to like similar cultures. The other controversial subject is the language of the songs. Although at the beginning there was no rule about the language, it has been changed many times over the years but finally in 1999, the rule was changed again to allow freedom of language once more. Some people still believe that native language is the most appropriate one to choose whereas the others defend English language in order to be internationally understood.

Some countries are working hard for the contest while some prefer not to attend. Do you know which countries and why?

  • San Marino and Latvia withdrawed from the contest because of the economic crisis.
  • Italy (since 1998) and Austria (since 2008) are not attending in order to protest the political votes.
  • Morocco, who attend the contest once and only time in 1980, doesn’t think to return.
  • Lebanon, Algeria, Libia, Egypt, Jordan, and Tunisia are not attending because they don’t want to race with Israel.
  • Monaco and Luxembourg are not attending because of the unsuccessful results that they had.
  • Vatican is not attending because they don’t have a national television channel.

If we look at this year, there are 42 participant countries including Russia (the host nation), Turkey, Germany, The UK, France, Spain, and Malta. This year, Hadise is representing Turkey in the contest with her song Dum Tek Tek-Crazy For You. She is an award-winning Turkish R&B singer and songwriter who lives in Belgium.

If you like to listen to Turkey’s song in advance, here it is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s5QeLFyY7ps

By the way, you can also find further information about Eurovision Song Contest 2009 from the official website: www.eurovision.tv

Before finishing my words, I want to thank you for reading my post, and Nicoletta for letting me contribute to her admirable blog one more time. To conclude up; Eurovision was, is, and will be an important event of my life, of our lives as Europeans. I wish luck to all participating countries of Eurovision Song Contest 2009. Don’t forget that the semi-finals will be held on 2-14 May 2009 and the finals will be held on 16 May 2009. I wholeheartedly believe that it will be a great event. May the best man win!

Best regards,

Kubra Corapci

3 thoughts on “Music and relationships between countries

  1. Congrats Kubra, your new post is so nice once again and it is wonderful to learn some new stuff about Eurovision. We rarely mention about political reasons, thank you for bringing up the issue so evenhandedly. Great work and research!
    Good luck to all by the way!!

  2. Dear Basak, thanks a lot for the comment. After the semi-finals held on yesterday, once again I wish luck to all participant countries on the final🙂

  3. @Kubra and Basak: thank you for your comments. Just to let you know that in Italy we could watch Eurovision only by internet! It als has been very interesting to read all the related news about political reasons, especially gay pride

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