Tag Archives: Baku

TAKING KEiiNO ON A VIRTUAL TRIP ACROSS EUROPE AND BEYOND – DAY 12 – BAKU, AZERBAIJAN

KEiiNO (members Alexandra Rotan, Tom Hugo and Fred Buljo) was selected directly for the final of the 2021 Norwegian Eurovision selection.

Continue reading TAKING KEiiNO ON A VIRTUAL TRIP ACROSS EUROPE AND BEYOND – DAY 12 – BAKU, AZERBAIJAN

SONG ANNOUNCEMENT – AZERBAIJAN

Artist thoughts from Baku Eurofriend (Designed by Carolina Añazgo Leo):

“I’m Baku, and my country I represent won Eurovision once, Really! I’m the fastest Eurofriend in Eurovision Land (You can say that 12 times fast, really!) and I love doing things fast, really! And I love to enjoy going fast, but I’m always careful too, really!

Oh! Did you see my Eurostar Dihaj’s song coming? It was really fast, really! For starters, she was on the same National final than Ell and Nikki 6 years ago, really! And now, she’s represnting my country, really! I’m really sure you’re going to enjoy her song and I’m making sure Azerbaijan, the country I represent will always find a place in the Esc grand final, really!”- By Baku Eurofriend

Official Music Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_UNpD0AvFc
Azerbaijan Page at ESCKAZ: http://esckaz.com/2017/aze.htm

1-azerbaijan

Safura makes a welcome return with ‘Baku’

Safura with Ilaha & Mary from the video clip of 'Baku'}
Safura with Ilaha & Mary from the video clip of ‘Baku’}

It was in 2010 that Safura graced the Eurovision stage with Drip Drop where she represented Azerbaijan. She finished in fifth place in Oslo, Norway. After a follow up single and album she has been taking a break from the music scene.

The good news is that Safura has made a welcome return with a brand new song titled Baku. It is an upbeat song with a strong production. Safura has composed and produced the song herself. The arrangement is by Elvin Musayev and mixed by Emin K.

The video clip is directed by Safura and Farhad Ali and features actresses, Ilaha & Mary. It showcases the beautiful city of Baku. Eurovision fans will have a lot of good memories of the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest held there. Safura makes a brief appearance at the end of the clip.

Welcome back Safura. It is good to have you back and let us hope for more good music from her in the near future.

You can see the video for Baku below.

Source: 1new.az; ESC Covers

LONELY PLANET COMPETITION – ENTRY NUMBER TWELVE

Looking Back At Baku by Nikke Allen of the United Kingdom

Baku. I’d never visited Azerbaijan before and really had little idea what to expect. However, I went with an open mind, ready to make friends and embrace every experience – and I was rewarded by the most glorious two weeks, of which Eurovision really was the icing on the cake!

I remember Flag Square on a baking hot morning, queing for our accreditation. The friendliness and helpfullness of all the young volunteers, so eager and happy to talk with you. I learned their names, what their favourites were, watched them experience having Eurovision in their own country, and made lots of friends, in particular a girl called Nargiz, who sat with me at the shows and showed me around Baku.

My memories are still so bright and colourful and happy…

Jedward basically taking over their own press conference and throwing popcorn everywhere. By the end of that day they had won over most of the young volunteers in the press centre, who were by then wearing the paper “Jedheads”

Ukraine running off the stage and up the walkway at the end of their song at the semi final. At the corner of the walkway where Nargiz and I were seated, the dancers took off their wristbands and threw them to the crowd – Nargiz and I got one each. It’s quite a thrill to have something that was actually worn on the ESC stage!

The Hump blowing a kiss to Nargiz and I as he walked down the walkway after performing at the final, because we were waving my large UK flag I’d given to Nargiz as a friendship bond between our two countries. It’s now displayed on the wall in her bedroom.

Also getting blown kisses by Kurt Calleja of Malta and Zeljko of Serbia as they walked to the Green Room. And waved to by the Grannies. Having Jedward cartwheel along the walkway right in front of you as they went to join the other qualifers onstage is quite something!

Sitting chatting with Lys Assia in the lounge of our hotel. Asking her what her favourite song was this year, and she replying Albania and Macedonia. Being allowed to cuddle her cute and tiny little dog she had brought with her. Meeting the first winner of Eurovision and actually there being time to sit and chat together at leisure was a highlight and something I will never forget.

As for Baku itself…

An Azeri woman reporter who had interviewed me the day before, bringing me a pale pink damask rose from her garden in Baku. The scent was heaven, the beauty of it incomparable set against the rush and bustle of the press centre. I wish I could have preserved it somehow. I should have pressed it between the pages of a book. But I took a photo of it and can still recall the scent.

The Caspian Sea. Right outside the door of the Crystal Hall, the Caspian Sea had a mood all of its own and I was utterly captivated by it as each day it changed. I will never forget how, on hot sunny Day 2, it was azure and looked as though it was scattered with diamonds as far as the eye could see. The next day it was a mystical ultramarine; the day after it was a lively teal; for two consecutive windy days in the second week it was a choppy storm-grey – and one glorious night as I rode along the promentory in my London taxi cab at 2 a.m, it was a star-less and moody inky-black, silently rippling. On the very last day at the press centre, the day of the final, it was like a millpond, barely wrinkling on the surface, quiet and content as though it knew the Big Day had finally arrived . The Caspian Sea had so many colours and moods that fascinated me and each had a beauty all its own. But I shall never forget Day 2 when it was azure and scattered with diamonds.

The rides in the taxi back to my hotel early in the morning/late at night through the still crowded traffic streets of Baku. Cars tooting their horns, policemen directing traffic, buses packed with people. A bus pulling up beside the taxi with literally two inches space between us. After the fifth or sixth time of that happening, I stopped freaking out and wanting to drive the taxi for the taxi-driver! The taxi drivers didn’t speak English and didn’t attempt conversation, so I was left to my own thoughts and impressions in the back of the taxi, just watching everything and everyone as we crawled onwards towards the hotel. It often took a good 20 minutes to get there because of the traffic.

I inadventently looked into cars that pulled alongside us and caught snapshots of private families lives without meaning to. Seeing arguments, conversations, laughter. Swish cars driven by yuppies, family cars with a whole host of dark-eyed children staring back at me, and on several occassions hanging half out the windows or standing on the front seat – horrible accidents waiting to happen should their father brake suddenly. Groups of young men parading around in their car, liking to see and be seen. The cars reminded me how dusty Baku was – as so many of them had a noticeable film of dust on them.

Parents walking around the Bulvar with their kids at 2 a.m. .Everything in the city lit up, including the Maiden Tower, which had designs projected upon its side. I remember going past it once to see an Egyptian design with camels projected onto it. It was awesome.

The workforce in Baku. The workforce never seemed to stop. They were building all along the roads – kerbstones being hewn and shaped and fitted, pavements relined, elegant white and beige marble-like residences on the verge of opening, with hedges being planted. Further out towards Bayril and the Crystal Hall Area, the building went on even more apace, as you saw the sides of buildings being scaffolded and workmen stopping at 2 a.m to sit and have something to eat. Women in headscarves sweeping gutters with long twiggy brooms, day and night. Baku, although dusty, was so clean. No dropped litter. The Bulvar and the Fountain Square’s paving slabs gleamed. As did the paving of the Crystal Hall area.

And the workforce worked on throughout the night at the Crystal Hall during the two weeks in the race to get the surroundings finished before the big night. I saw them every night, sometimes two and three in the morning as the taxi took me on a convuluted route round the promentary up to Flag Square and beyond. Workmen and women – busy planting trees, shrubs, flowers. Others turfing a huge area, which was completed the next morning when I rode past it. Others fixing a solitary broken paving slab in the middle of this huge paved walkway to the Crystal Hall.

And the whole Crystal Hall area was like a fairyland when lit-up at night. The Hall itself sparkled with thousands of small lights, its moving beams lit up the sky. On Grand Final night, after the show, I kept seeing what I thought were specks of glitter dancing in the light beams in the sky – and then I realised they were hundreds of moths, attracted to the light beams and dancing there, and the light was glittering off their wings. Really truly beautiful. I wonder if anyone else saw that and realised what it was. It was magical.

And that really sums up my two weeks in Baku, in this fascinating, complicated, hospitable, beautiful land of Azerbaijan. Magical!

1-nikk

LONELY PLANET COMPETITION – ENTRY NUMBER EIGHT

In the Land of Fire – By Edward Till

I’ve watched Eurovision since I was very young and it was always an annual highpoint, but over the years there have been a few times when something truly extraordinary came out of the contest. One of the most notable was going to Baku in 2012.

My partner and I had already been to Athens and Düsseldorf, but nothing could compare us for what was going to happen in a crazy week spent on the shores of the distant Caspian Sea. My memory is filled with so many colourful images that it’s hard to pinpoint a single event, but I can only describe the whole experience as magical. The city came alive with Eurovision and international fans were made to feel so welcome as we wandered around in the hot sunshine.

We were part of the UK contingent, one of the largest groups of fans there but small enough that we continued to bump into each other throughout the week. It was actually like being back at University and we have built enduring friendships from the week. When we came together, particularly in our fancy dress, we became celebrities. Everyone wanted a photo with us and we obliged our public!

We did more than that though. We engaged with locals in a way that I have never done before or since. Many people there had rarely met foreigners before, let alone a bunch of crazy Eurovision fans. I am convinced we did some good, and in return we gained a perspective on a very distant corner of the world including some of the controversies of that region.

If ever there was an example of Eurovision bringing people together, it was that amazing week in the Caucuses. Since then, the contest has headed back to the more familiar climbs of Western Europe. While this has been great fun, I hope that Ukraine next year once again can bring something different and unexpected to our favourite week of the year.

SONY DSC

INTRODUCING NEW MEMBER

 

We are introducing CHRISTOPHER COBB of the USA

Eurovision for me starts in 2003. On holiday in Mykonos, celebrating
our tenth anniversary, my husband and I had the good fortune to catch
the show in a bar. Two close friends from the UK were vacationing with
us and explained the whole affair. I was hooked.

The next few years are a blur. We started with small parties at our
home in Tampa. Each year the parties got bigger. By 2010, it was too
much. We took a break in 2011 and went to England to celebrate with
our two friends from 2003. They fell asleep during the show.

Later that year my husband and I moved to Long Beach, California,
where we currently live. That’s like moving from Düsseldorf to Baku,
except in reverse. Fortunately, we still live under palm trees. We
haven’t resumed the parties but watch the semis and grand final over
the internet each year.

For years we have joked about wanting to go when the contest is in a
city of interest to us. Stockholm qualifies! We’re going in 2016 and
hope to join the hardcore fans on the floor for all six nights. We
have friends from Austria ready to show us the ropes. Now we just need
to prove ourselves worthy of the tickets.