Andy Mikhveev from ESC Kaz informed ESC Covers this morning of a really sad event.
The Great Moscow State Circus was opened on 30th of April 1971. It was designed and built under the guidance of I. Belopolsky. Its impressive auditorium is an enormous 36 meters tall and can seat up to 3,400 people. So in just over two months time, it will celebrate its 50th anniversary.
Article by William Fedor
Unfortunately the mere mention of the country’s name conjures up images of war and destruction for many people. Though there is fighting going on in a few corners of this vast fertile country, business is usual in most of Ukraine. Ukrainian people can be extremely patriotic of their country as highlighted during the Orange Revolution and the Euromaidan crisis, but they also love their music. Apart from giving speeches during Euromaidan, they would sing. Sing to keep warm and sing from their hearts because that’s what Ukrainians love doing, but both can always work together hand in hand. Ukrainian artists’ participation in the Eurovision Song Contest, has made Ukraine one of the strongest countries in the game. This has happened in the relatively short time frame since they first entered this nutty and outlandish annual competition so dear to all our hearts. But why have they been so successful, winning the votes of so many viewers every year?
It all started in 2003, when Oleksandr Ponomarinov took the stage. The performance stood out from the crowd with their ballet dancer in a music box, and operatic vocals. This was not enough to gather up enough attention to bring them even close to a win that year. However, Ukraine’s second attempt brought them much more success. Ruslana brought the trophy home the following year with her song ‘Wild Dances’. It was a proud moment for the country. She may have looked like a Xena clone to many onlookers. But many do not know that the performance incorporated elements of Ukrainian culture, specifically of the Carpathian Mountains. Ruslana is born and raised in the beautiful city of Lviv, not far from the Carpathian Mountains themselves. From the crazy outfits of both the singer and dancers, to the’ trembita’ (Alpine Horn-like instrument used in the opening of the performance). All of these are based on Ukrainian traditions. Since her win, Ruslana has not only furthered her career as a performer, but also gained popularity as an activist in her home country, especially during Euromaidan.
Ukraine’s status as the host country in 2005 was in jeopardy for a short time preceding the contest. The ‘Orange Revolution’, in which the newly elected president Victor Yanukovych was accused of rigging the votes, causing some uncertainty of the country´s ability to organise a large international event. They pulled it off however. At least as far as hosting goes. Their entry ´Razom nas bahato’ (Together we are many, we cannot be defeated) by GreenJolly was also the unofficial anthem of the rebellion. It’s highly relevant and politically charged lyrics may have been dear the hearts of many Ukrainians, but the international stage was not as receptive to this. Perhaps most of Europe, not understanding the language, could not fully grasp the point. Or perhaps Eurovision fans is not equal to hip-hop fans?
Years 2006 and onward have generally been quite successful for Ukraine. They have never failed to qualify for the Final. They have sent a string of solo female/female impersonating artists ever year, and have even come very close to winning on a couple of occasions. But what else do the most successful of their songs have in common? Well let’s look at all of their songs placing in the top 5.
Ruslana with ‘Wild Dances’ – 1st place in 2004
Verka Serducka with ‘Dancing Lasha Tumbai’ – 2nd place in 2007
Ani Lorak with ‘Shady Lady’ – 2nd place in 2008
Mika Newton with ‘Angel’ – 4th place in 2011
Zlata Ognevich with ‘Gravity’ – 3rd place in 2013
These songs do not necessarily fall into the same genre, nor are they even a similar tempo to each other. It’s probably not the fact that none of them have LOVE in their titles, which appeals to the crowds either. They all have a catchy tune however. A melody which someone could sing to in the shower, hum on their commute to work, or even Wild Dance to at their Sunday afternoon Zumba class.
The stage performances of all of these top placing songs are also all memorable, and not for the same reason. Ruslana was memorable for her great costumes and dancing, Verka for her over-the-top craziness which even snuck its way into the popular movie ‘Spy’ eight years later, Ani Lorak for her great props and smooth moves, Mika Newton with her sand painting and Zlata for the great implementation of computer graphics and of course the larger than like man carrying her onto the stage. One may conclude from this that a catchy tune and a memorable performance makes a promising Eurovision entry. But that’s not exactly new information. So what is it about this country that makes their artists so appealing? Perhaps it’s because of their love of music.
Unfortunately Ukraine were not able to participate in glitz and glamour of the 60th Eurovision contest in Vienna due to the current situation, much to the dismay of many fans. They were able to send an entry to Malta for the Junior Eurovision Contest with a symbolically charged entry highlighting their love for Ukrainian traditions, and they have continued along with a similar trend with their entry in Bulgaria this November.
Will the situation in Ukraine influence what type of entry will be sent to Stockholm in 2016. Could it be along the lines of patriotism and the love of Ukrainian traditions that they will sing from their heart and give us a performance that will allow them to claim that top spot. I guess we will have to wait and see.