Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Oscar Peterson 1925 - 2007

To commemorate Jazz Legend pianist Oscar Peterson who died last week, listen to his interpretation of Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu (Volare), The Italian Eurovision classic from 1958.
The recording is by the Oscar Peterson Trio: Oscar Peterson (piano), Ray Brown (bass) and Ed Thigpen* (drums) and is from december 1962. ------------
Oscar Peterson even performed at the Eurovision stage: In 1978 (Paris, France) he was a guest performer in the interval together with Stéphane Grapelli, Yehudi Menuhin, Kenny Clarke and Nils Pedersen.
* Ed Thigpen not pictured above.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Sunday, December 09, 2007

The Kids Are Alright, Part 3: The Angels

So, Congratulations to Alexey Zhigalkovich and to Belarus who won the Junior Eurovision Song Contest last night in Rotterdam. The voting was exiting like in olden days, although the field and the 12's were very leaning very much to the East. Just one piece of analisys from me: Don't bother sending slightly older kids, even with good songs (Sweden, Serbia), it's always a tiny one that wins.

That was the last word about the JESC at Eurocovers for now, If you want to find out more I recommend ESCKaz. But here's the third part of The Kids Are Alright, that sort of ties in nicely with the Next Big Event: Christmas.

The Kids Are Alright - Part 3 - The Angels
Hark! The lists of Eurocovers is riddled with childrens (mostly boys) choirs from France all named Les Petits Chanteurs De Something, Something.

France 1960 - Tom PillibiLes Petits Chanteurs A La Croix Du Boix from Paris (pictured above) do a mean Tom Pillibi (France's 1960 winner by Jacqueline Boyer). This boys choir celebrated it's 100th anniversary with a star studded (Nadiya, Mireille Mathieu, Lara Fabian, Charles Aznavour etc….) christmas show last December. And at the 14th of july they sang at the military parade, le defilé militaire, at the Champs Elysees.
The Petits Chanteurs have recorded many singles and albums since the 50's, mostly religious music, and they still tour the world. A bit more about their 100 year history is here (in French).
Israel 1979 - HallelujahLes Petits Chanteurs D'Aix En Provence is a boys choir with 45 years of history. On a 4CD collection Les Plus Grands Airs De Chorale (pic) they perform the Eurovision winners of 1977 and 1979. (although some of them don't seem so petit on the picture sleeve).
Hallelujah is the Israel entry of 1979, which was originally performed by Milk & Honey and won the contest on home ground.

At composer J.P. Cara's site you can find some kids choir versions of the 1977 winner L'Oiseau et l'enfant (France) by Les Petits Chanteurs D'Aix En Provence and by Les Fans and of Le Papa Pinguoin (Luxemburg 1988, Sophie et Magaly) by Le Top des Tout P'Tits.

1973 Eres TuThe Little Angels Of Korea are an all singing and dancing troupe from the Little Angels Performing Arts Centre in Seoul.
And their version of Mocedades' Eres Tu (Spain 1973) is truly angelic and should be featured on any Christmas mixtape.

Related Eurocovers PostsMocedades' Eres Tu in the top 10 most covered Eurovision songs
Hallelujah - almost in the top 10 most covered Eurovision Songs

Thursday, December 06, 2007

The Kids Are Alright, Part 2: The Boys

This Saturday (december 8) the 5th Junior Eurovision Song Contest takes place in Rotterdam.
You can read more about the history of kids in Eurovision in the introduction to this 3 part article (Part 1 has the Girls). Here's part 2, with some boys who haven't been close to a razor yet, but sing their lungs out in their Eurocovers.

The Kids Are Alright -
Part 2. - The Boys

1960 Romantica
Robertino Loretti was discovered by Grethe Sønck.* (wife of Danish producer Volmer Sørensen) when the boy was singing in an Italian café. The discovery resulted in performances on Danish TV and Robertino recording his first LP in Copenhagen. European and Asian fame followed soon afterwards and in the early 60's Robertino scored hits with O Sole Mio, Ave Maria, Santa Lucia and most notably Mama. It was only after these hits that Robertino got an Italian record deal. In 1964 he scored his first hit in Italy with SanRemo song Un bacio piccolissimo, one of the best selling records of the year. A few hits followed but after Era La Donna Mia (1967) it slowed down. But Robertino kept on touring the world and he's still a welcome performer in Eastern European countries.
He recorded Eurovision entry (and evergreen) Romantica (Italy 1960, originally by Renato Rascel) when he was 14 years old. Robertino also recorded Uno per Tutte, Italy's 1963 entry.

* Grethe Sønck, we all know and love her from her version of Puppet On A String, to be found in this Eurocovers post.

1984 Ik Hou Van JouThe Dutch classic entry from 1984, originally by Maribelle, lost big time at the contest despite the orchestra's applause for the singer.
The Dutch evergreen has since been covered by Cilla Black, Engelbert Humperdinck, José Carreras, Bold & Beautiful actor John McCook and every second singer from South Africa. Here's a wonderful junior version by Demis from his CD Het Leukste Moment (The best moment, Discosound 1995). Demis' (actually named after Mr. Roussos) biggest hit was Ga Dan (Just go, Youtube) from his second album Met Jou (With you, 1996) and it seems his singing career ended when his voice dropped.
The music he makes today as DJ Demis H. is mostly instrumental and he's co-founder of Dynamik Traxx.

1991 Draumur Um Ninu (a.k.a. Nina)A huge ballad for Iceland in 1991 by Stefan & Eyfi here by Hákon Guðni Hjartarson. He performed in a kids show Stóra Stundin Ykkar (2006) with this song. The CD Stóra Stundin Ykkar (Sena records) also includes karaoke versions and is probably still available in Iceland. Hákon is the one top left on the pic.

Junior Eurovision Song Contest official website

Junior Eurovision related CDs are available at BeaRecords. OUT NOW: The 2 CD with all entries for the Rotterdam contest + all karaoke versions.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Mamma Mia, It's Udo!

Yesterday the musical "Ich War Noch Niemals In New York" opened at the Operettenhaus at the Reeperbahn in Hamburg.
The show, with already 150.000 tickets sold in advance, is based on the songs of one time Eurovision Winner and 100 million record seller Udo Jürgens.

It seems the crowd, including celebrity red carpet huggers (Peter Kraus!, Wenche Myhre !!) loved the show, the critics are mixed. The musical is a thin story about an ambitious TV show host Lisa (Kerstin Marie Mäkelburg) who neglects her mother Maria (Ingeborg Krabbe) who's life in an old folks home bores her to tears and she flees to New York with her old-folk home amant Otto (Horst Schultheis).
Lisa, with Otto's son Axel (Jerry Marwig) needs to get the parents back to the home in a week otherwise their residences will be cancelled. Neither of them want to take care of their parent at home so they'll try everything possible to get the runaways back home in time.
Lisa is nominated for a TV award she desperately wants and at crunch time it's either the award, or getting Mutti back in time.
But it's not only the story that makes this musical interesting but it's the music. The musical is created using 23 songs by Eurovision legend Udo Jürgens. (He wrote over 900!) All his big hits feature in the show including 1966 Eurovision winner Merci Cherie, Aber bitte mit Sahne, Mit 66 Jahren, Griechischer Wein, Siebzehn Jahn - Blondes Haar, Buonas Dias Argentina and much more.

Udo Jürgens was involved in the casting for the show himself. The direction is by Christian Struppek & Glenn Casale and the production is by Maik Klokow. It's the first German only production for Dutch music theatre company Stage Entertainment.
The IwnniNY cast CD will be released in februari 2008 by Ariola/Sony.

Watch a trailer video here. More information is here (in German) and more about the cast is here.
Udo Jürgens participated for Austria in the Eurovision Songcontest in 1964, 1965 and 1966. He won in 1966 (Merci Cherie) but the 1964 entry Warum Nur Warum became an evergreen and a worldwide hit as Walk Away for Matt Monro. Find out about Walk Away covers in this Eurocovers post.
Udo Jürgens official homepage
Some reviews of the show (all in German) (Süddeutschen Zeitung)
Welt Online (Die Welt)
and an amateur Youtube excerpt

Saturday, December 01, 2007

The Kids Are Alright !!

Junior Eurovision, the JESC, who needs it?
The Kids do!
The Eurovision spin-off for the under 16s has proven to be a popular tv show for the youngsters aspiring to be the next singer/songwriter (they're supposed to write the songs themselves).
Fun for all the family to be had and the 5th edition taking place in Rotterdam, Netherlands next Saturday (8th December) is no exception.

Junior Eurovision is for the kids, so it's not really Eurocovers material, although there was this one time winner for Spain (2004) with the superbly titled Antes Muerta Que Sencilla (Rather dead than common) by Maria Isabel that wouldn't have been out of place in the adult competition and even got covered by some adults in Mexico (see comments) (Horoscopes de Durango, pictured), in the Dominican Republic (merengue by Juliana) and in Spain by Las Supremas De Mostoles.
You can also find the Youtube of the original version by Maria Isabel.

Eurovision history has been littered with pre-pubescents. Gigliola Cinquetti was too young to love in 1964, 1986 winner Sandra Kim (J'aime la vie) lied about her age to get in the competition and 1989 saw two toddlers on the stage. Israels barely potty trained Gili Natanel singing along with Galit (Derech Ha Melech) and Nathalie Pacque (J'ai Volé La Vie) for France, who was like 4 months or something. (She just got a baby, congratulations Nat!)

To get to the point, here are some youngsters doing cover versions of your favorite grown up Eurovision songs. They will melt every mommy's heart and make you want to make / adopt some of the critters yourself. And there's three parts!

The Kids Are Alright - Part 1. - The Girls
1961 Estando Contigo
Spains debut entry was performed by the ever fabulosa Conchita Bautista but it was the version by Marisol (a.k.a. Pepa Flores) that made the song really famous in Spain. She sang it in the hitmovie Ha Llegando Un Angel (An angel has appeared) and you can watch a clip of it at Youtube (Check out the guys in the backing!)

1965 Poupée De Cire,
----------------Poupée De Son
Considering the fact that the original song allegedly is about an activity unmentionable at this decent family blog, it's a bit unsettling to hear a 6 year old infant sing it. She must have been lured by all the little dollies.
Tatiana (Tatiana Eva Marie) recorded the song in 1992 on her first album Tatiana Chante when she was 6, and has since made name as a comedian, model and singer. Her latest (rather beautiful) CDs with Compagnie Zorongo: Narandilé and Rhapsodia are influeced by her Romanian, Greek, Dutch, French, Swiss, Turkish and Gipsy heritage and you can hear some of her music at her MySpace and website.
Tatiana Chante includes covers of songs by celebrated French songwriters like Gainsbourg, Michel Polnareff, Françoise Hardy and Guy Beart.
The CD also includes a song Ah! Quelle Histoire which could be Cliff Richards Congratulations or not. (Anyone knows?)

2006 Girls and Horses
In 2006 Germany sent Texas Lighting with their perfect slice of country pop No No Never, which failed to get Europe televoting (even though it's really really quite good).

Teresa Strobl loves horses, she even caught horsefever, as she is singing in her version of No No Never, Pferdefieber. It's from the Kiddy Contest 2006 CD, from an Austrian TV competition in which kids sing hits in their own style, and with kid-proof lyrics. Previous Kiddy Contests (& CDs) have featured a few Eurovision covers:
- Kiddy kids - Jungs (Love Shine A Light, UK 97, from CD Kiddy contest 3, 1997).
- Nicki Freiberger - Mein superstar (Zusammen Geh'n, Austria 92, from CD Kiddy Contest 9, 2003)
- Teresa Strobl - Pferdefieber (No No Never, Germany 06, on CD Kiddy Contest 12, 2006)
The 2007 edition CD did not produce any Eurocovers.

Another hippic version of No No Never, Mein Kleines Süsses Fohlen (My sweet little foal) was recorded by the Lollipops, two girls who have released a zillion records but remain in their mid teens. The Lollipops CD with the song is Reiterferien sind der Hit, but they also have a new CD out Zusammen sind wir doppelt stark on which they cover the German 2007 entry Frauen regier'n die Welt (Roger Cicero) as Kids Regiern Die Welt (Kids rule the world).

Junior Eurovision Song Contest official website
Junior Eurovision related CDs are available at BeaRecords. OUT NOW: The 2 CD with all entries for the Rotterdam contest + all karaoke versions.

Related Eurocovers Posts:
Gigliola Cinquetti - Non Ho L'eta in the top 10 most covered Eurovision songs.
France Galls Poupée De Cire in the top 10 most covered Eurovision songs.
Boom Bang A Bang (UK 1969) - By Pippi Lookalike Anne Mette