Saturday, January 31, 2009

2009: The road to Moscow 3 - Wenche Myhre and more

After a successful entry in 2008 with Maria Haukaas Storengs Hold On Be Strong (5th), Norway has started the search for a song that will even do better in Moscow this year.
It's another multi round elimination fest and this week round two sees a Eurovision ánd Eurocovers veterienne taking the stage.

Wenche Myhre is a Norwegian singer but she represented Germany in 1968 with Ein Hoch Der Liebe. The song written by orchestra leader Horst Jankovski and Carl Schäuble ended 6th.
Ein Hoch Der Liebe is a nice slice of Schlager-Pop like they just don't make anymore.
Wenche (Wencke) Myhre recorded the song in German, Norwegian (pic) and Swedish.
She also entered national finals in Norway in 1964, 1966 and 1992, and in Germany in 1983.

Wenche Myhre Eurocovers.
Wenche Myhre recorded a German version of the not very successful 1980 Greek song Autostop. Originally by soon to be superstar Anna Vissi (Άννα Βίσση). Vissi's Autostop promo single is one of the rarest promo's in the Eurovision collecting universe although it has recently been re-released on cdsingle. It's a typical Eurovision song and careful thought was invested to find a title and theme that would appeal to an international audience (Autostop = Hitchhiking). It backfired and ended 13th. Anna Vissi would return in 1982 (for Cyprus) and 2006 (for Greece).

Another Wenche cover with a little story is Do Re Mi, Norways 1983 entry by Crown Prince Of Eurovision Jahn Teigen, Wenche was originally planned to sing Do Re Mi in the Norwegian selection but she withdrew as she was also lined up for the German selection. (Wir Beide Gegen Der Wind, a duet with her son Dani).
Do Re Mi is a bit silly too, but it's kind of endearing an not as annoying as the Sound Of Music song of the same title. Wenches Do Re Mi can be found on the LP/CD Vi Lever, the first ever CD by a Norwegian artist. (source)

I think she also recorded the Yugoslavian 1983 song Julie (Dzuli by Daniel) for a live LP (maybe Wenche On Tour from 1983?) but I have no further details on that.
Since 2004 Wenche Myhre toured and recorded with Eurovision collegues Siw Malkvist & Gitte Haenning and they inevitably had the odd Eurovision medley on their repertoire.

In 2008 she released two live albums with large orchestras. One in Germany (Wenche Myhre Live 2008) including Ein Hoch Der Liebe, and one in Norwegian (Wenche Myhre In Concert) including one of her most popular preselections songs La Meg Værre Ung (1964)

Best Of CDs were also released last year. One in Norway (50 Beste Gjennom 50 år) and one for the German language market. (Das Beste, Hits und Raritäten)
Both include Ein Hoch Der Liebe but no Swedish or Norwegian version (Recordcompanies, will they ever learn?)

Wenche Myhre will perform Alt Har En Mening Nå in the second heat of the Norwegian selection tonight (Saturday 31-01) (details here).
The CD with all songs from this years Norwegian pre-selection songs, Melodi Grand Prix 2009, is already available at BeaRecords. (pic right)

Wenche Myhre homepage (In English, German & Norwegian) and a Discography page
Ein Hoch Der Liebe Youtube

The Road To Moscow 1 - Hera Björk, Tapani Kansa & Nucha
The Road To Moscow 2 - Čuki from Slovenia

Serbia - Beovizija
I noticed two interesting names in the list for the national selection in Serbia (Beovizija).
One is Lejla Hot, but just because it's a cool name, the other is Đorđe Marjanović. He was featured in last years Belgrade Weeks. His Eurocovers are from the sixties so I was a bit surprise to see him on the shortlist. Oscar & Beauty Queens feat. Đorđe Marjanović will sing Superstar. The Beauty Queens were the backing with the 2007 winner Molitva by Maria Serifovic, and I don't know who Oscar is (See comments, Thanks Never Stop The Europop). I guess one Beauty Queen (who makes up these names?) will have to stay home as six persons on stage is the max limit at the contest.

Đorđe Marjanović is 78, so he's outdating last years 75 cent (Croatian entry) with three years if they get to the Eurovision stage. You can find his Serbian coversversions of Italy 1962 & 1963 here.

Le Weekend
Tonight 31-01 is also the final in Denmark. Eurocovers supports Hera Björk of course (See Road To Moscow 1) but it's a good bunch. You can hear the songs and watch the show here at the DR site. The CD with all song from the Danish final is available at Bea Records soon.
The U.K. has the final episode of Your Country Needs You where the three remaining acts will all sing My Time, the song Andrew Lloyd Webber & Diane Warren composed for Moscow. More info here at the BBC. I say Mark, Webber wants Jade and the British public will probably go for the crybaby Twins. Unfortunately the BBC has (long since) disappeared upon its own British backside and videos are not available outside the U.K.. Are you local?....
Same goes for Finland who have the second chance and final tonight, webcast only for the Finnish (Why?, the Finnish can watch it on TV can't they?) One of the artists is Tapani Kansa (translates as 'not a chance in hel'(sinki) (See Road To Moscow 1).
Check BeaRecords for CDs with the Finnish 2009 songs already available
Romania also has their final tonight and you can watch and listen here.
Sunday 01-02 is the Dutch final with the Toppers. There's a bit about them here at Eurocovers but since that article übertopper Gerard Joling has been replaced by Jeroen Van Der Boom, deminishing the camp-effect by about 90%. They'll do six songs but in a tribute to Russian politics it's already decided that Everyone Can Be A Star will go. (allegedly of course).
Also on Sunday is the final in Slovenia with Čuki (Road to Moscow 2) and Eurovision stars Omar Naber and Karmen Stavec.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

4 X 40 - Madrid 1969 - extra: The Losers

1969 is one of my favorite years in Eurovision history. Not just because of the multitude of great songs, but also from a collectors point of view. Many singles were released in stunning picture sleeves all over Europe (I'm getting all nostagic here) and most artists released their song in different languages.
Here, in an extra 4 X 40 post, is a quick run-by of the songs that didn't win, and a few coverversions for your entertainment.

Opening the contest was Yugoslavia. Pozdrav Svijetu (Dobar Dan) by Ivan & the M 's was a language marvel in itself, as the lads wished us all a good day in our own language. The multi language trick has been repeated often in Eurovision.
Ivan & the M's recorded also recorded their song in Spanish.
I don't know about any coverversion of this song though, if you do, please let me know.

Romuald recorded his Luxembourg entry Catherine in French, Spanish, German and Italian. The song was written by no-one less than Paul Mauriat, featured in the very first Eurocovers post with lyrics by André Borgioli. Paul Mauriat recorded an instrumental of the song with his orchestra.

Monaco's Maman by Jean Jacques was recorded by the 12 year old singer in French, Spanish and German. It's a tale about a young boy wanting to be a soldier but then he sees it upsets his mum he decides never to take up arms. This simple receipe for world peace was covered a few times, but I have only found covers in Spanish (and some instrumentals). Here's one by Los Olivers from the LP Hits In España.

Third up was Spains home entry Vivo Cantando by Salomé - (4 X 40 Vivo Cantando )

Muriel Day´s The Wages Of Love (Ireland) was only recorded in English and I don´t know of any coverversions.

The entry for Italy Due Grosse Lacrime Bianchi by Iva Zanicchi was covered two times once in Spanish and one instrumental.
Surprising as most Italian entries of the era easily clock up 30, 50, or even 100 coverversions. Michael Holm wrote German lyrics for Iva Zanicchi´s own version, but even if it was recorded, it remains unreleased. Here´s the Spanish coverversion Solo Dos Lagrimas by Gelu.

After Italy two winners in a row: United Kingdom (4 X 40 - Boom Bang A Bang) and The Netherlands - (4 X 40 De Troubadour)

My personal favorite of 1969, Swedens Tommy Körbergs Judy Min Vän (Judy My Friend), was oddly translated as Dear Mr. Jones for his English version released on the European market. Great song and a great singer who shot to world fame with the recording of the musical Chess written by Tim Rice, Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson. In 1988 he tried again at Eurovision with Stad I Ljus and today he is a celebrated star in Sweden performing regularly with BAO (Benny Anderssons Orchester)
Tommy Körberg defeated two pre-ABBA efforts on his way to Madrid. Hej Clown by Jan Malmsjö (Written by ABBA's Benny Andersson) ended 2nd and Anni-Frid Lyngstadts (ABBA's Frida) solo song Härlig Är Vår Jord ended 4th.
I only know of only two coverversions of Judy Min Vän, one in Norwegian by Per Müller (Judy Min Venn, still looking for that one) and one in Finnish by Johnny Liebkind: Judy-Ystäväni (Scandia EP)

Louis Neefs (1937-1980) second entry for Belgium Jennifer Jennings is another fine pop tune. Neefs recorded it in Dutch (Flemish), French, German, English, Italian and Spanish.
I know of seven coverversions of which 5 are more or less instrumental.
A cool one is by the 50 Foot Combo, a ska-punk outfit who recorded the song for their 2003 CD Jennifer Jennings.

Bonjour, Bonjour by Paola (del Medico) is yet another great song from the 1969 contest. It was the song that ended 5th after the four winners. Paola's original version was in German but she also recorded the song in French, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese. Coverversions were recorded in English, Swedish, Dutch, Estonian and Czech (by Jamilá Vesela, details wanted). Paola represented Switserland and tried her luck again in 1980 with Cinema, which did slighly better and ended 4th.
-Once a long time ago an early edition of the Eurovision Collectors Guide booklet got a book review in Record Collector Magazine. Of course the piss was taken: "people getting their ears insulted once a year" and "translated into exotic languages like English" but the critic ended with referring to the fantasticness of the Norwegian 1969 entry Oj Oj Oj Så Glad Jeg Skal Bli by Kirsti Sparboe, which had been haunting him ever since. And it shifted some copies of the book anyway.
The 1969 song from Norway only got one point and ended last but the Norwegians were getting used to that. I think it's just as lovely and as catchy as Boom Bang A Bang. Kirsti recorded the song in Norwegian, Swedish, German and French.
A Dutch/Flemish version by Danyel Dirk was titled Oi, Oi, Oi, Mijn Hart Staat Op Springen (My heart is about to jump/explode).
Danyel Dirk had it all, good looks and a promising start to his career with a few popular singles. But it wasn't meant to be as just a few months after releasing his debut LP Danyel Dirk he died in a tragic single car accident at the age of 22. Oi Oi Oi can be found on that debut LP (Regal records) re-issued in 1975 on Columbia. It's also the b-side to Er Stond Een Regenboog.

Swedish Siw Malmkvist already sang for Sweden in 1960 but with Primaballerina she represented Germany. Siw recorded Primaballerina in German, Swedish and Spanish.
It's one of the 18 Eurovision songs that was covered by Estonian legend Heli Lääts. More about Heli Lääts in this Eurocovers post and more Siw here and here

14th (out of 16) in line was the winner from France (4 X 40 Un Jour, Un Enfant)

Desfolhada Portuguesa, (a.k.a. Desfolhada) Simone de Oliveira's second Eurovision entry (after 1965's Sol De Inverno) for Portugal is probably the second most remembered Portuguese Eurovision evergreen (after 1974's E Depois Do Adeus, I should do a post about that one too some time).
It's in the same league as The Troubadour, folk-ish with a passion and it's still a fan favorite too. So why Lenny Kuhr won and Simone only ended 15th is a mystery to me.
The song has been covered several times in Portuguese and is still a popular song at Simone's live performances. She recorded the song in French, Spanish and of course Portuguese.

Patricia Cruz
A new version of Desfolhada Portuguesa can be found on the CD Recordação by Patrícia Cruz. The 2008 CD also includes coverversions of the Portuguese entries of 1985 (Penso em ti, eu sei) and 1991 (Lusitana Paixão). Watch a live performance
The last country to perform in the 1969 contest was Finland. And odd duo, a weird hat and a revue song just different from anything else on offer. Kuin Silloin Ennen by Jarkko & Laura ended 12th, which with hindsight was a good result for Finland pre-Lordi.
Many Eurovision songs were covered in Finland, more than in any other country, but Finnish songs were mainly covered by Finnish artists. Kuin Silloin Ennen has a few covers in Finnish, one in related language Estonian and one in Spanish. (Las Llamas Crecen by Los Dos)

Austria opted out of the contest because of Franco's dictatorship, and Denmark was in year 2 of their 11 year Eurovision drought. Liechtenstein was also rumoured to have participated in 1969, but it was a hoax, even though there is a EP by singer Vetty including Liechtensteins so called Eurovision entry Un Beau Matin. The song drops all the countries names and by todays standards it would probably be a parody .

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Road To Moscow 2 - Eurovision 2009 + Available documents

Here's another 2009 preselection artist with a Eurocover in their repertoire.
Slovenia's preselection (EMA) has a song by Čuki. They're a party band that started in the early 90's and they have covered the Dieter Bohlen song Nur Ein Lied. Bohlen wrote the song for Thomas Forstner who reached a respectable 5th place with the German Schlager ballad.
Dieter Bohlen is of course half of 80's superstars Modern Talking.
Thomas Forstner tried again in 1991 with Venedig Im Regen, but he failed to score a single point.

In Čuki's hands Nur Ein Lied became Ta cvet  and it was released on their 1991 album Rdeča mašna.
In EMA 2009 they'll perform Mal Naprej Pa Mal Nazaj, a very bouncy Rock Me Baby style antiquity surely inspired by Mambo # 5 as well. -----(picture: Čuki anno 1990)

Also check The Road To Moscow 1 with Hera Björk, Nucha and Tapani Kansa

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

4 X 40 - Madrid 1969 - Boom Bang A Bang

The last post in the 4 X 40 series is for Boom Bang A Bang, often used to describe the sillyness of Eurovision song titles. It became the biggest international hit and also the most covered of all 1969 songs.

Luvverly Lulu
Everyone loves Lulu. David Bowie loves her, Patsy & Edina do, Take That love her, Maurice loved her and so did the Man With The Golden Gun.
Belting Shout in 1964, U.S. #1 To Sir With Love in 1967 and after Eurovision scoring her biggest hits with David Bowie's The Man Who Sold The World (1974) and Dan Hartmans Relight My Fire (1993, her only U.K. #1 with Take That), Lulu scored two dozens of hits in 5 decades.
The typically Eurovisionary Boom Bang A Bang won a national selection with six songs by Lulu including the brilliant I Can't Go On Living Without You written by Elton John.
Lulu recorded Boom Bang A Bang (Alan Moorhouse/Peter Warne) in English, Spanish, German, French and Italian. A re-recording was released in 1980 on the LP The Very Best of Lulu (WARWICK WW 5097)


Lulu is a guest on the British 2009 Eurovision selection shows 'Your Country Needs You'. All very lovely of course, but at some point she claimed she had no international hits prior to Boom Bang A Bang. Like Eurovision was her worldwide breakthrough. We know better of course...

Like all U.K. entries from the golden years, Boom Bang A Bang was celebrated with many coverversions. I have collected details on 84 of them, together with Lulu's own versions and some great picture sleeves in the list.

Eurovision singers that have recorded Boom Bang A Bang are Lisa Del Bo (Belgium 1996), Grethe Ingmann (Denmarks 1963 winner), Gitte Haenning (Germany 1973) and Heidi Brühl (Germany 1963).
The song was covered in at least 18 languages including Czech, Slovak, Icelandic, Hungarian, Romanian and Limburgs.

Boem Benge Beng
Limburgs, Limburgian is spoken in the south-east province of Limburg, Netherlands and Beppie Kraft recorded Mien Hart Sleit Boem Benge Beng in her native tongue. She's a bit of a legend in Limburg and just celebrated her 50th anniversary as an artist with a CD and DVD Beppie Kraft 50 Joar (but no Boom Bang A Bang on that).
Boom Bang A Bang can be found on the CD Zoondagskeend (CDL, 1993)
- Beppie Kraft

And here are some other lovely versions:
From Brasil: Meu Coracão (Portuguese, Brasil) - 7" (Copacabana)
Selmita - Selmita discography
From Denmark: Boom Bang A bang (Danish) - 7" (Metronome B 1717)
Grethe Ingmann
From Iceland: Og þú (Icelandic) - CD Hvítu Mávar, details on original release wanted
Helena Eyjólfsdóttir (also check this post)
From Hungary: Bum, beng e beng (Hungarian) - 7" (Qualiton SP 631)
Szusza Mary

Anne Mettes Norwegian version is in this Eurocovers post.

Boom Bang A Bang 
Boom Bang A Bang YouTube - Lulu Homepage

Sunday, January 18, 2009

4 X 40 - Madrid 1969 - Un Jour, Un Enfant

Moroccan born Frida Boccara (1940 - 1996) is first discovered by Buck Ram of The Platters at a (Platters) concert in Casablanca. He encourages to persue a singing career. Soon she moves to Paris to study music and take the first steps in her musical career. In the early sixties she participates in several song contest including San Remo in 1964 (with L'ultimo Tram).
Cent Mille Chansons from 1968 is the defining moment for her international career. The big hymn is a hit in several European countries.
During the 70's she is a popular guest on many TV shows in Canada, Australia, South America and the Netherlands. In Russia she sell a million records.
Even though Frida Boccara mastered Arabic, Portuguese, Hebrew, Russian and Arabic she 'only' recorded her winning song in French, English, German, Italian and Spanish.
Un Jour, Un Enfant, written by Emile Stern and Eddy Marnay, is a big orchestral ballad and has a religious ring to it. Sadly the song didn't have the commercial success of Cent Mille Chansons.
When success slowed down Frida Boccara withdrew from the music business. She died in 1996.

I managed to collect details on 50 coverversions of the song, half of them instrumentals. A famous one is the Swedish version by Agnetha Fältskog of ABBA fame. Her Sov Gott Min Lilla Vän (Sleep Well My Little Friend) can be found on her 1970 LP Som Jag Är. (Cupol).
Elephant friend Kamahl recorded the song for a christmas album. In return Frida Boccara recorded a french version of Kamahls Elephant Song.
Please note: The Kamahl Christmas LP Peace On Earth exists in with different tracklists. The one released by Philips has Through The Eyes Of A Child, the one on Attic does not. (Thanks Klaus)

Eurovision singers that have recorded Un Jour, Un Enfant are Jacqueline Boyer (FR 1960). Anne Marie David (LU 1973) and Willeke Alberti (NL 1994)

Un Jour, Un Enfant traveled well. Coverversions were made in Canada, Australia, Brasil, Chile, Japan, South Africa and of course several European countries. Unfortunately the collection isn't very exotic, as many versions are instrumental versions or straightforward copies in French.

And as always: if you have any comments, additions or corrections leave a comment or let me know.

Anne Marie David
Anne Marie David, Eurovision winner of 1973, recorded a live version in 2004. It can be found on her CD Live A Charleroi which also includes live versions of her own Eurovision songs Tu Te Reconnaitras (LU 1973) and Je Suis Lénfant Soleil (FR 1979).

Two versions were released as recently as 2008, both are made in the Netherlands
Classical singer Petra Berger and pianist Jan Vayne released Un Jour Un Enfant on their album Crystal last october.
And more interesting is a real classical artist Ralph Rousseau Meulenbroeks. He is a virtuoso on the Viola Da Gamba and recorded Un Jour, Un Enfant (and Cent Mille Chansons) for his latest CD Chanson D'amour with Hein Van de Geyn and the Matangi String Quartet. Available in a classical music store in your area and in most webshops.
To make the circle round, Here's a youtube of Troubadourette Lenny Kuhr with Ralph Rousseau performing Frida Boccara's biggest hit Cent Mille Chansons.

I don't want to leave you without a song or two, so here are two of my favorite coverversions of Un Jour, Un Enfant.

This Hungarian version Gyermekszemmel (With a childs eye) was first released in 1999 (CD Èdesanyámnak Szeretettel).
There should be an older Hungarian version by 60's singer Poór Petér, but I have no details on that.
Kovács Kati Website (in Hungarian)

Um Dia, Um Crianca
Agnaldo Timóteo from Brasil recorded his version (in Portuguese) for his 1969 LP Comanda O Sucesso (Odeon) (! Agnaldo: Space 1999 want their costume back)

A version by Gloria Simonetti is in the 4 X 40 post De Troubadour

Sunday, January 11, 2009

4 X 40 - Madrid 1969 - Vivo Cantando

The second winner in Eurocovers 4 X 40 series is the entry from the host country Spain. Vivo Cantando by Barcelona born Salomé (Maria Rosa Marco I Poquet).
She started her career as a singer for Radio Barcelona. In 1963* she won the 5th mediterranean songfestival with the song Se'n va anar.
Salomé recorded Vivo Cantando in Spanish in three different versions but also in Catalan, Basque, French, Italian, English and probably several other languages (but these versions remain unreleased, full details in the list)
Vivo Cantando was written by Maria José Cerato & Aniano Alcalde.
* - although some sources say 1962

I found details on 50 coverversions of Vivo Cantando. No sensational names this time, and only a few of the repeat offenders of the Eurovision world have recorded the 1969 winner. There's Ronnie Tober (NL68), Birthe Kjaer (DK 98) and Edina Pop (DE 79). 40% of the covers listed are instrumental. Your Mauriats, Caravelli's and Lefêvres are all there. As usual the list is a Word document with all details on Salomé's own versions of Vivo Cantando (with picture sleeves) and on the coverversions of the song.

Rika Zaraï
Vivo Cantando wasn't the international hit Salomé had hoped for but the song became a modest European success for Rika Zaraï with her French adaptation titled Alors Je Chante.
Jerusalem born Zaraï scored her first international hit in 1961 with Exodus and she popularised Israeli songs like Hava Nagila and Jerushalaím Shel Zahav (a hit in 1967). She had her biggest European hit with Casatchock in 1969 which was immediately followed up by Alors Je Chante.
Rika Zaraï's version adds an extra melody line to the original composition which Salomé never recorded. It's this version that has been covered quite often for example by Edina Pop, Birthe Kjaer and Ad Nijkamp.
She just celebrated her 50th anniversary as an artist. Her latest CD Quand Les Hommes was released in 2007.

Rika Zaraï Eurocovers
Among the hundreds of songs Rika Zaraï recorded in her 50 year career there are several Eurovision tunes to be found.

France 1963 - Elle était si jolie (Alain Barrière)
- In French - on EP Tournez Manèges (Bel Air 211 101)Spain 1969 - Vivo Cantando (Salomé)
- Alors je chante (French) - on 7" (Philips BF 370 849) and others
- Allora canto (Italian) - on 7" (Dischi cgd 9755)
- Alors je chante (Live version) - on LP Olympia 70 (Philips 6311 017)
A version recorded in Japanese has been mentioned, but I haven't found any proof or details on that.
Spain 1973 - Eres Tu (Mocedades)
- C'est Pour Toi (French) - on LP Un Refrain (Philips 6325 040)Netherlands 1975 - Ding A Dong (Teach In)
- Le Petit Train (French) - on 7" (Philips 6009 676)Israel 1978 - A Ba Ni Bi (Izhar Cohen)
- In Hebrew - on LP Rika Zaraï (CD re-issue Helicon HL 02-94149)
- In French - on 7" (Philips 6172 140)
- In Italian - on 7" (Carosello, possibly 20466 and/or promo JB 143)
Israel 1979 - Hallelujah (Milk & Honey)
- Alleluia (French) - on 7" (Philips 6042 474)

You can find a Dutch Carnaval version in this Eurocovers post. A drag version of the song titled Wintersport can be found in the Eurocovers post Free at last, Costume Drama at Eurocovers. A German version by Edina pop is here.
Vivo Cantando Youtube Rika Zaraï Fansite

Friday, January 09, 2009

The Road To Moscow - Eurovision 2009

Eurovision 2009 is well on its way. Several countries are preparing already for Moscow with several multi round preselections.
Here's a short round up of the pre-semi-semi stars that have recorded their Eurocovers. -

Tapani Kansa
Heat 1 in Finland sees popcrooner Tapani Kansa trying for the 8th time in over 30 years.
He tackled a few memorable Eurovision belters in his career, all are sung in Finnish
U.K. 1972 - Beg, steal or borrow (New Seekers, 2nd)
- Varkain vien taikka lainaan, on 7" and VA LP Huipulla 2
U.K. 1975 - Let me be the one (The Shadows, 2nd)
- Saanhan olla hän, on LP Kuinka paljon rakkautta
U.K. 1976 - Save your kisses for me (Brotherhood of man, winner)
- Säästä suukkosi vain, on LP Kesän lapsi
Ireland 1976 - When (Red Vincent Hurley 10th)
- Pois, on 7" ABM 444 and VA LP Huipulla 10: Euroviisu special
France 1985 - Femmes dans ses rêves aussi (Roger Bens, 8th)
- Hän, on VA LP Kesähitid (Finnlevy)

Hera Björk
And then Danish TV announced their shortlist today. The final sees the return of Icelandic Hera Björk to the pre-Eurovision stage. Hera Björk lives in Denmark and choosing for the Danish selection saves some gazmoney.
She was in the Söngvakeppni 2007 selection for Iceland and covered the 2006 Norwegian entry Alvedansen (Christine Guldbrandsen). The old post about Hera Björk is still up (here).
And here is her Myspace
And at the Schlagerblog you can read an interview with the composers of Someday, Hera's bid for a Danish ticket to Moscow.
Hera Björk at The Oslo Collection


ADDED 21-01-09
And for the Die Hards, there's a collection of all Danish pre-selection songs since 1978 at the DR website : Grand Prix Bonanza. Well done Danish TV, it doen't make up for destroying all the 1964 contest footage, but it's a great example that should be followed by more TV stations.

Hera's Danish entry Someday is really good, an Abba-esque Nordic Schlager starting out as a ballad, think The Winner Takes It All. Somehow her voice reminds me of Donna Summer. We mentioned Alvedansen, but there's another slightly Hera related Eurocover.
A christmas CD by Fróstrosir released last year features an Icelandic version of Den Vilda (Sweden 1996, by Abba offspring One More Time). Fróstrosir is a various artists project celebrating Christmas music the Icelandic way. Fróstrosir 2008 are Eivør Pállsdóttir, Margrét Eir, Hera Björk & Dísella
In Icelandic Christmas language the ethereal ballad becomes Dansaðu Vindur (CD Heyr himnasmiður, Skifan) and the lead vocal is by Eivør Pállsdottir.

Title track Heyr Himnasmiður (Hear Lord Creator) is an 800 year old hymn by Icelandic Chieftan Kolbein Tumasson (although the music is only 100 years old). So now you know.
At the Icelandic Fróstrosir page you can hear excerpts of Dansaðu Vindur and other songs.
The English language site only has info up to 2007.
The first Fróstrosir project from 2002 featured a Christmas version of Swedens 1995 entry Se På Mig (Jan Johansen) titled Stjarnan Mín.

Portugal also announced the finalists for the Festival da canção 2009. 1990 entrant Nucha is among them. She didn't fare too well back then with Ha Sempre Alguem only ending on place 20.
A year or so ago Nucha released a new album Regresso (see this post) covering Sense Tu & La Mirada Interior from Andorra.
Here's Nucha's homepage

Thursday, January 08, 2009

4 X 40 - Madrid 1969 - De Troubadour

The first of the four winners of the 1969 Madrid contest in 4 X 40 is the Dutch entry De Troubadour by Lenny Kuhr. The Dutch had a good track record back then and Lenny Kuhr was the third Eurovision winner for the Netherlands in 14 years.
Lenny Kuhr wrote De Troubadour with David Hartsema and only just won the Dutch national selection one point ahead of Conny Vinks De Toeteraar.
The song is a simple but effective folktale about a traveling singer from the olden days. He sings, touches peoples hearts, rich or poor, dies in the end but won't be forgotten.
Lenny Kuhr recorded De Troubadour in Dutch, French, German, English, Spanish and Italian as it was properly done in those days. She also recorded several new versions and the song has always been a vital part of her live repertoire.
You can find a new live version on her 2007 anniversary CD 40 Jaar Verliefd.

El Trovador
In Spanish it became El Trovador and that version was recorded by Sabrina (Spanish 60's singer), Luis Alberto Del Parana Y Los Paraguayos from Paraguay, Los Alegres (a Dutch/Latin party combo) and one of Chile's greatest, Gloria Simonetti.

Gloria Simonetti
Gloria Simonetti is a popular singer from Chile. In her 40 year career she released 15 albums and scored hits with Lo Que Pasa Contigo, Hijos, La Violeta Y La Parra, Gracias A La Vida and Ojalá. She participated in festivals in Chile, Puerto Rico, Spain and Bulgaria.
Her first festival appearance was at the Viña del Mar International Song Festival in 1968. She went on to win that festival a year later with Mira Mira and for the 2009 edition next februari she will be one of the judges. She celebrated her 40 year career with a national tour.

Gloria's Eurocovers
Gloria Simonetti recorded two of the 1969 winners on her 1970 LP Gloria (RCA). El Trovador and Un Dia, Un Niño (France's entry, more in part 3) and later she recorded a coverversion of the 1988 Italian entry Vivo by Luca Barbarossa titled Viva. A song that no one else covered as far as I know. (CD Dedicado)
On her live album 25 años de Gloria Simonetti there is a medley including Dio Come Ti Amo and Al Di Lá (Italy 1966 & 1961).

More Troubadours / Help!
Other versions of De Troubadour have been recorded in Finland Portugal, France and (recently discovered) in Estonia.
And then there may be one someone out there might help me with. Someone I know that knows someone etcetera claims that De Troubadour was also recorded in Polish and even was popular on radio. But of course I don't know who the singer is. So if anyone has any idea about a Polish 60's or 70's coverversion of De Troubadour, please let me know
Click to enlarge

Lenny Kuhr homepage (In Dutch)
Gloria Simonetti page and Fanpage (In Spanish)

De Troubadour Youtube

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

4 X 40 - Eurovision Madrid 1969

Remember Eurovision 40 years ago?. Today we have over 40 countries in the contest, but back in 1969 we all were poor and there weren't many points to spread. And there wasn't any rule to prevent more than one country winning. So it was bound to mis-happen and in 1969 four countries tied for first place ending up with 18 points each.
And they all won one of the coolest Eurovisions in history.
It was held in Madrid, (not that happening at the time with Franco and all that). Salvador Dali made the posters (pic right). Actress Laura Valenzuela hosted the show and all outfits were stunning.
Many of the songs are still classics in their own right.
Bonjour Bonjour (Switzerland), Primaballerina (Germany), Judy Min Vän (Sweden) and Desfolhada (Portugal) should have won too. But it was the Netherlands (thanks to a 6 pointer from France), United Kingdom (thanks to Lulu), Spain and France that won.
Coming up in the next weeks is a four-part look at the winners and of course how well the songs traveled over the World.

Read more about the 4 winners from 1969 and their Eurocovers:
United Kingdom - Lulu - Boom Bang A Bang
France - Frida Boccara - Un Jour, Un Enfant
Spain - Salomé - Vivo Cantando
The Netherlands - Lenny Kuhr - De Troubadour

And you can read about the 'losers' here
------------------------Here's a taster from Paraguay


Friday, January 02, 2009

Yo Soy Aquel - Montecristo goes Russia.

In this Eurocovers post from April 2007 you can read about the Spanish 1966 Eurovision entry Yo Soy Aquel originally by Raphael and all its 21st century revivals.
One main reason the Manuel Alejandro song is so alive after 40 years is the use in the TV series Montecristo first made in Argentina.
Now after adaptations from Chile, Mexico and Portugal there's a Russian version of the telenovela and they stuck to the same song.
Yo Soy Aquel becomes Ti I Ja and is sung by Alexej Vorobyov. (Алексей Воробьёв - Ты и я)

Singer, actor, X-factor contestant Vorobyov participated in the Russian preselection of 2008 and ended 5th with New Russian Kalinka, a song which surely wouldn't have stood the tests of plagiarism rules. He ended 5th (New Russian Kalinka Youtube) and of course Dima Bilan won with Believe, the song that takes Eurovision to Moscow this year.

At Vorobyov's website there's a list of downloadable songs (click АУДИО) and the last one in the list is Yo Soy Aquel.

МонтекристоThe Russian series was cast in Russia and Belarus and received good ratings since the start last summer. The original Argentine series was broadcasted in 45 countries including many CIS states.
Remakes of the series in Spain, Greece, Italy and Turkey are currently in production or negociation, so maybe there will more Yo Soy Aquels to come

Special thanks to Nikolai!