Sharon Vaughn from the United States, Stano Simor from the Czech Republic and Martin Isherwood from the United Kingdom represent diverse music scenes in their respective nations with their contributions duly noted across the year. Their aim in joining this feature is to see what lies beneath each track of this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest. The first semi-final along with the three finalist countries voting there have long been concluded as we find ourselves within the middle section of the second semi-final. Attention turns to Switzerland whose broadcaster, SSR has been drawn in slot number #16 with the producers thinking this position best. The song entitled You and Me is co-written by Georg Schlunegger, Roman Camenzind and Fred Herrmann with vocals provided by the group Takasa.
The Swiss public chose the rock ballad You And Me as Switzerland’s entry for the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest in a televised national final in December. The enigmatic band name Takasa means “to make pure” in Swahili, and epitomises the pure joie de vivre and love of music that the band embodies. It also stands for spirituality. Takasa is made up of six individuals for whom music is a passion. Sarah is 21 years young, and Emil celebrated his 95th birthday in February. They are brought together by a shared love of music and belief in God. Katharina, Sarah, Emil, Michel, Christoph and Jonas are as happy playing their music on the street as they are in church, as comfortable in a prison as they are in the Federal Parliament Building. Takasa’s journey will now take them on to the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest in Malmö.
True to their motto of “together we’re one”, this unconventional group - featuring the oldest Eurovision contestant ever - offers a performance of perfect harmony that is completely in tune with the “we are one” theme of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. You And Me was written by Hitmill Records. It describes the tensions in today’s society and how the “you and me” relationship between individuals is the only real way to resolve them. The group believes it is important for people to get along with each other across the generations, and to find unity in shared values. Takasa is a shining example of this timeless and topical message. Winning the Swiss competition to find the country’s Eurovision entry for 2013 inspired Takasa to make an album of music for Europe. Once again, it takes up the theme of building bridges and finding common ground.
In keeping with this philosophy, the new songs were not recorded by Takasa themselves but by singers from all over Europe who came together especially for the project. Of course the CD would be incomplete without You And Me, this time in a unique “European” version. Once more, the selection process in Switzerland was a culmination and cooperation between the major broadcasters which represent all of the minorities in the country meaning that songs were presented by the Italian, French and Romanche broadcasters respectively. The final, which consisted of nine (9) songs in total took place on the 15th December in the at the Bodensee Arena in Kreuzlingen with Sven Epiney as host. The competition was quite intriguing and whilst the national public made the selection of Heilsarmee, the foreigners were mostly inclined towards the first runner-up entry entitled J'Avais Rendez-Vous performed by Caroussel.
Switzerland were one of the pioneers of the Eurovision Song Contest and will be forever known as the inaugural winner of the competition thanks to Lys Assia and her entry Refrain. As a matter of fact, despite a history stretching more than fifty years, their triumphs have been limited to only two in total, the second one coming in 1988 with Celine Dion obtaining a one point advantage over Scott Fitzgerald of the United Kingdom to succeed with Ne Partez Pas Sans Moi. Last year, the country failed to make it through to the final with the brotherly duo known as Sinplus failing to get their diction up to scratch as they performed the pop/rock song Unbreakable. They ranked in eleventh (11th) and considering that they had just managed a tenth (10th) place the year before, it seems that they are always set to be marginal qualifiers pertaining to the quality of their live performance.
Professional Critics Voice their Opinion
Martin Isherwood: Very hooky title and lyric with a positive message Strong melodies with a nice deep Aaah Aaah and a few Heys! thrown in for good measure. Very strong pop / rock up-beat track.
Sharon Vaughn: Well, this is just one cliche' after another.
Stano Simor: This particular entry has all the prerequisites to advance to the finals. Non-violent pop with the endlessly repetitive chorus. This is the typical Eurovision song and therefore should qualify easily. The whole audience should be singing with the group during the 2nd chorus!
In the past two days, the European Broadcasting Union was receiving the songs that will be competing in this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest taking place in Malmo, Sweden. The design of the stage was also presented whilst Sweden was drawn in sixteenth (16th) position within the final in order to clarify the idea of the producers' draw and not give the home country an unfair advantage. We would like to invite you to the weekly Ultimate Eurovision Experience. Apart from the means of FM Radio in the Netherlands on FM 106.8 and the audio stream from the studio via www.radiointernational.tv and on Digital Cable 781 & cable 88.1Mhz in the Netherlands, the show will also be web-televised via the Radio International TV Channel from the studio and linking up the many international Eurovision fans and friends and play your requests and read your messages out on air. The simulcast will be from 2000 – 2300 hours CET when fans can join in and chat amongst each other via the Chat Room and request their favourite Eurovision entry.
One of the most impressive national selections to take place in the lead up to this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest was surely the one in Malta which yielded twenty-four (24) semi-finalists brought down to sixteen (16) finalists out of which the eventual winner was the song Tomorrow performed by Gianluca with music and lyrics by Dean Muscat and Boris Cezek. The songwriters of the winning entry had the opportunity to qualify with another two songs for this years' Malta Eurovision Song Contest, one of them being the beautiful, charming ballad entitled Perfect Day with vocals provided by Janice DeBattista. The female artist has a lot of the resonance that Chiara is known to bring to the stage and considering that this was the first experience for her within the competition, making the final and achieving tenth place was definitely meaningful. We spoke to Janice about her career as a solo artist as well as her involvement within two bands, one being Salt and the other being Scarlet Sally.
This will be the first of three interviews which are airing on this weeks' edition of the programme which is set to commence at 20:00 CET and to run for a total of three hours. As a matter of fact, the second interview is with Christopher, the lead male vocalist of the band Takasa, which was formerly known as Heilsarmee. They will be performing the song You and Me during the second half of the second semi-final alongside Malta. The European Broadcastign Union has a rule against brand names hence why they had to change the name of the group along with their whole image. A brand new music video was shot in order to accomodate the brand new image. The final interview this week will be with Dusan Svilvar who was the first runner-up of the Beosong competition held in Serbia. Despite the second place, he miseed out by around five thousand votes which was the closest possible to Moje 3.
Radio International is always keen to present songs during the show apart from the weekly features and therefore, collaborating the two ideas together will see the emergence of Eurovision UnverCover whereas tracks performed at the Eurovision Song Contest will be covered by other singers. The actual tracks will be played first followed by the cover and this will make things interesting. Apart from this feature, there will be new material played on the show by a number of former representatives including Jedward. All of the latest news is also covered during the weekly broadcast noting resources from escflashmalta.com and escXtra where Luke Fisher, the Editor makes a weekly round-up. A round up of the national finals thus far is set to be conducted by Alasdair Rendall. Follow the show through the official website and also send your requests through the contact link which is found on the aforementioned website.
Source: Team of Radio International
The Team of Radio International is back this week and would like to invite to join the weekly Ultimate Eurovision Experience. The Show is broadcast on 106.4FM and Digital Cable 41 within The Netherlands and also via the internet through the official website, where it will also be web televised for those who would like to get a more interactive feel to the programme. The show which airs on a Wednesday is set to kick off at around 20:00 CET and will finish around three hours later at 23:00 CET. This weeks' broadcast is actually the first following the selection of three entries for the upcoming edition of the Eurovision Song Contest and therefore will prove quite insightful due to the fact that the Team of Radio International was present for the Swiss final and followed the proceedings as they unfolded.
The main focus of the programme will be surrounding an exclusive interview with Heilsarmee, the Swiss Salvation Army which will be representing the small nation in the middle of the continent. First problems emerged in the past couple of hours due to the branding of the group which is not accepted at the Eurovision Song Contest for several purposes. This was seen last year with regards to San Marino who first made use of a social networking site in their song-title before showing a brand live on stage during rehearsal week. The lead vocalist of Heilsarmee, Christopher speaks to the team of Radio International about their victory and their intentions for the event taking place in Sweden where they will be performing their entry You and Me. The final took place last Saturday night and the winning act manage to garner more than half the votes than those achieved by the first runner-up which was J'Avais Rendez-Vous by a duo known as Carrousel.
Apart from the interview with the winners of the national final which is somewhat customary, the team of Radio International wanted to mix it up a bit and therefore spoke to the host of the show, Sven Epiney who is to be noted as the commentator for the Swiss broadcaster; SRF at the Eurovision Song Contest, taking up the role in 2010 and becoming what has been coined in Switzerland as Mister Eurovision. It is the perfect opportunity to get to know him better in the ambient of the competition and to note how the show has carefully evolved in the past three years. In the meantime, December is known to be a time for festive celebrations and therefore, with Christmas round the corner, we would like to wish you all the best with a hearty new year as well. We look forward to bringing you more material in the coming weeks especially in the lead up to the Eurovision Song Contest, so make sure to stay tuned to escflashmalta.com and Radio International.
Sweden have had quite the history in the Eurovision Song Contest, having only failed to make it through to the final only once, that coming in 2010 when Anna Bergendahl had performed the track This Is My Life finishing in eleventh place. The Scandinavian country won the competition five times kicking off with ABBA's Waterloo in 1974, followed by The Herreys ten years later in 1984 with Diggi-Loo Diggi-Ley. Then with Carola in 1991 when she won with Fangad Av En Stormvind before more success continued in 1999 as Charlotte took the honours with Take Me To Your Heaven and of course most recently in 2012 noting the Loreen victory with Euphoria. Apart from these successes, Sweden has managed to finish in the top ten on a large number of occasions becoming one of the most notable nations when it comes to the event. The entries which will be analysed are those between 2009 and 2012. Make sure to tune into the programme tomorrow night to witness all of the happenings live as soon as they are broadcast in The Netherlands.
Source: Team of Radio International
The European Broadcasting Union has always been vocal about regulations pertaining to the participation in the Eurovision Song Contest and they seem to have found the first issue for the upcoming year now that three entries, those coming from Belarus, Switzerland and Belgium have already been selected with an earlier than anticipated selection season. The Swiss entry for the upcoming edition of the continental showcase is entitled You and Me and it performed by a group known as Heilsarmee which represent The Salvation Army of the nation whose aim is to get their music and aim across the whole continent but it seems that this will not be the case after a ruling from the organisers which have instructed the Swiss broadcaster; SRF that their winning entry has been accepted but the attire and the name of the group have to be altered in order to be in accordance with the regulations.
Heilsarmee were the clear winners of the selection process held last Saturday night actually noting that they received more than half of the votes than those in second place, the amounting totaling to around 38% leaving the J'Avais Rendez-Vous by Carrousel in second place with 17% and Forever and a Day by Jesse Rich in third place with just 12% making it a clear and overwhelming victory. The Swiss broadcaster; SRF released an official press release which stated what the European Broadcasting Union has suggested due to the fact that they knew that some restrictions were set to be imposed and this is what it read 'The song “You and I” meets the requirements of the EBU. Nevertheless, it is clear from the perspective of the EBU that a performance in Malmö will only be possible if the band does not appear in the official uniform of the Salvation Army. In addition, the song may not be entered under the name of ‘Salvation Army’. The EBU Reference Group will review whether these changes were implemented in January.' We would like you to stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news as soon as it becomes available.
Source: SRF, escXtra
For the very first time in seven years, The Netherlands held an open national final in order to select their entry and their representative for the Eurovision Song Contest and they appointed one of the most respective television producers; John De Mol to conduct the whole showcase. It seems that things turned out to be quite positive with some 2.3 million viewers tuning in to watch Joan Franka and her track You and Me win the Nationaal Songfestival amounting to some 30.6% in terms of viewing share. The songs which were presented during the selection were somewhat representative of a variety of music styles and were thus respected by the viewers, the international panel of judges and also the well known individuals from the Dutch music industry including the likes of Afrojack.
Joan was not thought to be the favourite heading into the competition with Raffaella and Pearl whose entries Chocolatte and We Can Overcome presenting songs which would have both proven to be superior noting their successful effort on the national charts. In a recent interview with John De Mol gave on the VIOranje talkshow on RTL, which is one of the main music channels in Germany with subsidiary channels in a number of countries, it was stated that the changes that took place in this years' national final will remain in 2013 with himself alongside the company TROS taking care of the production. It will be interesting to see whether the end result could better the disappointing fifteenth place achieved this year. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news as soon as it comes in.
Source: RTL, Oikotimes, TROS, Eurovision.tv
Ell & Nikki with their song Running Scared secured a victory for Azerbaijan for the very first time back in 2011 and therefore, all of the participants will be heading onto the Eastern nation to competing in this years' Eurovision Song Contest. The capital city, Baku is the one hosting and our critics have been quite busy preparing their verdicts on the respective tracks. There are a number of songs which have been coined as sure qualifiers along with others who are on the marginal scale it seems. The latter category is one which fits in perfectly with The Netherlands who will this year be represented by the upcoming performer Joan Franka and her song You and Me written by the artist herself alongside Jessica Hoogenboom.
Joan Franka was born in Rotterdam on April 2, 1990. She has a Dutch mother and a Turkish father, who sadly died when she was two years old. She’s not fluent, but has a smattering of Turkish. As a child Joan was fascinated by theatre, poetry and music. Together with her sister, who is two years older, Joan wrote musicals and played them at every birthday and party. The duo called themselves J & N, and the Spice Girls were their biggest source of inspiration. Joan has always been passionate about her music. That’s why, at age six, she knew she wanted a musical career. “I didn’t even know if I could sing. I just thought: I want it and I’m going to do it.”
Joan was 17 when she first performed. In 2010 Joan was scouted to take part in The Voice of Holland. After much deliberation she decided to take part. She chose coach Van Velzen. It was her first introduction to the entertainment business. During the programme producer Holger Schwedt (a member of Van Velzen’s Dream Team) promised to record an album with her. Holger submitted the song You and Me for the National Song Festival in 2012. Having received most of the public vote she beat the five other contestants to win the National Song Festival on February 26. It was the first time the audience heard a song Joan Franka had written herself.
“You and Me” tells the story of a childhood memory, in which she often played “Cowboys and Indians” with her first boyfriend. That’s why she wore an Indian-style dress and headdress during her performance to add lustre to her childhood memory. The headdress was made in a bridal shop. There was a lot of fuss about her dress and headdress. In the media too her outfit got a lot of attention. And Joan got a lot of spontaneous and positive reactions to her song on radio and TV. And not just in the Netherlands. Portugal, England and Turkey have also shown a lot of interest in Joan Franka.
Joan Franka is greatly looking forward to taking part in the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest. She’s proud to be representing the Netherlands in Baku in May 2012. Joan wrote the song You and Me together with Jessica Hoogenboom, a frequent guest at Holger’s studio. “Holger suggested I write songs with other people too. When I first met Jessica I was sure I knew her from somewhere. After five minutes I found out we woke up in the hospital next to each other the year before! We were both operated on our vocal cords and woke up laughing. Since that day we often write together and have become good friends.” Besides music Joan also writes poetry and paints regularly. She deals with her emotions by writing both songs and poems. Inspiration often comes out of nowhere. She likes being creative, including with her wardrobe.
The Critics Voice Their Opinion
- A Native American dressed girl singing an Irish Folk tune. The female singer has good charisma skills and sings a humble, lullaby song. Unfortunately, the song is far too boring and simple to get my attention. The only thing that stays with me is the terrible stage outfit. I do not think such a song will cut it ultimately, three (3) points from me.
- Here I am back again...Joan Baez! A mixture of campfire mood and country style. The contest has often surprised us and this is surely not a bad song therefore, who knows what will happen. From my end, I will give this track four (4) points because there was something interesting which struck a chord.
- The fancy-dress-gone-horribly-wrong apart, this number never develops into anything greater than the shadow of a song. Could have made a positive difference, but it has no spice and the horrendeous falsetto finally ruins the whole thing. Unfortunately, two (2) points are more than enough.
Performer: Joan Franka
Composers: Joan Franka & Jessica Hoogenboom
Author: Joan Franka
Song: You and Me
History of the Nation
The Eurovision Song Contest has been taking place since 1956 and since then, there have only been a handful of countries who have returned each and every year. One of the countries to be participating each and every time is The Netherlands, a country which has been declared winner on four occasions, the first of which in 1957 with Corry Broken and Net Als Toen, then in 1959 with Teddy Scholten and the song Een Beetje followed by Lenny Kuhr with the track De Troubadour in 1969 and last but not least in 1975 when the group Teach-In swept the board with the song Ding-A-Dong. Unfortunately, since the introduction of the semi-final system, they have no achieved too much success with fan-favourite entries such as My Impossible Dream and On Top of the World falling short in the semi-final. Last year, they had to endure their first last place finish since 1968 as the 3Js took to the stage with Never Alone.