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Ukraine’s 2016 Eurovision Entry

May 8, 2016


“Don’t mention the War!  I mentioned it once, but I think I got away with it…”

Enjoy (“enjoy?”) “1944”.

In a contest dominated by easy abstractions, “1944” by Jamala strikes a very deliberately (and literally) discordant note.  If you’re interested in a song that stands out in the crowd – this stands out in the crowd.

Here are some of the lyrics…

When strangers are coming…
They come to your house,
They kill you all
and say,
We’re not guilty
not guilty.

Where is your mind?
Humanity cries.
You think you are gods.
But everyone dies.
Don’t swallow my soul.

There isn’t a tune as such, I mean not something you could hum three minutes after having heard it.  What we get from Jamala is closer to what I’d call keening rather than singing.

On the “Participant Profile” page we read that “In 2011, she performed her cheerful song Smile in the Ukrainian selection but didn’t win the final.”  Well, she’s certainly chosen a different strategy this year.  There’s nothing to smile about on offer from the Ukraine.

In performance, she sways like a prophetic priestess possessed – i.e. suspended above that trippy Delphic gas leak.  She grasps a microphone with her right phone while her left hand appears to be playing an invisible theremin.

Ukraine (like many other nations) experienced a deal of death and destruction in the year 1944.  But if Armenia couldn’t win the contest last year with their genocide centenary number, I think that this strange wail of historical pain has little chance.  I, for one, have every sympathy for the people of Ukraine.  Perhaps a contest that could accommodate and reward this keening ventriloquising of timeless atrocity would be a truer world, a braver world, a more honest world.

I’m just not sure that people are going to vote to have to listen to this twice.  That’s all.


Most people will want something a bit more optimistic.  Like Denmark’s effort – see below…

Bulgaria could learn a lot about positive thinking from Søren.

If you’re keen on Balkan Country and Western Music, then you’ll like Slovenia’s entry…

Australia, bizarrely, are back…

If, in the meantime,  you want to watch an implausible love story involving a sex worker from Vilnius – try Lithuania’s entry…

Here, by the way – is Macedonia’s offering…

Meanwhile, Ireland’s entry – Nicky Byrne out of Westlife – is sort of all growed up.

Here’s Serbia, in case you were wondering…

Then again there’s Ivan from Belarus, who may or may not be dancing naked with wolves…

In the meantime, here is Israel:

You might prefer this GameofThronesy offering from Switzerland

Here, on the other hand, is Poland.

And here’s cheery Latvia,

Someone else who doesn’t look cross at all is Malta’s representative  –

Meanwhile, I found Bosnia and Herzegovina somewhat intriguing this year – see below…

More interesting than Montenegro, anyhow

Far, far more conventional is Azerbaijan

More chillingly, here is Estonia

But here, by way of some (but not much) relief is Cyprus

On a lighter note, see the Czech Republic’s offering…

And Russia…

San Marino – folks…

Meanwhile, here’s the Netherlands…

And Croatia

And Hungary

And Moldova

And Greece

Greece’s 2016 Eurovision Entry

And Finland

Finland’s 2016 Eurovision Entry

Here’s Austria by the way…

Austria’s 2016 Eurovision Entry

Here’s Armenia

Armenia’s 2016 Eurovision Entry



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