Friday, May 18, 2007

Eurovision 2007

I decided to write a post about this year's Eurovision and Ukraine's entry after all.

Initially I had thought that Vasyl's post at his uamuzik blog would suffice, and kind of agreed that Verka Serduchka was an embarassment.

But, well, even then I had to admit that altho I found the visuals rather revolting, I found the tune quite catchy. (Yes, I am a true "radio" person... give me audio any day!)

Anyway, I was chatting with my radio colleague Pavlo this morning, and admitted to him that Verka has actually been growing on me. We agreed that really, whether or not you like his/her act, s/he does do what s/he does well, i.e. show biz.

It seems, tho, that in coming around, I'm swimming against the current, as usual. Pavlo (who was a prominent broadcaster in Ukraine before coming to Canada a few years ago and so knows these things) told me that Verka has never been really appreciated at home, i.e., in Ukraine, because s/he uses a lot of "surzhyk" ... Ukraine's equivalent of the Canadian prairie Ukie lingo known as "half na piv". Language being a touchy issue amongst Ukrainians, I guess that's understandable. But s/he made a decent living touring ... mostly in Russia, where s/he was very popular.

The operative word here is "was." Apparently, Russians have no sense of humour whatsoever and their noses can get seriously out of joint over even imagined slights. It seems an influential Russian national (or two) interpreted Verka's nonsense phrase (lasha tumbai) in the Eurovision entry as meaning "Russia goodbye" and then, as per usual, the rumour took root. So now post-Eurovision, Verka is persona non grata in Russia. Sheesh. They really need to get a grip, learn to lighten up a bit. Life is short... Oh well.

Although I am not a big fan of drag queens, I think there is room for a variety of styles of artistic expression in a vibrant culture. That gives everyone choice, and (at least in theory) keeps everyone happy. So while it's not something you'll likely find on Nash Holos, I still tip my hat to Verka Serduchka for great showman(person?)ship and audience draw.

Since I discovered Eurovision a few years ago, I've come to the conclusion that it is sure a lot more interesting than American Idol or the Canadian version. Maybe because it's just entertainment for its own sake, not entertainment for the sake of commerce? And western commerce is so uninspired. If they were smart, the record labels would be beating a path to Verka's door, but they are more smug than they are smart, as arbiters of culture tend to be.

Anyway, if you want to see the Verka Serduchka Eurovision entry, go here. To date there are over 800,000 (!) hits at this site alone, and there are several other sites with almost as many. The winner, Serbia, had a lovely entry but hasn't been getting near the hits on YouTube. (My personal favourite for this year was by Sarbel from Greece, who Pavlo describes as Greece's answer to Ricky Martin.)

Oh, and if you haven't seen the 2004 winning entry by Ukraine's Ruslana, it's here. Enjoy!


Little Miss Moi said...

Dear pawlina. Well, I'm an outsider first and foremost. But I do love the song! I was in the money changer's yesterday and it came on and I immediately started to tap my foot! I went back up to the office where I had to pay for my language lesson and started to chat about it, and they all seemed to love her. I've decided to look for the CD, even though I haven't bought a CD for years.

Pawlina said...

Thanks for the post, little miss!

Yeah, it's a catchy tune all right. It kept popping into my head during the long weekend. I wasn't anywhere near my computer all weekend and I didn't listen to it *that* much before leaving. So I guess that says something for the composer's talent,eh?

Good luck with the language lessons! I am *so* jealous of your wonderful Ukrainian adventure. ;-)