May is the month in which the famous Eurovision Song Contest takes place.
Since its debut broadcast in 1956, Eurovision has become one of the longest running televised spectacles in the world. Every year an estimated 100-600 million viewers watch the music competition featuring artists performing their original compositions from countries throughout Europe.
Many famous international musical acts took part in, and owe their fame to, the Eurovision Song Contest—ABBA, Celine Dion, Cliff Richard, Julio Iglesias, the Irish dance act Riverdance, and many others.
It’s a brilliant—and highly entertaining—formula. Participating countries each submit an original song to be performed on live television and radio, which is broadcast simultaneously to all countries. After the last performance, viewers cast votes for the other countries' songs (they are not allowed to vote for their own country’s song). The winning country then hosts the event the following year.
Ukraine has participated in the Eurovision Song Contest 13 times, and has finished in the top ten a total of nine times.
Ukraine’s debut was in 2003 with a 14th-place finish for Oleksandr Ponomariov and his entry Hasta La Vista. The very next year, their second time at Eurovision, Ruslana won first place for Ukraine with the Wild Dances.
This year, it’s déjà vu all over again. After taking 2015 off from Eurovision, Ukraine came back last year to win the competition.
Crimean singer Jamala won the top prize for Ukraine with her story of Stalin’s deportation of the Crimean Tatars during WWII.
And once again, Ukraine is hosting Eurovision in Kyiv, on May 13, 2017.
At the end of April, the Vancouver and international editions of Nash Holos Ukrainian Roots Radio featured 11 of Ukraine's Eurovision songs … the nine that placed in the top ten, and the two entries in the hosting years.
So this week, we’re going to count down the days here on the Nash Holos blog. We'll review those tunes and the show notes again.
If you’re impatient and want to hear the whole thing in one sitting, check out the podcast for the April 29th Vancouver edition of the show here.
The show opened with Ukraine’s first winning entry, in 2004, Ruslana’s song, Wild Dances, with lyrics in English and Ukrainian. Here is the video.