Friday, September 30, 2016

ITALY: IL VOLO RELEASES NOTTE MAGICA

Italian trio has released their new album, a tribute to the original three tenors with a special guest appearance by Placido Domingo. The concert this summer in Florence's Piazza Santa Croce with an audience of 6000 was such a success they decided to release the whole event as a CD and a Deluxe version 2CD+DVD. 
Next spring a new world tour will start that will bring these arias everywhere. 
The original Three tenors happened 26 years ago in Rome's Terme di Caracalla with Placido Domingo, José Carreras and Luciano Pavarotti. 

SWEDEN: MÅNS ZELMERLÖW AIMING TO MAKE IT BIG IN EUROPE AND ASIA

Måns Zelmerlöw has said a big fat "No" to all tv programme hosting and musical offers in Sweden as he's giving it all in 2017 to conquer Europe first and then Asia, as he tells to Aftonbladdet. His agenda is emptied of all things Swedish and after his new album comes out in November he's to make a promo tour in Europe in the beginning of 2017 followed by a tour before summer. Then in summer a promo tour in Asia followed by a tour in fall. He's ready to invest all savings he's got from Heroes and Cara mia over the years and give it all he's got for an international career. 
He tells his new album will be very variable as he says he thinks he's more of a live artist, that's where he is at his best and can't stick to one genre only. And having a break from Swedish entertainment business for awhile will be only good as he's been all over the place the past two years, public needs to long for him a bit for a change. He's also very surprised about his success in France, the last country he thought he would make it.....

Thursday, September 29, 2016

EUROVISION FINLAND: ARE THESE POSSIBLE UMK2017 ARTISTS?

As usual YLE has been in complete silence how many entries they have received for UMK2017 and this year not even the artists - to be honest very, very few every year and usually those wannabe nobodies in search for some media coverage - have come out shouting out their intentions and how they have sent in a song that will win it. Yah right.
So far there's only a handful of names that can be digged out from social medias that they may have sent in an entry, or have toyed with the idea. Let's have a look....

Katrin Johansson. I have never heard of her but her wikipedia tells all sort of things. Sounds very promising though, as you can judge yourself from her older video below...
Dead Girl Diamonds is a pop rock grunge rap band from Rauma. Not so quite sure about them though....
Lauri Yrjölä is a professional guitarist playing with Isac Elliot, Sanni, Antti Tuisku and Janna and is now trying to step out as a singer-songwriter as well. 
Lyel is a German born indie artist living in Helsinki these days and has already had global releases of her songs. Sounds and looks very interesting indeed....
And then we have two acts I hope have not sent an entry after all: Suamenlejjonat and Kolmen Keisarin Liitto..... 

As usual we will know the chosen ones only in January. Unless someone leaks them beforehand as has happened the past two years.... Until then, keep guessing and hoping. Jari Sillanpää won't be in.

NEW RELEASES FROM PASHA PARFENY, JUSTS, AMIR AND VAIDAS BAUMILA

Eurovision veteran boys have been busy releasing new songs this summer/fall. Pasha Parfeny has dropped his first names and go only as Parfeny now and sings about Eve's wardrobe in Haine Evei while dropping his. Add apples and snake and the storyboard is ready. Justs is dark and mysterious in Have it all. All fashion telephone box is the main feature. What else do you need when you have it all; song, voice & looks?  Amir's On dirait video brings back the summer's sun that here in Finland is already missing and memories of this Eurovision season. Feel good song in every sense. Vaidas Baumila offers us something in English this time. He is apparently dreaming Panama as doesn't seem so sunny and warm in the seas of Lithuania.... 

MTV EUROPE MUSIC AWARDS FLIRT WITH EUROVISION AGAIN

Some years ago MTV and Eurovision were living in a parallel realities never even getting close. Then slowly some Eurovision entrants or wannabes started popping up in the nominees or even winning awards (maNga, Marco Mengoni, Lena, Dima Bilan...)
This year is no exception, as many as six Eurovision stars are nominated in their home countries to be the one and only for the race for the ultimate award: in Italy we have Francesca Michielin and Emma, in France Amir, in Belgium Laura Tesoro, in the Netherlands Douwe Bob and finally in Poland Cleo, who battles it out with wannabe Margaret
In Romania this year's runner up Vanotek is nominated. Special mention for Spain's Alvaro Soler who would be pefect for Eurovision.... who knows?
In Finland it might be in pack for Antti Tuisku this year crowning his newfound megasuccess. The other nominees are Eveliina who has taken the spotlight from her girlfriend Sanni a bit (last week the girls were in the singles top-20 as #1 and #2, some celebration in that household I suppose...), rap's bad boy Nikke Ankara, humour band Teflon Brothers and finally Vesala, ex-PMMP who's solo career has started the best possible way....
Check out the Finnish videos after the jump.....

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

FINLAND: JARI SILLANPÄÄ WOULD DO EUROVISION AGAIN, BUT UMK...

It's no secret Jari Sillanpää is a big Eurovision fan besides being one of the biggest stars in Finland for the past 20 years already. His trip to Istanbul 2004 didn't quite go as he (and we) may have planned so the will to make it better is there. Recently he's got a new team behind him and he's more popular than ever, selling albums again, filling Olympic stadium for his birthday party, winning reality variety shows on television, judging Talent and having a song in the radio top-100 for almost two years already... 
And guess what? His new team thinks he'd be perfect for Eurovision. Or rather Eurovision is a perfect for Jari. Leri Leskinen tells in Jari's recently published biography: "That huge stage, all those parties, it's so Jari. He's been there once but he should do it again. The whole event is like made for him. We have talked about it. We should have some huge ballad there, it's fashiobable now. Adele has vintage written all over, so did late Amy. It's big, But would he go? I think he would. But there's one big obstacle: the Finnish selection now is this UMK. That's not good for him. We should have one artist only final for once."
So, without UMK we would most likely get Jari back. Maybe with something like his latest hit Suurempaa....

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

FRANCE: PATRICIA KAAS IS BACK! NEW ALBUM AND TOUR

Patricia Kaas is back! I mean the Patricia who's not doing cabaret or paying hommage to Edith Piaf. She's back as herself in a new album (propably titled La langue que je parle) to be released in November, her first of that kind since 2003's Sexe fort. Even if 13 years cap may sound a lot she's been busy in between with Kabaret album (2009) and Kaas chante Piaf (2012), Eurovision song contest 2009 and two world tour,s writing an autobiography L'Ombre de ma voix..... 
Here are the first two singles off the new album:
She will be touring from January 2017 again all over France

Monday, September 26, 2016

ESC 2017 AUSTRIA: RUSSKAJA SELECTED? AUSTRIA GOING NUTS AGAIN?

And while we are at rumors here's another one. Austria is going internal this time (last time was with Conchita, btw). They have given us weird stuff from Alf Poier to Träckshittaz and Global Kryner, not forgetting some rather challenging stagings over the decades. Now it seems they want to challenge us again after the beauty and elegance of Conchita and Zoe with something else. So what would be more effective than sending a Russian Turbo Polka metal band to Ukraine? It's been awhie we had some crazy ska in Eurovision anyways.... 
The band is often featured in the ORF late night entertainment shows as party band and therefor their selection would make more than sense - keep it in the family! - and here are their efforts with the one and only Conchita Wurst for example:

ESC 2017 BELGIUM: PIERRE LIZÉE OR OLIVIER KAYE FOR KYIV?

Just like neighbouring the Netherlands also Belgium seems to have found the right cards for the Eurovision success in the past years. And if it works, why change it? Once again they are apparently selecting internally the artist and once again from The Voice contestants. 
Two very different artists with different styles are rumored to be the ones they are trying to figure out who would guarantee a better success and keep Belgium in the Top-10 for the third consegutive year.
20-year-old Pierre Lizée would follow the footsteps of Loic Nottet by being a bit on the alternative side and has gained success and fame after the show despite making only the semifinal.
23-year-old Olivier Kaye did make the final, and has belted out various musical styles with ease, and may have not such a clear genre and profile as Pierre and is more traditional.
It is reported songs are being written and produced for both artists so in the end it might be a question who gets a better and more suitable song and whole package for Kyiv, but one thing is for sure: Belgium continues to showcase new fresh talents again. 

Sunday, September 25, 2016

ITALY: FRANCESCA MICHIELIN RELEASES ALMENO TU

Francesca Michielin releases sixth single off her album di20 (re-released as di20are) following L'amore esiste, Battito di ciglia, Lontano, her Eurovision 2016 entry Nessun grado di separazione and Un cuore in due. Almeno tu is also on a soundtrack of Italian film Piuma directed by Roan Johnson, while Francesca will hit the road in october with her new tour. 

ITALY: MARCO MENGONI - NEW ALBUM AND EUROPEAN TOUR

One would have thought Marco Mengoni would like to take some time off after releasing two albums last year, scoring countless hits, touring Italy with two sold out tours and all the rest but no. In October  comes a new album that follows the multiplatinum success of Parole in circolo and Le cose che non ho (the 5th and 8th most sold albums in Italy in 2015).
The new leg of his tour #MengoniLive2016 starts on November 12 with ten dates in Italy and then continues to Lugano (CH), Frankfurt (D), Brussels (B), Amsterdam (NL), Paris (F), Luxembourg, Zurich (CH), Köln (D), Wien (A) and Warzaw (PL) on December 20, 2016. 

Friday, September 23, 2016

NEW RELEASES FROM SAADE, MARGARET, ANOUK AND LOBODA

Here are again some new releases from Eurovision stars and wannabes. Bad boy Saade is apparently having success in Russia after dropping his first name and change of musical style. I kinda like it. Better than before for sure! Margaret keeps delivering excellent pop tunes and Elephant is another good example. Maybe not as catchy as Cool me down that has been playing also on Finnish radio waves quite a lot. Anouk goes her own way with Down daddy down and it's interesting at least. And Ukrainian (Svetlana) Loboda is having maybe the biggest hit of her long career on home soil. And Russia!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

ESC 2016: JAMALA RELEASES 1944 VIDEO

Better late than never, here it is finally: the video for the Eurovision song contest 2016 winner, Ukraine's Jamala and 1944. Very suggestive simple one, that fits perfectly the mood of the song. Well done!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

MALTA: THE QUEEN OF L-GHANJA TAL-POPLU - CORAZÓN MIZZI!

If The Travellers have proven recently one can do great singing in Maltese there's also someone else doing great stuff: Corazón Mizzi. While in Malta I was looking for some Maltese CDs only to find out they pretty much don't exist, and the most helpful staff in legendary D'Amato - probably the world's oldest record store today - suggested me Corazón's Hawn jien (2014 album). Having nothing else really to bring home I decided to go or it without even realizing it is the Corazón from Maltese Eurovision selections. And what a find it was! Thank you D'Amato!
But let's start from the obvious: Eurovision. Corazón has been offering us songs in the Maltese Eurovision selection since 2009, actually making her best result this year with Falling glass, one of my favorites btw. I also liked last year's Secretly but that failed even the final.
But Corazón's true calling is singer-songwriter in Maltese as this excellent album clearly shows. We have all heard about L-Għanja tal-Poplu or Festival tal-Kanzunetta Maltija, a song contest for original songs in Maltese running since 1973 where occasional Eurovision stars make an appearance singing in their native. Corazón is the Queen of this contest winning it for the fourth time this year! Isn't it time to drop the English and songs written by others altogether and go for Europe in self written Maltese instead? If The Travellers aren't up for it, Corazón please give it a try!
Check out more Corazón songs after the jump......

SWEDEN: MELODIFESTIVALEN 2017 GETS 2.478 ENTRIES

The hunt is on in Sweden, too, and the submission period is over. This year 2.478 entries arrived in time, slightly more than last year. Karin Gunnarsson is the new woman in charge at this point and she tells their aim is to get as many new songwriters in as possible, those who have never participated before and Christer Björkman says it's a bit easier this year as half the songs last year had chart success after MF. 
"Karin's exactly what we've been looking for. She has both the innovative thinking that knowledge of the industry and sense of what Melodifestivalen needs"  says Christer.
"New artists, songs and sound are a never ending source which year after year continues to fascinate and interest me. It is a privilege to work and share it to a large and enthusiastic audience. I'm incredibly proud to be a part of SVT and the Eurovision Song Contest", says Karin.
Karin has worked at Sveriges Radio P3 as music editor for over ten years with music-related projects P3 Gold, Musikhjälpen and P3 Love tour. 2013 was Karin's first year in Melodifestivalen selection panel and she has participated in the jury since.

Melodifestivalen continues with its familiar formula:
Semifinal one - February 4, 2017  - Gothenburg
Semifinal two - February 11, 2017 - Malmö
Semifinal three - February 18, 2017 - Växjö
Semifinal four - February 25, 2017 - Skellefteå
Second Chance round - March 4, 2017 - Linköping
Final - March 11, 2017 - Stockholm

Monday, September 19, 2016

ESC 2016 IN STOCKHOLM AN AWARD WINNING ECONOMICAL SUCCESS

The Eurovision song contest 2016 didn't only win the Rose d'Or as the best entertaining programme beating other 400 programmes from 33 countries. Earlier it also won Kristallen award aka the Swedish Emmy as the best entertainment show on tv. 
It has been also an economical success for the city of  Stockholm. The event's turnover ended at 263 million (27,5 million euros), the money visitors spent in hotels, food and entertainment. "We had high expectations investing 100 million (10,5 million euros) and we wanted results. They were achieved", says the City of Stockholm's Karin Wanngård.
Among other things they invested on the "city dressing" or decorating the city in the Eurovision theme. An example of this was the crossings that played the winning songs "Euphoria" and "Heroes." Something that was appreciated by the fans.
Awards and money but also the public opinion was a success: Eight out of ten visitors gave Stockholm honors as the host city and seven out of ten Stockholmers were pleased that the event was held in their hometown.
Now that's a kind of success that is hard to follow up..... Hello, Kyiv?

NEW RELEASES FROM MÅNS ZELMERLÖW, MARIJA SERIFOVIC, MARKUS RIVA AND SEREBRO

Eurovision winners, participants and wannabes have been busy releasing new songs and videos all over Europe and here are the latest from Måns Zelmerlöw who continues with the middle of the road pop tunes, Marija Serifovic who once again shows what a wonderful voice she has, Markus Riva turns into Russian market where Serebro reigns with a melancholy slow tempo one at the moment...... Enjoy!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

ITALY: EMMA STANDS UP FOR LBGT RIGHTS. AGAIN

It seems Emma has a mission on her recently started Adesso Tour. Recently she has often stood up for gay rights in her concerts and in television. She was proudly waving the rainbow flag in her concert declaring "as far as I can remember not even almighty God has judged gay people. They are not taking anything away from others. All they do is give love to others".  Meanwhile the audience has colored the venue in rainbow colors with their support. She has also asked her fans to send photos from her concerts to her and most likely some initiative will be created from all that....
And she continued the speech in a popular tv talk show "it's time to wake up, it's 2016. Everybody must have the same rights. Love is equal in every form, there is not any kind of love that is better than some other kind. 

Thursday, September 15, 2016

ESC 2017: ROUND UP WHAT'S BEEN GOING ON AROUND EUROPE

The Eurovision 2017 season has been officially open for two weeks now and some countries have already closed their submissions and started working on the material, like Finland where YLE is once again keeping quiet about the number of entries and all the rest. The artists will be notified their fate by the end of October and most probably the rest of us will know the selected ones only in January. 
In Denmark the Eurovision fever is high despite failing to make the final this year and even their entrant Lighthouse X is also history as they broke up earlier this summer. A total of 1.115 entries were submitted, a new record.
France is looking for a new Amir, aka following this year's successful format of finding an artist and a song that could be a hit already before we know it's the one for the Eurovision. 
Submissions are open in Estonia and sadly they are opening up for non-native authors so that's where all the Melodifestivalen rejects will end up. Luckily they have kept the rule we have in order in Finland, some of the writing and performing team must be Estonian though. 
Norway is set again with a ten song final one night only affair, but the international juries are back to help them in the job - maybe after Agnete's failure. Curiously NRK has used the international juries only twice before, namely in 1985 and 1995 and we all know how that ended....  :-)
Sweden has already the first artist selected for the Melodifestivalen semifinals: Les Gordons. They were voted the winner at Svensktoppen Nästa.
Spain is once again full of rumors. The main focus is on Ruth Lorenzo making a comeback, as she promised back in 2014, but some other candidates have put themselves out there, like Lorena Gómez.
In the Netherlands the ex-Junior Eurovision participants and The Voice of Holland winners O'G3NE are eager to do it next year, but still haven't received a call from AVROTROS.....
Germany is also turning back to a winning formula, and having a winner involved. Lena will be one of the judges at Unser Song 2017. Applications are open for "young artists" and five of them will make the final, where they will get songs penned by true international hitmakers. Anything to stop the three last places in a row hat trick I guess.....
Czech Republic is also back after they made the final for the very first time this year, and once again will go with an internal choice. 
The host country Ukraine will repeat this year's successful selection process, and the reigning Eurovision queen Jamala will be one of the judges.




Tuesday, September 13, 2016

ENCORE UN SOIR, CELINE DION IS BACK

Eurovision song contest 1988 winner Celine Dion is back big time. And staying close to her late husband for a long time it's a new era for Celine now and she has released a new French album, that will be followed by a new English album soon enough. And as usual she's as popular as ever as the both the album and same titled single made it to #1 in France and many other French speaking territories. Encore un soir is written by by Jean-Jacques Goldman, who is a guarantee, but sadly he has not provided other songs to the project. Celine and her team have went for some new songwriters for her this time.
Curiously this album also includes a remastered version of Celine's 1984 release Trois heures vingt. This was one of her late husband's favorites and was played at his funeral, exactly at 3.20pm as the start of the ceremony. 
The other side (and voice, funny how she sounds so different in English) is presented in Recovering, the first officially released track from the forthcoming English album.


Monday, September 12, 2016

MALTA: CHIARA AND LUDWIG SHINE AT QORMI WINE FESTIVAL, WITH EYE IN KIEV

I had a pleasure to visit Qormi wine festival and spend a fabulous night. The food was great, the music was great, the wine was great.... and the people were amazing. In between enjoying the music by a duo Gianni & Papps first, and then by Spiteri Lucas Band with singers Kaya, Neville Refalo, Ivan and Eurovision veterans Ludwig Galea and Chiara taking leads (on again.... off again so to speak) and supporting each other through rock and pop classics to today's hits. 
Highly entertaining evening in every sense of the word. I was lucky enough to have a chat with Chiara and greet also Ludwig, who I saw last in Istanbul 2004. Chiara turned out to be the most lovable and wonderful person - check out the video of Grande amore below to see her blowing kisses just for you! 
 
She also sung her very own Angel, but also Euphoria and Waterloo, Dancing queen.... Sadly by dear old Lumia decided not to cooperate at that point anymore :-( But after the jump you can see her do hits like When love takes over, Love me like you do, Fireworks and All about that bass. And yes, Chiara might be at it again to better her 2nd place in Kiev 2005 in Kiev 2017..... Wait and see :-)
 

ESC 2017: BACK TO KYIV, FINAL ON MAY 13

The open selection process that was ment to be something new and exciting and turned out to be a near farce is over. Kyiv has been announced as the host city. At this point it is worth remembering this was the first time the bidding and selection process was this open, an initiative by NTU. 
I suppose someone is now feeling sorry and probably we won't see this much openness in the future. Speculating fans can se such annoying thing at times.... This said, NTU should also have a long look at the mirror and process what went wrong with false starts, promised dates and all the rest. Instead of an exciting weeks to follow the selection process we got... well, a bit of a farce that made some even doubt if they can handle it at all.
But if things went like the previous years, we would have only gotten the bids without too much information at the start, and then one day the chosen one and that's it. No hard feelings, no useless rumors, no misinformation, failed promises and deadlines and lost belief by fans to the whole affair.
Out of all this comes also the curious rumour that it seems that EBU preferred and wanted Odessa, but the politics inside Ukraine and those in power forced the contest to Kyiv. That could (or could not) play also some minor role in the forthcoming preparations between NTU and EBU. Or rather EBU and Ukraine. All of this of course denied by the politicians in question and it as all fair game.
The venue will be IEC (International Exhibition Center) with a capacity of 11.000 as stated by EBU. Some other sources mention anything between 10.000 and 14.000. The IEC will also have the press center, dressing rooms and delegations lounge and all necessary backstage areas. EuroClub and Eurovision Village will be most probably elsewhere, on the other side of the river.
The dates remain May 9 and 11 for the semifinals and May 13 for the final. The tickets should go on sale by the end of the year.
The broadcasters have until mid September to formally inform EBU about their intentions, and the list of the participating countries will be announced by EBU before the end of the year. The allocation draw for the semifinals takes place in the end of January. So far 24 countries have confirmed their presence, among them Portugal that returns, and one can expect all Big5 countries to be present as well. And it's pretty clear Australia will be in again as they are also taking part in the JESC. So that's already 30. 
It's good to know EBU has taken the Ukrainian spelling of Kyiv in use so if in 2005 we were in Kiev, in 2017 we are in Kyiv. 

MALTA: THE TRAVELLERS - AFTER A SUCCESSFUL YEAR ... EUROVISION?

The Travellers have had an excellent and successful year 2016. They released their debut EP and all three singles of it made to number one in Maltese charts, the title track holding the position for seven consecutive weeks this summer. Just these past days they played their last gigs for the summer that couldn't have been more different from each other: on Saturday night one of the headliners at the sold out Rockestra charity event with the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra in the MFCC, and then tonight an acoustic concert in their home island of Gozo.
This blogger had the pleasure of meeting Clayton despite their busy schedule last week and told they are heading back to studio and writing new songs to be released next year. A question pops up spontaneously: What about Eurovision? The answer is a cheeky grin and a vague "not in our plans". For the moment at least. One can live in hope :-) Judging some comments online here and there I'm not the only one thinking they would be awesome, and it's about the time to have some Maltese back in the contest!
Meanwhile I keep playing their excellent EP and enjoy the sound and music. Great stuff, people. (If you want a copy, you can contact them through their Facebook) or get it from iTunes

Sunday, September 11, 2016

MALTA MUSIC: WINTER MOODS ft. JOSEPH CALLEJA - MISS YOU

 
 
To anticipate my last day of holidays in Malta here's Miss you. I am sure I miss Malta already. Winter Moods have been around for over 30 years and has broken a few records on the way. Like the number of public for a concert by a Maltese band (10.000). And forget various Iras and Chiaras. The biggest international Maltese star is tenor Joseph Calleja. He has a habit of hosting an annual concert in Malta and inviting most everyone that matters to duet with him from Gianluca Bezzina to Federica Falzon. Check his Youtube out for more. But meanwhile enjoy this outstanding rock ballad....

Saturday, September 10, 2016

MALTA MUSIC: FEDERICA - MAMA

 
Federica topped the maltese charts last summer with Human and is now back with Mama. She's now based in London, but keeps close to Malta as you can see from the beautiful video. This blogger loves the song's atmosphere!

Friday, September 09, 2016

MALTA MUSIC: HAZYL - HUSH NOW

I know nothing about Hazyl but the band's latest Hush now is fabulous pop rock song. Sticks into your mind like a glue... And love Debbie Stivala's voice! Hush now and listen!

MALTA MUSIC: WATERWINGS - POWERLESS

WaterWings has been around a few years and are enjoying a top-10 hit on the island this summer with Powerless, that is very catchy earworm indeed. This follows Flesh, bones & spirits, another excellent track, but their breakthrough came with Steal the crown.

Thursday, September 08, 2016

MALTA MUSIC: CLAUDIA FANIELLO - MILES AWAY

Claudia Faniello, one of the finest voices in Malta. Often compared to Ira Losco and known as Fabrizio's little sister but she has proven in the past ten years she's a star of her own right. She may have taken part in the Maltese Eurovision selection with 8 songs between 2006-2012 but not winning  (yet...), She came second with Caravaggio and Pure though. Miles away is a lovely pop tune with a hint of country. Check out also her latest video and self written song  You said

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