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Charlotte Perrelli                                                            December 2013

In the last 15 years she is the only artist than managed to win Melodifestivalen twice. With an artistic path that goes beyond solo performances and recording releases, Charlotte Perrelli is also a solid name in musicals and TV shows. Because we are already in December and December means Christmas and Charlotte knows it really well releasing “Min Barndoms Jul”, in the next 4 weeks we will be taken to this Swedish hero’s heaven through the section “Artist of the Month”.

Part I - From Dansbands to European Glory

Like the majority of the big artists, even those who reach the stardom relatively early, there is always an artistic background, professional or amateur, that helps them to get prepared to take the big step. Charlotte Perrelli (or Charlotte Nilsson as she was known in 1999) is not an exception. Dansbands were her school, especially Anders Engbergs and Wizex, allowing her to gain not just stage experience but also recording activities. The latter band, Wizex, is particular important for her Eurovision fans since it was the band Charlotte was with when she was invited to take part as a solo artist in the Melodifestivalen 1999.

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Charlotte left Wizex shortly after her Eurovision triumph but they remain active until nowadays. Throughout their several line-ups we can find out another Eurovision name as a former lead vocalist, Kikki Danielsson, who represented Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest 1982 as part of the Chips.

1999 was not just another Eurovision year for Sweden. In 1999 the world was commemorating ABBA's 25th Anniversary of winning the Eurovision Song Contest with "Waterloo", a quarter of century since the biggest Eurovision act won the competition. Besides that the Universal record company was ready to revival the ABBA fever through the re-edition of ABBA Gold, so probably a song that could remind of ABBA would be a good bet…. and in fact it was.

On 27 February 1999 Charlotte Nilsson defended the ABBA inspired track "Tusen och en natt" competing against 9 other names including 3 former Swedish representatives, more precisely the Swedish representatives of 1992 (Christer Björkman), 1993 (Arvingarna) and 1994 (Roger Pontare, who did it again in 2000) and won the competition with 217 points.

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For Eurovision the Swedish team decided to seize the rule of free language and presented in Israel the English version of the song entitled “Take Me to your Heaven”.

When Charlotte arrived in Israel, the original version of “Take me to Your Heaven” was already an absolute smash radio hit in her home country and her song was ranked high as a big favorite to win the European contest. She competed in fifteenth position in the line-up with 5 strong backing vocalists including Gabriel Forss who represented Sweden at the ESC 97 as part of Blond and Anna Sahlene who would represent Estonia 3 years later in Tallinn.

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When the voting part started it was a real duel between Sweden and Iceland but in the end Charlotte Nilsson was a clear winner, being “Take me to your Heaven” voted by all countries but Croatia (no other country managed that) and also, together with Germany, the Swedish song was the entry with more sets of 12 points, 5 to be more precise. It was almost a perfect winning night for Charlotte apart from the fact that she didn’t grab her prize because of Dana International’s fall.

On 21 June 1999 “Take me to Your Heaven” was internationally released as a single and did quite well in some countries peaking at #2 in Sweden, #10 in Norway, #20 in the United Kingdom, #23 in the Netherlands and #5 in Flanders (Belgium). When it comes to the English charts it is curious to note that after Charlotte Nilsson the Eurovision world had to wait 10 years to see again a winning song in the top 20 of the UK single charts.

And then, what was next? Below you can see a video of Charlotte Nilsson giving an interview, not that long after her victory, where she speaks about her (then) future plans following “Take me to Your Heaven”. Besides you can see why she preferred to end up at number 7 or 15 but never at number 2.

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Did her plans develop as she wished?

 

Part II -  international pop and national jazz

June 1999, the Eurovision was over and while the team behind her was trying to take all the advantages of the recent victory embarking in  a really busy promotion in Europe (especially where “Take me to your Heaven” was doing well) and Asia, Charlotte was at the same time putting the final touches on her awaited debut solo album.

The first glimpse of it came with the single “I write you a love song” which can be seen as a safe bet as it’s arrangements were not that far from her Eurovision winning track. Because of that and also because the follow-up was not as strong as it’s predecessor, a modest #32 on the Swedish Charts was all the song managed against the #2 of “Take me to Your Heaven” and a lot of international charting.

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However and still snatching the huge interest around Charlotte because of the Eurovision winning, Stockhouse Records drank in the last chance saloon and released the debut album of the 4th Swedish winner, simply named “Charlotte”, in September 1999 to solid commercial success in Sweden reaching the number 3 on the official album charts. 2000 was a relatively quiet year for Charlotte, at least in terms of new recordings. Promotion tours for the 1st album and preparations for the follow-up took most of the time.

Working once again with Stockhouse Records, the record label realized that you cannot step twice into the same river so “Miss Jealousy”, the second album, which was released in 2001, represented a brave departure from her previous sound. Produced by Johan Åberg and Paul Rein who were huge because of their work with international stars, the sound of the new album was in the same line as the works of Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera or even Backstreet Boys and Steps of that time.

Even the image of Charlotte was changed into a really modern but truly sophisticated young woman. It also seems that her record company was determined to make Charlotte the next big Swedish Superstar so a huge promotion tour was scheduled which took Charlotte to a lot of countries for the 1st time, like Portugal, where her album received massive airplay.

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Although the huge promotion and the great airplay in a lot of countries, “Miss Jealousy” failed to make an impact on the charts, even in Sweden, where it peaked at a modest #32, being so far the least successful album of Charlotte Perrelli.

The following two years were pretty new and hectic both in the artistic field and in the personal side. Her 1st marriage took her to adopt a new surname, Perrelli and her first son born in 2004 and a second one born in 2005 are probably some of the reasons that led her to concentrate her career mainly in her home country.

In the artistic side her career met new heights. In 2003 she hosted the 1st semifinal of Melodifestivalen 2003. She was extremely successful in this new job that in the following year she was invited to host the entire show along with Peter Settman and Ola Lindholm. Her TV adventures didn’t end up here and hosting a talent TV-show for kids was her new challenge.

In the meantime she performed in the evergreen “Jesus Christ Superstar”. All those different artistic experiences explain her 3 years absence from the recording industry. Her 3rd album came in 2004 under the name “Gone Too Long” resulting in her 1st top 10 single since “Take me to your Heaven”, “Broken Heart”, making #7 in the Swedish Charts. Also the new record has done much better than her previous album, reaching #11 on the Swedish Charts.

One of the highlights of the new album was the cover version of “What a Feeling”.

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After the new album, more diversified experiences were on the way namely the Rhapsody In Rock-tour in mid-2004, although a bigger surprise was yet to come. In 2006, Charllote Perrelli released her new album, “I din röst” (#29 in Sweden), a tribute album to the jazz Swedish singer, Monica Zetterlund.

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Part III: 2nd try, 2nd victory… in Sweden

By 2007 Charlotte Perrelli was one of the most famous performers in Sweden with a recognized talent in several areas of show business. However it was time to give an extra boost to her recording career and what other better way to do that than entering a song in the Melodifestivalen?

Nevertheless there was a huge difference between the Melodifestivalen 1999 and 2008. The only one night show had been substituted for 6 nights, 4 semi-finals, plus one more semi-final under the name Andra Chansen and the Big Final. Besides that she had to face a lot of strong local names like E-Type; The Poodles, Amy Diamond, Ola, Sanna Nielsen, BWO, Linda Bengtzing, just to name a few. Though the big name and the big favorite to win the whole competition was Carola who joined forces with Andreas Johnson to perform “One Love” at the second semi-final.feUcA-8IiP4

However the rare situation of having two former Eurovision winners competing against each other in order to represent the country for which they had already won came fast to an end, sooner than it was expected, by the relegation of “One Love” to the “Andra Chansen”.

Charlotte Perreli performed “Hero” at the 4th semi-final receiving in the first round 98 666 (more than any other of the 31 songs) and in the second round 137 738 (and again another record). Therefore her passage to the final was easy and Charlotte was the big favorite to raise the Swedish flag in Belgrade. Just like 1999 she opened the Big Swedish night, this time at the Globe Arena in Stockholm to a very enthusiastic audience. FoMjCubWM9k

“Hero” received top marks from 7 out of the 11 juries and came second with the televote which made Charlotte Perrelli the big winner of Melodifestivalen 2008, her second victory, almost 10 years after “Take me to Your Heaven.” The promotion of the song started in Sweden with the release of the single.

“Hero” was released on 12 March 2008 debuting at #1 on the Swedish singles chart, staying on top for 5 consecutive weeks, selling platinum and becoming her biggest commercial hit to date in Sweden. Then it was time to focus on the international promotion and flights to 17 countries were booked along with the release of the official video for “Hero”.

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One month after Melodifestivalen the new album, also named after the single, was released by Universal Music. The album was an instant hit, selling platinum on it’s first week, debuting and peaking at #3 on the Swedish albums chart.

When the rehearsals weeks started in Belgrade, Charlotte Perrelli was a big favorite and appointed by many as the first female artist that would make a double victory at the Eurovision Song Contest. “Hero” was also the winner of the OGAE’s voting poll which was opened allowing members from different clubs around the world to predict the winner. Thus is seemed that the future would be bright for Charlotte. How did Charlotte Perrelli lived the days before the contest? Below you can watch an interview about that with Charlotte made by the official channel of the Eurovision Song Contest. 7kYKd43UFNw

Sweden was allocated at the second semi-final performing second. She made to the finals although she placed 12th and not in the top 10. That happened thanks to the (then) new jury’s rule.

In the final, which was held on 22 May 2008, Charlotte competed as number 15, the same that she had in 1999 but she finished 17 places lower with just 47 points. However and just like 1999 she received the 12 points from Malta.

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After Eurovision and despite the disillusionment “Hero” charted in  Finland, Denmark, Norway and Switzerland and the album was released in the USA and China.

 

Part IV: Abums, Musicals, tours, Books and Beauty Line.

Charlottes’ disappointing result in Belgrade didn’t have any negative effect on her career. Actually, and just like it was previously reported, after the Eurovision fever the “Hero” album was released in USA and China, making Charlotte one of the most well successful Eurovision artists of 2008 (probably the most, we say).

In the summer of 2008 she joined forces with the Swedish pianist, composer and singer Robert Wells, embarking on a tour supporting his signature project, “Rhapsody in Rock” which includes rock numbers, classical pieces and boogie-woogie beats.

This tour was particularly massive and the show was taken beyond the Swedish borders, more precisely, it took them to China as Wells's music was chosen as the official television theme music for the 2008 Olympic games in Beijing. Below you can watch and listen to “Hero” completely live… in China.

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2008 proved to be an extremely eclectic year for Charlotte: melodifestivalen, promotional tour around 17 countries, Eurovision, “Rhapsody in Rock” and to finish the year one more new album, this time a seasonal one, her first Christmas record, “Rimfrostjul”, released on 10 November 2008.

“Rimfrostjul” was sumptuous and included Swedish versions of eternal Christmas songs performed by the Malmö Symphony Orchestra and the Lund Student Singers. The album stayed on the charts for 6 weeks debuting and peaking at #12. In “Rimfrostjul” it is possible to hear Swedish and symphonic versions of “Let it snow”, “Little Drummer Boy”, among other timeless classics. We choose her version of “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)”, “Låt Julen Förkunna”.

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2009 saw Charlotte Perrelli returning to TV as a judge on the third series of “Talang”, “Talang 2009” (the Swedish version of “Got Talent”) and a string of summer shows were followed, not forgetting the Christmas tour at the end of the year.

In 2010 it was released the single “Mitt livs gemal” in duet with Magnus Carlsson in order to celebrate the Swedish Royal Wedding. Also in 2010 she released  her first fitness book titled “Kan du Kan jag”. According to Charlotte’s website, the book is written with Charlotte's Personal Trainer , Jesper Björck. The paperback consists of about 50 exercises divided into two levels of muscle groups legs , torso , back / shoulders and chest / arms .

In 2011 Perrelli was invited to take apart at the new edition of “Talang”. In the summer she toured with Diggiloo for the 2nd time, along with other famous Swedish Artists, like Jessica Andersson.

However 2012 was a bigger year for her Eurovision fans as she tried to represent Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest for the third time, this time with “The Girl”.

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Despite the great performance she came 5th in the 4th semifinal of the competition, preventing her from representing Sweden for the 3rd time at the Eurovision. Little after the competition, her new album, “The Girl”, was released (#7 on the Swedish charts), being reviewed by Eurovision on Top stating that “The Girl” is what we can call Power Pop, awarding it 4 starts out of 5. You can read the full article here http://www.eurovisionontop.com/albumreviewsarchive.htm

Along with the album her beauty line was commercialized trough a fragrance appropriately named “The Girl” and the second training book is also released.

When it comes to music she toured again with Diggiloo in the summer and one of her biggest dreams was about to become reality, Charlotte was invited to play Eva Peron' in the musical “Evita” at the Malmö Opera, to tremendous success.

2013 means another great year for Charlotte Perrelli. The Eurovision winner is known for being a hard worker and even her pregnancy didn’t stop her from touring with Diggiloo again (for the 4th year) until a few days were left for the born of her baby.

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2013 comes to end with a new Christmas album, “Min Barndoms Jul” (My Childhood Christmas) together with a big Christmas tour all around Sweden.

 

God Jul, Merry Christmas!

Carlos do Carmo                                                            November 2013

Carlos do Carmo, the Portuguese representative in the Eurovision Song Contest 1976, is such an emblematic Fado singer that, at times, the history of the interpreter is intertwined with the history of Fado itself. Carlos do Carmo, who is celebrating his 50th anniversary as an artist, is an integral part of the history of Portuguese music with sold out concerts across numerous continents. A new album, "Fado é Amor", featuring 11 duets, was released on November 4, 2013 to huge critical acclaim. All this justifies our tribute to Carlos do Carmo which will be extended over the next four weeks under the section "Artist of the Month".

Part 1 - Before Eurovision

If in a common sense Fado is used as a reference to destiny or fate, we take the same words in a reversal order to illustrate the artistic trail of Carlos do Carmo: since he was born, the fate and the destiny of Carlos do Carmo was Fado.

Son of a well-regarded Fado singer (Lúcia do Carmo) and of a Fado House owner, Alfredo de Almeida, Carlos do Carmo was since his childhood always surrounded by great intellectuals and artists from the Portuguese capital.

However  his entrance in a music business came by the hand of some friends who in 1963 invited Carlos to be part of their EP entitled  "Mario Simões e o seu Quarteto Apresentando Carlos do Carmo".

His proper solo release came one year later and until his first full-length album a string of singles and EPS were released between 1964 and 1968, all of them coming out under emblematic record companies, like the Portuguese label Alvorada. Actually it’s Alvorada that releases his debut album, “O Fado de Carlos do Carmo” in 1969.

One year later, in 1970, Carlos do Carmo released his self-titled album, containing many cornerstones of Fado. The status of the album is really evident by the numerous re-releases through the years, being the most recent one a brand new edition by Universal in our current year 2013.

One of the Fados included on “Carlos do Carmo” was the ever green, “Gaivota”.

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Two years after his self-titled album, “Canoas do Tejo” is released, originally called “Carlos do Carmo com a Orquestra de Jorge Costa Pinto”. “Canoas do Tejo” is another hymn to Lisbon and one more critical and commercial success. The re-editions last for over 4 decades, being the last one from the current year 2013.

After “Canoas do Tejo” and before gracing the Eurovision stage a couple of more significant albums were followed such as “Por morrer uma Andorinha” in 1973.

Right before the European Contest, Carlos do Carmo offers “Pedra Filosofal” in 1975. Composed and originally performed by Manuel Freire “Pedra Filosofal” is a poem by António Gedão and is regarded by many Portuguese people as one of the most beautiful and significant songs ever composed with a deep and polysemous meaning.e7aDSEw_GMo

 

Part II: At the Eurovision Song Contest

Back in 1976 the Portuguese selection for the Eurovision Song Contest (commonly known as Festival RTP da Canção, although some other designations were given the show over the years) was an extremely significant musical event where the best lyricists, composers and singers used that platform as a showcase to their new creations.

In 1976, the RTP decided to use an internal selection and a new name for the national contest, “Uma Canção para a Europa” (in English, A Song for Europe) which was held on 22 February 1976. However and despite this novelty in the Portuguese selection, RTP didn’t forget the magnitude of the show, thus a popular and respected artist was chosen to defend the 8 songs previously elected by a professional jury. The selected singer was none other than Carlos do Carmo.

Among the 8 songs performed at “Uma Canção para a Europa” some of them went on to become big classics of the Portuguese Music, like what happened to “No Teu Poema”, the song that came 3rd at “Uma Canção para a Europa”, receiving cover versions throughout 5 decades.

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Despite some critics that were against an internal selection, seeing this method as a way to prevent other artists from having a chance to grace the Eurovision stage, it was a shared opinion that the songs defended by Carlos do Carmo meet high standards of quality and an album featuring the 8 songs was followed. 

Appropriately titled “Uma Canção para a Europa” this album, like the majority of Carmo’s discography, has seen numerous re-editions, being the last one released on 1 July 2013.

The winning song was “Uma Flor de Verde Pinho” with 25,25% of the votes. Therefore it was the Portuguese entry at the Eurovision Song Contest 1976  hosted by NOS and held in The Hague, Netherlands.

 

“Flor de Verde Pinho” was performed into position 15 out of the 18 participating countries.

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At the close of the voting the song had received 24 points, placing 12th out of 18 competing countries, a slight improvement from the previous year. Out of the 24 points, 12 came from France, marking the first time that Portugal received 12 points from that country, something that took 23 years to be repeated. Actually, after the French 12 points, Portugal had to wait 18 years, until 1993, to hear again “Portugal 12 points”.

Part III: National prizes and international acclaim

The moderate success achieved by Carlos do Carmo at the ESC didn’t have the minimum negative effect on his continues ascendant career. In fact just one year after Hague, the Portuguese representative released what is widely regarded as one of the most important Fado albums of all times, “Um Homem na Cidade”. Actually the web portal “O Museu do Fado” (Museum of Fado) praises the record extensively, standing out the poems by Ary dos Santos and the  innovative musical compositions by José Luís Tinoco, Paulo de Carvalho (ESC 74), António Vitorino de Almeida, Frederico de Brito, Fernando Tordo (ESC 73), among others.

Songs like “Um Homem na Cidade”, “O Cacilheiro”, “Fado do Campo Grande”, “O Amarelo da Carris” ou “O Homem das Castanhas” went on to become real classics not just for Carlos do Carmo but also for the Portuguese Music.

Below you can hear and watch a live performance of “Um Homem na Cidade” recorded in the XXI century.

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During the 70’s Carlos do Carmo had an intensive recording activity and although the then current decade was coming to an end, more two albums came out, “Carlos do Carmo com Guitarras” and “Dez Fados Vividos”, both from 1978.

Also in 1978 the evergreen “Os Putos” had an individual release.

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The 80’s arrived and the reputation of Carlos do Carlos was ready to take new heights.  In 1980 the artist graces the Olympia Music Hall in Paris on two consecutive nights (11th and 12th of October).

Two years later, another emblematic European Concert Hall received Carlos do Carmo, this time, the former Opera House in Frankfurt, the Alte Opera.

The international concerts were massively well received and live albums from both shows came out in 1980 and in 1982, “Ao vivo no Olympia / Live at the Olympia / En Public a l’Olympia” and “Live Alte Oper Frankfurt”, respectively.

In reality we can assert that the 80’s were the decade of prizes and recognitions for Carlos do Carmo.

If in the first half of the 80’s more prizes were on their way, the 2nd part of the same decade witnessed the artist embarking in international tours that took him to USA, Brazil and a lot of European countries.

Out of the original recordings of the 80’s “Um Homem no País” (1983) stands out, not just because of it’s content but also because it is the first record released on cd by a Portuguese Artists.

When it comes to recording releases, besides some compilations, including “O Melhor de Carmo” (1993) released by  Reader’s Digest Selections, Carlos do Carmo released a couple of new recordings, “Que se Fez Homem de Cantar” (1990) and “Margens” (1996).

The 90’s also marks some collaborations with remarkable artists like what happened with Pedro Abrunhosa on “Manhã” taken from the album “Tempo”, an album that reached the number 1 in Portugal embracing 4 times platinum.

The decade ends up with the celebration of his 35 years dedicated to the artistic life with a big concert  at CCB (Portugal) released on CD and DVD under the name “Ao vivo no CCB - Os Sucessos de 35 Anos de Carreira”.

Part IV: the celebration of a 50 year career

The new millennium for Carlos do Carmo is synonymous of new studio albums, live records, several public recognitions, the celebrations of his 40 and 50 years devoted to his art and the never-ending love of the Portuguese people for him.

In the field of original recordings, the first offering came in 2002 with the release of “Nove Fados e Uma Canção de Amor” (“Nine Fados and one love song). The record is regarded by Disco Digital as a very strong, very well designed and above all a really Portuguese album. We add to that description that is also a familiar album, because “Nove Fados e Uma Canção de Amor” has a hidden track “Casa do Fado/ Maria Madalena” performed by his mother and the Fado “Dois Portos” was written and composed by his son, Gil do Carmo. The rest of the record has important names in the writing credits such as Mário Sá Carneiro, Fernando Tordo (ESC 73) and Paulo de Carvalho (ESC 74).

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The following year is a very special period for his career, as in 2003 Carlos do Carmo celebrated his 40 year career anniversary.

For posterity it was released on CD and DVD his performance at the emblematic Concert Hall in Lisbon, Coliseu dos Recreios. Released in June 2004, the live cd peaked at #13 on the Portuguese album charts. Taken from that show, below you can watch a performance of “Lisboa Menina e Moça”, one of his timeless hits known by whole Portugal.

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However the live released was just a drop in the ocean on the celebration of his 40 year career. Between 2003 and 2008 many public honors were given to Carlos do Carmo. For instance, in 2003 he won the prize José Afonso, awarded by the Municipality of Amadora. He was also awarded the Golden Globe Award for Merit and Excellence as well as the Consecration Career Award by Sociedade Portuguesa de Autores (the Portuguese Society of Authors). Once more Museu do Fado (the Museum of Fado) recognized the importance of Carlos do Carmo and organized an exhibition entitled "Um Homem no Mundo" (“A man in the World”) which ran from 15 October 2003 to 15 February 2004.

Also in 2003 the book “Carlos do Carmo, do Fado e do Mundo”, a biographical interview by Viriato Teles was published.

In 2008 Carlos do Carmo won the Goya Award (Spain) for Best Original Song, with “Fado da Saudade” in 2008.

Two years later, in 2010, Carlos do Carmo suprised all of us by the release of “Carlos do Carmo & Bernado Sassetti”. In 2010 Carlos do Carmo joint forces with the young Portuguese Jazz Pianist and Film Composer Bernardo Sassetti (died on May 10, 2012) and recorded an entire album just accompanied by piano. The record was a massive success and reached the #2 on the Portuguese charts. fJuvZhtTtEE

In 2012 another joint album was released, this time with the international classical Portuguese pianist Maria João Pires. The self-titled album peaked #13 on the Portuguese Charts.

In 2013 Carlos is celebrating his 50 year career anniversary, through a new album “Fado é Amor” (“Fado is Love”).

The album was released on November 4, 2013 and features 11 duets with renewed and extremely successful young Fado singers (some of them with big international exposure)  such as Ana Moura, Carminho and Mariza, just to name a few, adding a special duet with his mother. The album received huge critical acclaim and was an instant hit debuting at #1 on the Portuguese album charts.

Now you can watch the first single taken from the new album, “Por morrer uma Andorinha”, in duet with Camané.LfoRAs26SSo

In order to celebrate the 50 years, on next November 30 and December 1 will be held at CCB two unique concerts with the Symphonic Portuguese Orchestra. Both shows are already sold out.

 

 

Carlos Carvalho

Ruslana                                                                           October 2013

Ruslana was never an ordinary artist. Actually her tremendously rich and miscellaneous musical background takes her to a level reached just by a few. Singer, songwriter, producer, musical conductor, pianist, dancer, voice actress and social activist, Eurovision winner, World Music Award winner, MTV Europe Music Award nominated artist, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in Ukraine besides being recognized as the most successful Ukrainian female solo artist internationally are just some of her public actions and achievements. In the fall of 2013 Ruslana releases her third English-language studio album, “My Boo (Together!)”, and we dedicate this month to Ruslana which will end with an exclusive interview.

Part I: before Eurovision

Ruslana’s success is not a stroke of luck but - consciously or not- a mix between a natural gift and extremely hard work since a very young age.

The attending at an experimental musical school (at the age of four) and a lot of different musical experiences in the subsequent years, including vocals in diverse music projects adding the entrance at the Lviv Conservatory  where she graduated as a classical pianist and symphonic orchestra conductor in 1995, allowed Ruslana to become the singer , songwriter, producer, musical productor, pianist, dancer, voice actress we all know.

Always acompained by Oleksandr Ksenofontov, her producer and husband since 1995, Ruslana was ready in the mid 90’s to conquer not just Ukraine but also the world.

In fact the first step into the professional career started in 1996 outside Ukraine when Ruslana became the fifth Ukrainian representative at the Slavianski Bazaar contest managing the third victory for her country at that song competition which takes place in Vitebsk, Belarus.

As a curiosity we point out that although many winners of the Slavianski Bazzar take part at the Eurovision some years after their victory (including Željko Joksimović and Toše Proeski, just to name a few), so far Ruslana remains the only Bazaar winner that also managed to win the Eurovision.

Below you can see Ruslana as a guest performer at the Slavianski Bazzar in 2008.

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Obviously her triumph took her to record her 1st awaited album but Ruslana made it with no hurries and we had to wait 2 years to see the born of “Myt Vesny – Dzvinkyi Viter”.

The album gained huge attention for it’s unique content and also for it’s videos, like “Svitanok”.

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In a snap Ruslana was more than an oridnary pop star and in 1999 she receives the awards for Person of the year”; Best song of the year (“Svitanok”) and Best video of the (“Svitanok”).

Also in 1999 Ruslana released a Christmas album “Ostannie rizdvo 90-kh”. Like everything Ruslana does we could not expect an conventional Christmas record and “Ostannie rizdvo 90-kh” is a result of her participation at the Christmas musical “Ostanne rizdvo 90th”. 

Meanwhile the video for “Znaju ya” is highly praised.

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In the 21st century and after some compilations, Ruslana releases in 2003 “Dyki Tantsi” breaking all records sales in Ukraine, but her dance was about to become even more wild.

 

Part 2 - At the Eurovision Song Contest

We introduced this month dedicated to Ruslana claiming that she was never an ordinary artist. When it comes to Eurovision this status is even reinforced. It is true that somehow in 2004 Ruslana maintained the trend of the 2 previous winners (Marie N and Sertab Erener) delivering a performance where the dance elements were too sturdy but the similarities start and end up right here.

In fact Ruslana not only participated in a year where big debuts were made in the contest itself but also Ruslana managed to achieve for the first time some feats that almost 10 years after remain unique. The contest in 2004 represents the first time in which the event was held in Turkey. It is also the year where a semi-final was introduced being also the first edition that won the right to have an official release on DVD, something that is preserved until 2013.6JBNNmuc5_M

For a unique edition, a unique winner, and in 2004 through “Wild Dances”

1)     Ruslana  brought for the first time the Eurovision victory to Ukraine (the only one to date);

2)     Ruslana became the first Slavianski Bazaar winner to win the Eurovision Song Contest (no other Slavianski’s winner managed that until 2013);

3)     Thanks to “Wild Dances” we heard for the first time ever “Ukraine 12 points”;

4)     “Wild Dances” is the first Eurovision winning song that came from a semi-final;

5)     “Wild Dances” is the first Eurovision winning song that without winning a semi-final managed to win the whole competition;

6)     Among all the Ukrainen entries, “Wild Dances” is the only one which was awarded with 12 points in a final by Estonia, Israel, Iceland, Lithuania, Russia and Turkey.

Also for the first time, in 2004, the Eurovision Song Contest gathered 3 former Slavianski Bazaar winners in just one edition: Ruslana (96), Željko Joksimović (99) and Toše Proeski (00). The three winners reached the final but the 8 top  marks, the 5 times 10 points plus 7 times 8 points given to “Wild Dances” made Ruslana a clear winner, beating with a comfortable margin other big favorites like Sakis Rouvas from Greece and Željko Joksimović from Serbia and Montenegro.10XR67NQcAc

 

In the booklet of the CD/DVD that celebrates the 50 years of the Eurovision Song Contest, released in 2005, it is possible to read that Ruslana “was a clear winner, and like all winners her determination to win was there from start”. 

We add to that note that Ruslana’s determination continued after Eurovision and “Wild Dances” was ready to have a life outside the contest charting in many countries around Europe, standing out the 10 weeks at number 1 in Belgium (Flanders), receiving gold records in a couple of countries, diamond certification in Ukraine, making Ruslana one of the most successful Eurovision winners of the 21st century.

But somehow this is just another beginning for something even bigger.

 

Part 3: from “Dance with the Wolves” to “Wild Energy”

The impact of “Wild Dances” went beyond a simple Eurovision Victory. “Wild Dances” was also the hope for a new Ukraine, a new Ukraine that just like the Eurovision entry, was a perfect harmony between traditional elements, a very own identity, but opened to a “Democratic Revolution”, the “Orange Revolution”.

Just in a song we had a new winning country at Eurovision, a new star in Europe being certified with gold in several countries, a new message of Democracy, a new meaning for Human Rights. Somehow with “Wild Dances” a historical contest was changed, a whole new country was born, all of this with no scandals, with no gimmick marketing, but all based in the power of music, in the supremacy of art, accompanied by a continuous wild dance.

In the in the meantime, far from Ukraine and with no direct reference to the Eurovision, the international achievements of Ruslana were riding high and on September 15, 2004 in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, the Eurovision Ukrainian winner received the award for World's Best-selling Artist/Ukraine at the 2004 World Music Awards.

With a first album in the international market - Wild Dances (album)-  now was time to present a new song to the world. The chosen track taken from the international debut was “Dance with the Wolves”.  The song and the video, in a metaphorical way, tried to picture the then current situation in Ukraine. According to the artist “the idea of our video will find its reflection in real life! There was a revolution in Ukraine. Wild is not aggressive. Wild is free. That was the main idea of the video and revolution proved it.”

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“Dance with the wolves” was a smash it Ukraine offering a second hit for Ruslana in countries such as Belgium (#19) and Greece (#25).

The year 2004 was coming to an end but more international achievements were yet to come, more precisely in Greece, including the awards for Best International Video at the MAD TV Video Music Awards  and the award for Best Selling International Single at the Arion Music Awards.

All these recognitions allowed “Wild Dances” to become one of the  most prizewinning Eurovision Songs at an international level and also, internationally, one of the most awarded Eurovision Videos ever. Below you can recall the laureate video.

QYqB1eyN8B4  A new year has come but “Wild Dances” (the album) had still more to be shown. So in March of 2005, “The Same Star” was released as a single to huge success in Ukraine and more comfortable success in countries where Ruslana became a major star like Belgium, Greece and Romania, for example. Although it was released an official video for  “The Same Star”, among the Eurovision fans  the song is better remembered for it’s performance at the Eurovision Song Contest 2005.  Actually Ruslana seized the contest that thanks to her was held in Ukraine to make the bridge between her present and musical future, since the Eurovision Contest 2005 also marks the debut of a new song that would make the tracklist of her upcoming album, “Heart on Fire”. p3CQUgl6xKA

Although the first glimpse of the new album was given in 2005 the final result just saw the light of the day in 2008.

However Ruslana didn’t stop and her collection of international awards kept raising with the triumphs for the “Most Loved International Singer” at the Romanian Most Loved Awards in 2005 and also in 2005 the award for Best European Singer at the Macedonia's The Best 13. In 2006 Ruslana receives the prize for Best Eurovision song ("Wild Dances") at the Grand Prix Hitliste (Germany), increasing her collection

The long awaited new album “Amazonka” (“Амазонка”) was finally released on 7 March 2008.

The reason for the long wait was mainly due to the complex and complete idea behind of the new record which set new artistic standards for Ruslana. “Amazonka” is based on the book “Wild Energy. Lana”, written by Maryna and Serhiy Dyachenko (both nominated for the best European fantasy writers in 2005). However this fantasy novel not just set the motto for the new album but the book itself was inspired by…. Ruslana, making a fascinating, innovative and complete arty circle.

“Dyka Enerhija” was the first song of the new project to be shown trough an official video.

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Since 2004 Ruslana is an international artist so it was natural that since the early stages of “Amazonka” (“Амазонка”) it was decided that an English version of the album would follow soon.

Released in September 2, 2008, “Wild Energy” was more than the international version of “Amazonka” (“Амазонка”). “Wild Energy”, recorded in The Hit Factory (Miami, Florida) and featuring guest appearances of T-Pain and of the five-time Grammy Award-winner, Missy Elliott, showed a new Ruslana’s musical facet, opened to modern urban influences, although maintaining her Ukrainian roots.

The album includes the English version of “Dyka Enerhija” (“Wild Energy”) but it was officially presented by the video "Moon of Dreams"(featuring T-Pain).

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As a way to conclude the third part of this month dedicated to Ruslana, we highlight one of the strongest tracks taken from “Wild Energy”, “Silent Angel”.

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Part 4 - This is Euphoria

After “Wild Energy” we had to wait 4 long years for a new full-length album. ЕЙ-форі-Я (EY-fori-YA) was released in April in Ruslana’s Homeland.

The album was supported by Eurovision on Top since the very first moment, so a review for ЕЙ-форі-Я (EY-fori-YA) was published in September 2012, being awarded with 4 stars (out of 5). In the review it is possible to read the following:

“(…) Ruslana's fans will love it. Who dislike her, will hate it and who will listen to Ruslana for the first time may have a good surprise (…) an Americanized touch on some of the tracks, especially in the first and fourth singles, Вау! (Vau!) and Мій Брат! "(Miya Brat), respectively, allows to give it a breath of fresh air and with the help of good videos through which those songs are visualized, Ruslana can win many new fans. Other highlights in this new album are Рахманінов (Rakhmaninov), a sort of cross between Euro-pop and classical music - interesting! -; Край (Kray), a composition of Serbian musician Goran Bregovich, and the track that gives the name to album, ЕЙ-форі-Я! (EY-fori-Ja!)” 

Full review of the album can be read at www.eurovisionontop.com/albumreviewsarchive

An impressive number of 6 singles (out of the 9 tracks included on ЕЙ-форі-Я) were released.

“Wow” was the first single and it was released prior to the album, back in April 2011. It’s video reached the #1 on our weekly chart, ending up at the 7th place on the EOT Annual chart 2011.QFEDBrgYbkM

"ShaLaLa" had also a prior release to the album. It peaked # 6 on the EOT TOP 20 and #60 on the Annual Chart 2011.

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"Davay, hray!" was the follow-up single to "ShaLaLa" and was the first one that failed to chart on the EOT TOP 20.lG81zG4o3Yc

"Miy brat" had the same destiny as "Davay, hray!" and became the second video of Ruslana to miss a place on the weekly EOT TOP 20.

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Things changed drastically when "EY-fori-Ya!" was released. It peaked #9 on the EOT TOP 20 and #88 on the Annual Chart 2012.

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However the best was yet to come and in early 2013 Ruslana reaches the number 1 on the weekly chart of Eurovision on Top with "Rachmaninov", staying on the charts for 15 weeks.

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In the second half of 2013 the English version of ЕЙ-форі-Я was released under the name “My Boo (Together!)” becoming the third English-language studio album of Ruslana.

“My Boo (Together!)” is being promoted through our current # 1 (her 3rd #1 overall)  “This is Euphoria”, the English version of "EY-fori-Ya!"

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Besides promoting the new album, the near future of Ruslana includes her as a celebrity coach on the show Clash of the Choirs. According to her facebook page, “On November, 10 the TV channel 1+1 launches a large-scale talent contest (…). The producers of the project promise to radically change the perception of Ukrainian choral singing and to prove that choirs are stylish, trendy and modern.” The coaches are all well-known  artists: Ruslana, Alessandro Safina, Vladimir Grishko, Oleg Skrypka, Iryna Bilyk, Zlata Ognevych, Garik Krychevskiy and Natalia Gordienko .

In the Eurovision field, and exactly 10 years after her smash victory, Ruslana will be a jury on Belgium’s Eurosong 2014. The show is set to be air in February and March of next year.

Note: to finalize this month dedicated to Ruslana, an exclusive interview with the Ukrainian star will be online very soon. Stay tuned!

Carlos Carvalho

Marc Roberts                                                               September 2013


 The breakthrough of Marc Roberts in 1997 came together with an enormous responsibility, the responsibility of representing the most famous country at the Eurovision in the 90’s, in home soil. Not only Marc did overcome that proof but “Mysterious Woman” was also the beginning of a career dedicated to his true love, the country music. Last month Marc Roberts released his 5th album “Now and Then” which quickly topped the iTunes Country charts. Throughout September we will have the chance to get to know a little bit better the career of Marc Roberts, through some reports, videos and an exclusive interview.

 

Part I: At the Eurovision Song Contest

Although Marc Roberts has always been involved with music his rise to fame didn't happen until March 9th 1997 when he entered the Irish selection for Eurovision with the classy “Mysterious Woman” giving a convincing performance which led him to win the right to represent Ireland in home soil.

Written and composed by John Farry “Mysterious Woman” managed to beat the other 7 bids including "Love and Understanding" by Gary O'Shaughnessy who though came third he’s no stranger for us since he was the Irish representative 4 years later in Copenhagen.

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The Eurovision Song Contest 1997 took place at the Point Theatre, Dublin, Ireland, on the 3rd of May, 1997. Marc Roberts performed 5th in the draw, receiving in the end 157 points, placing 2nd among 25 songs being overtaken just by UK.

Marc’s performance was an ultimate trial by fire passed with distinction. He was representing the most famous country in the 90’s at the Eurovision on home soil at a time when the country, during the week rehearsals, seemed to be divided in “is it better to win again or not win.”

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In the big night and during the whole voting “Mysterious Woman” was a success being inside the top 5 throughout the entire process, starting at the 3rd position with 8 points given by Cyprus.

When the Italian votes were cast (9th jury out the 25 to announce the votes) Ireland reached the 2nd place staying there until the end of the voting.

In total 12 countries expressed their wish to see Ireland in the top 3: Cyprus, Germany, Estonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Hungary awarded Ireland 8 points; Austria, Italy, Portugal, Sweden, Denmark and France gave Marc Roberts 10 points and the United Kingdom announced the famous 12 points to Ireland.

All countries but 3 (Greece, Malta and Iceland) voted for Ireland resulting as we said in the beginning in an outstanding 2nd place, maintaining the Irish title as the most successful country of that decade at Eurovision.

The Eurovision 1997 also marks the debut of the televoting which was tested in 5 countries: Austria, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Even with the televoting “Mysterious Woman” was a success being the most voted country (although we cannot forget that The United Kingdom could only score points from 4 of them, since they couldn't vote for themselves, while the Irish had in theory 5 countries voting for them).

After Marc Roberts, and at least until 2013, Ireland no longer managed to reach the top five, marking in minimum a long 16 years hiatus away from the desired top 5.

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Part II: the debut and the sophomore albums

The debut album, 1998: Given the success of Mysterious Woman the preparations for the debut album started in full speed.

Of course the record company has tried to seize the ride of the Eurovision success and although the self-titled debut album contains songs written and composed by Marc himself, the production of Chris O'Brien and Graham Murphy followed the same line as Mysterious Woman not showing the real Marc Roberts at all. The album came out in 1998 being presented by To Be Loved By You which was performed at the Eurosong 98.

1Nwe7eQquooAs we reported the album also showed 6 Mark’s compositions standing out Forever (Cross My Heart) receiving some public  exposure.

The sophomore record “Meet Me Half Way”, 2004: The debut album was released to critical acclaim but this didn’t stop Marc from chasing his big love, the country music.

Marc Roberts didn’t rush on a second album and first he wanted to show live the real Roberts. A tribute concert to John Denver (his big inspiration) was a massive success receiving not only critical acclaim but also huge commercial success, selling out the National Concert Hall, Dublin, Opera House and Cork.

In the meanwhile he started collaborating with Daniel O’ Donnell, writing and composing together, resulting in bestselling albums for Daniel reaching the top 20 in the Uk albums charts. So the 2nd album by Marc Roberts, appropriately titled Meet Me Half Way, was released in 2004 and besides a couple of cover songs originally performed by  John Denver,  Shanghai Breezes and Today, the album featured, obviously a country sound.

One of the highlights of the record was When I Found You written with Majella O'Donnell and which she sang to her husband Daniel O'Donnell on the day of their wedding. The track has become one of the most requested songs on Irish radios and very popular for weddings.

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Part III: The recognition in foreign territories and the loss for a puppet in home country.

Meet Me Halfway was a huge success not only in Ireland but also in distant territories from his home country like Australia & Tasmania. However the second album’s way to success was a solid one and not an instant smash. This explains the long time Marc Robert’s fans had to wait for a new recording. In the meantime the Irish singer wanted to recall us that he is a live artist so the live shows didn’t stop including highly appreciated Christmas concerts. In 2007 his 3rd, Once in Your Life, was released.

Out of the 12 tracks, 7 were written or co-written by Mark himself, including the title track which shares credits with non-other than Brian Kennedy. Besides the title track the album includes like the previous one John Denver’s covers but once more the song with biggest recognition was an original one composed by  Roberts himself, this time Don’t let the Sun Get in Your Eyes. 

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In 2008 Ireland was ready to conquer again the old Glory at the Eurovision and one of the hopefuls to manage that was the responsible for the last Irish top 5 for over a decade, Marc Roberts. Among the 6 candidates 2 names stood out: Marc Roberts and Dustin the Turkey, a popular children's show puppet that “sang” a song in which the turkey made fun of Eurovision, Irelande Douze Pointe. On February 23, 2008, the National Final was held and Marc Roberts lost to a puppet. Regarding the results excepting the winner it is unknown where the other five songs placed. Marc Roberts performed Chances, written and composed by himself. 

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Although he didn’t win, Chances ended up being the first glimpse for his forthcoming album which came out in 2010, The Promise. His 4th album continued the trend initiated with the 2nd record, showing the skills of Marc Roberts as a singer songwriter and once more we are able to find more Eurovision names, this time Everything I Ever Wanted by Marc Roberts and Charlie McGettigan. Although Roberts began his collaboration with Daniel O’Donnell long time before The Promise, we had to wait until his 4th album to listen to on a Marc’s album a moment of that joint work, Crush on You. 

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Part IV:  2013, a top spot year for Marc Roberts

The Promise, the album released in 2010, helped Marc to retain the title of a successful live performance, successful singer songwriter holding writing credits not only to his albums but also to other famous singers. Those facts increased his responsibility and after the Promise’s tour was finished Marc, as usual, didn’t rush to the studio but he already had clear ideas for what he wanted in a next offering, he wanted to return to his first love, the country music. It took three years to give his wish a definitive shape and Marc Roberts released his 5th studio album, 'Now & Then', on August 16th, 2013.

The album includes 11 new recordings adding 7 older ones, counting as no surprise 4 John Denver songs. “Now & Then” was an instant smash and quickly topped the iTunes Country charts. Below you can have a taste of this current Irish success.

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While busy promoting the new record Marc is also a presenter with ‘Galway Bay FM’. His shows 'The Feel Good Factor’ is on air every Saturday 12-3pm & Sundays 11:30-1:30pm.

His second TV series 'Opry an Íuir', where he is a presenter is due to be broadcast on TV both in Ireland & in the UK, very soon. 

To end this month dedicated to Marc Roberts we present you an exclusive interview with the Irish singer in which he tells us about his artistic road that started long before he saw a mysterious woman at an airport.  http://www.eurovisionontop.com/specials.htm

Jalisse                                                                               August 2013

It is true that the enigmas surrounding Jalisse, RAI and the Eurovision Song Contest seem to be a never-ending theory of conspiracy but Jalisse remain in our memories and in our hearts because of their music, more precisely because of the sophisticated and convincing performance of “Fiumi di Parole” in the ESC 1997, being for millions of Eurovision fans the song that should have won that year. In 2012 they started preparing their long-awaited comeback with the release of “Tra Rose e Cielo” and while we’re waiting for the new album the duo will visit Portugal next September headlining the “Eurovision Live Concert”. Definitely it will also be a symbolic visit since Portugal was the only country that gave Italy the famous 12 points in 1997.

 

Part I: before Eurovision

 

Alessandra and Fabio met each other in 1990 but it took 4 years until they decided to form Jalisse, writing and composing their own songs.

Jalisse started as a duo in 1994 although at that time the show business was already not a novelty for them. Alessandra Drusian had already gained some recognition prior to Jalisse through tv shows and Fabio Ricci even had recording releases as part of the band Vox Populi.

To promote themselves they decided to use a natural platform for the new Italian music artists, the mythical Festival della Canzone Italiana di Sanremo (the Sanremo Italian Song Festival) through the Giovani Section of 1995 presenting what would be their first single “Vivo”.

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Finishing third in the second night of the Sanremo Giovani 1995 they gained a passport for the Sanremo Festival of 1996 in the Newcomers section. In a field of 14 participants they came 6th with their second single, “Liberami”, but the best was yet to come.

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1997 is definitely the breakthrough year for Jalisse. Submitting “Fiumi di Parole” for the “Big Artists Section” of the Sanremo Festival, they had to face some really strong performers in the competition, including big names in the Eurovision world, for example the runner-up was Anna Oxa who represented Italy in the ESC 1989. But Toto Cutugno (winner of the ESC 1990), Fausto Leali (89) and Al Bano (76 & 85) were also among the competitors. As a curiosity, the Sanremo Festival 1997 had also a competing song that some months later would be an international hit, “Laura non c'è” by Nek. At the end of the show, Jalisse and “Fiumi di Parole” would be the winners with 15.325 votes.

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Not that long after their Italian victory they would be performing for whole Europe as “Fiumi di Parole” was the chosen song by RAI to represent Italy in the Eurovision Song Contest 1997 in Dublin. 

Part II - At the Eurovision Song Contest

The Eurovision Song Contest 1997 took place at the Point Theatre Dublin, Ireland, on 3 May 1997. Jalisse performed 9th in the draw, receiving in the end 114 points, placing 4th among 25 songs being overtaken just by UK, Ireland and Turkey.  This brilliant result came as no surprise since “Fiumi di Parole” was always a big favorite in the rehearsals week.

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In the big night and during the whole voting, “Fiumi di Parole” was a success being inside the top 10 throughout the entire process. It started at the 5th position with 6 points given by Cyprus but then it went slowly felling down. When the Slovenian votes were cast Italy started to rise and when it was the time for Italy announcing the votes, Jalisse were at the 2nd place just behind UK. 

In total 6 countries would like to see Jalisse in the top 3: Spain and Poland awarded Italy 8 points; Slovenia, Switzerland and Croatia gave Jalisse 10 points and Portugal announced the famous 12 points to Italy.  All countries but 4 (Norway, Estonia, Malta and Fr

ance) voted for Italy resulting as we said in the beginning in a superb 4th place. The Eurovision 1997 also marks the debut of the televoting which was tested in 5 countries: Austria, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Even with the televoting Jalisse was a success being the 5th most voted country.

The performance of Jalisse was the last Italian entry o

f the XX century as Italy decided to take a long hiatus from the Contest right after the show in Dublin. Subsequently we’ve had to wait 14 years to raise the Italian flag again.

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Part III - After Eurovision

 

After the Eurovision Song Contest 1997 Jalisse, hoping to capitalize their success in Dublin, started to promote their debut album “Il Cerchio Magico del Mondo”.

The album features the 3 Sanremo related songs (“Vivo”; “Liberami” and “Fiumi di Parole”) plus 7 new songs, releasing one more single, “Giorno di Festa”.

A distinctiveness of Jalisse is their high involvement with humanitarian causes. For example, their debut album was dedicated to the ethnic groups, especially to the Native Americans and the values ​​required for the respect of the world.

Nevertheless the album didn’t live up to expectations, Jalisse didn’t receive the support and the marketing needed to promote the album, they were rejected by the Sanremo selection 1998 and a lot of speculations started being spread and 14 years later many things remain unclear.

Nonetheless Jalisse didn’t give up and went on releasing some singles, supporting a lot causes, inspired and collaborating with a range of renewed writers. However the fans had to wait eight long years for a new album.

“Siedi E Ascolta” was released in 2005 and consisted in re-recordings of the 1st album adding a couple of new tracks. It also included a Spanish version of “Fiumi di Parole”, “Rios de Palabras”, written by Heriberto Noppeney who is better known for being a collaborator of Roberto Carlos.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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In 2008 Jalisse tried to come back to Eurovision through San Marino but without success. But once more this didn’t stop the Italian duo and live shows, new collaborations, and recognitions for their philanthropic work were followed.

In 2009 the Album / Book “Linguaggio Universale”" was released and again attached to humanitarian causes, this time supporting the education of African women under the project ““L'Istruzione chiave dello sviluppo” (“Education, the key to development") with lyrics inspired by Montalcini and written by Josephine Tripodi.

 

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Jalisse, part IV: 2010-present

 

Jalisse stared the second decade of this new millennium touring and promoting “Linguaggio Universale”.

In November 2012 the Italian duo released a new single accompanied by an official video to fan acclaim, “Tra Rose e Cielo”. This new single was the first glimpse of their forthcoming album which is expected to be released in the fall of 2013. Besides the single, 2012 is also the beginning of new collaboration, this time between Jalisse and Mike Bongiorno Foundation.

 

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2013 marks another important experience related to the Eurovision Song Contest since they will headline on September 7, 2013, the Eurovision Live Concert, in Setubal, Portugal, one of the biggest Eurovision events in the world.

In the meantime they have already debuted a new song, “Dove sei”. Click through to listen to the snippet of it.

 

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Note: to finalize this month dedicated to Jalisse, an exclusive interview with the Italian duo will be online very soon. Stay tuned!

 

Didrik Solli-Tangen                                                            July 2013

Didrik Solli-Tangen  was the norwegian representative in 2010 in Eurovision. "My Heart is yours" was the song that won the National Final and took him to the Eurovision stage! Since that, Didrik didn't stop recording, producing and doing concerts! After Eurovision he was in tour with Alex Rybak and Elisabeth Andreassen.

Didrik is also a very popular person in our TOP 20, reaching high positions everytime that he has a new single.

Because he is preparing a new work and because he just released a new single, he is the  "Artist of the Month" -  the new section of Eurovision On Top!

Part 1 - Didrik in Eurovision

The 22 years old full-time student at the highly acclaimed Barrat Due institute of performing arts in Oslo, was invited to perform "My heart is yours" by Stockholm songwtriter Hanne Sorvagg and the well known composer Fredrik Kempe.

In January of 2010, Didrik won the third semifinal of Melodi Grand Prix, as choosen by the televoters. One month later, he won the national final by a landslide, beating the second place ("Don't wanna loose you again" by A1) with almost twice as many votes.

Because Norway won the year before with Alexander Rybak, Didrik had the responsability of being the "host" of his country and to represent it at the same time. Despite "My heart is yours" was one of the favourites for winning, it only placed 20 out of 25, voted by 9 countries (Portugal, Armenia, Ireland, Georgia, Denmark, Estonia, Slovenia, Malta and Sweden).

Among the fans, the song is still considered as one of the best norwegian songs ever in Eurovision www.kolumbus.fi/jarpen/

Didrik celebrated the 50th anniversary of Norway in the Eurovision Song Contest, with the 49th participation.

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Part 2 -  Didrik before Eurovision

Didrik was born on a summer day (11- June -1987), outside Porsgrunn, a town situated a couple of hours south west of Oslo.

At 15 years old, Didrik formed a band with some friends and became a drummer. One day, the lead singer wanted some back-up harmonies andhe turned to Didrik. He discovered his voice, he started performing in front of classmates and family, and joined the local "high-school musical".

His father got Didrik a professional voice coach, Anders Vangen, who introduced him to great operatic singers and it didn't take long before Didrik learned to hit the high "C".

 

Part 3 - After Eurovision

Eurovision was an opportunity for Didrik to be recognized and to release his first CD "Guilty Pleasures". Including 10 new songs plus "My heart is yours", the album (by Universal Norway) was the confirmation that a new star had just appeared in the new pop scene! Didrik released "Best kept secret" as a second single and later "Compass".

"Cold words", one of the songs became very popular in Youtube and in Eurovision On Top. Last year, Didrik participated in a promo vídeo for recycling and environmental thinking called "We can do more". The tour he did with Alexander Rybak and Elisabeth Andreassen is also a mark in his short but promising career.

Three years after Eurovision, Didrik is ready for is second album and the new single "Without you" is already available! Read our interview with Didrik here www.eurovisionontop.com/specials, to understand his plans for the near future!

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Part 4 - Didrik in the charts

Didrik's first single and Eurovision song, is his biggest hit so far! "My heart is yours" went high in the charts in Norway and peeked the second position. The album "Guilty Pleasures" reached the position 28 in the norwegian albuns chart.

In Eurovision On Top Top 20, Didrik got 3 number 1's: "Best Kept Secret" stayed in the chart for 25 weeks and became the second most voted song of the year; "Cold words" spent 13 weeks in the chart; "Without you" is the name of his latest single  and still in the TOP 20 of EOT Top 20.

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