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Posts Tagged ‘eurovision’

You may recall that six grandmothers from the former Soviet Union competed in Eurovision. We blogged about them here. Loreen from Sweden won first prize, but the babushki came in second.

In a follow-up story in the NY Times, Andrew Kramer writes that the grandmas’ fame is bringing a modicum of prosperity to their forgotten village. In particular, it is rebuilding the church that Stalin destroyed and that they loved in secret. They chose to spend their winnings on the church.

“For years, Buranovo was a dying village, one of many in the Russian countryside left behind by an oil-driven boom that revitalized drab Soviet cities and drew the young away from the farms that had sustained their parents. …

“Now, the women’s good fortune is transforming not only their lives, but also Buranovo. In appreciation of the group’s near victory, the local government is building a water pipeline, installing streetlights and high-speed Internet for the village’s sole school and laying new gravel on the main roads. …

“It all began with a miracle, said Olga N. Tuktareva, the leader of the singing group …. Ms. Tuktareva recalled strolling about the village with a friend in 2008 and lamenting a sad episode in local history: the destruction of the Church of the Trinity, taken down like countless other churches in Stalin’s Russia. …

“During that walk, Ms. Tuktareva recalled, her cellphone rang. It was a music producer in Moscow who had heard of the singing babushki …”

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Photograph: Oleg Nikishin

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Your blogger is one grandma all excited about having some baby time this weekend.

But in Azerbaijan, six grandmas from Russia are competing in a pop-music contest.

“Eurovision 2012 is under way, and about half a billion viewers are expected to tune in for the finale on Saturday. …

“The song contest started in the 1950s, and each country competing is represented by a single singing group or soloist. Because Azerbaijan won last year, Eurovision is being staged in its capital, Baku. …

“Representing Russia this year is a group of six grandmothers. Their song, ‘Party for Everybody,’ tells the story of the babushkas welcoming their grandchildren home. ‘This song itself is kind of appalling, but Eurovision isn’t about the best song,’ [says William Lee Adams, editor-in-chief of Wiwibloggs]. ‘It’s about the best act. And this one comes with attitude and spunk and spirit, and the belief that you can keep on moving no matter how old you are.’ ” Amen to that.

Read more at NPR, and watch the videos. If you catch what language the babushkas speak, please let me know. It is not actually Russian but a minority language.

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Thousands of languages are becoming extinct as the last of the people who speak them die off.

In a race against time, some determined souls who value the richness and insights that individual languages provide are making efforts to save as many minority languages as possible. We posted about that here.

Today National Public Radio had a feature on another approach to preservation, the Liet International Song Contest.

“Auditions are now underway for next May’s Eurovision Song Contest — that often-ridiculed television spectacle that has drawn millions of viewers around the world every year since 1956. In 2012 the host country will be Azerbaijan, since that country fielded last year’s winner. The show’s performers rely on outlandish costumes, dance moves and gimmicks to grab attention because most viewers can’t understand what they’re singing. But language is at the heart of another Eurovision-sponsored song and performance competition this weekend in Italy. The Liet International Song Contest is a very serious attempt to keep some of the continent’s neglected languages alive.”

Read more.’

 

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