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What have you got to say for yourself….Israel?

Posted by Caroline on March 29, 2012

Oh yes, it’s that time of year again when we ask Eurovision acts across the continent very nicely if they’ll talk to us. While some take no notice, issue a hollow laugh of derision and then take no notice, or demand a fee for their troubles (er, no) others actually quite like the idea, and do indeed take the time to answer our nosy questions. And first out of the bag this year are Israel’s Izabo, who not only deserve a big round of applause for being generally fab, but also for being the first Israeli act ever to face the Eurovision Blog interrogation. Over to the band’s keyboard player Shiri Hadar:

Introduce yourselves and tell us how you ended up representing Israel in Eurovision this year!
We are Izabo! A four piece band including Ran Shem Tov and Myself, Shiri Hadar, we are also husband and wife and just had our new baby girl 4 months ago, called Eli! Ran is the creator of the Music, he produces and Mixes everything aswell as playing Guitar and lead locals. I play keyboard, Jonathan Levi the redhead is our bass player and Nir Manzur is the crazy drummer. we all sing aswell. we are not really sure how we ended up representing Israel this year in the Eurovision to be honest, since its a very suprising choice to take us, being a left field band that are known to be more alternative Musicians. but we were very happy to hear that we were chosen, we believe Eurovision doesn’t have to mean you’re not a good musician. Remember Abba started there!!!! 🙂

Are you looking forward to going to Baku? What can we expect from your stage show?
We are looking forward, and working towards this trip. I think you can expect on the stage show that we will stay Izabo. We are a funk rock band and that is not going to change, we won’t be dancing dressed like clowns, I think being authentic is the most important thing, I hope people will relate.

Israel failed to make it out of the semi-final last year, how do you plan to change that this year?
I can’t say that it will change this year, all i can say is that we are doing our best for that to happen. all we can do is put on the best performance of the song on stage, and again, hope that people will relate to what we are doing.

Which of this year’s other entries do you rate? Since we’ve been working so hard, we didn’t have too much time to go over all the songs.. we really like the Turkish entry. and we know he loves Izabo aswell as he wrote us. England is interesting!

How have your fans reacted to your impending appearance in Eurovision? Have you also found that you now have a lot of new ones? Our fans were like us, suprised at the beginning, but everyone are loving it! everyone loves the song and being so supportive. all the “Music Lovers” around here are supporting us bringing something good to this show.

Ran mentioned in a previous interview that part of his family is from Azerbaijan. Did that influence your decision to represent Israel and will you be getting in touch with your roots while you’re there?
We didn’t know where the Eurovision is this year when we sent the song (hehe we’re not news type of people as you can notice) but when we realized it was amazing. I think it will be very interesting to see what the place looks like and even try and locate the area where Ran’s family grew up in.

You came over here in 2004 after the release of the Morning Hero EP, do you have any plans to play in the UK again?Yes most definitely!!!! We signed with 100% Records over in the UK last year. and a few months ago we released a free 3 track EP, which you could download in our facebook page:

Our first Single in the UK “I Like It” will be out this May! very excited about it. you can already check out the new video for the song over here:

The whole album “Life is on my side” will be released in the UK May 24th. After that we are planning to be in the UK as much as we will be wanted for!

Here in the UK Eurovision is regarded by many as a bit of a joke, an attitude which a lot of us are trying to change. How is it regarded in Israel? It’s pretty much the same over here in Israel. it’s a shame really. because Eurovision could be a huge celebration of great music from all around the world. I think it used to be that years ago.. but nowdays it’s less about the music…thats what we understand. This is why we believe we are bringing something different to this year’s ESC. Crossing figures that it will stick out and do a great job.

Have you heard the UK entry and what do you think of it, and our somewhat older representative? Any chance of some points? (please…..:)) Well, I don’t think that we will have too much input on the votes from Israel hehe…but i’m sure it will do great this year! We give your our personal vote 🙂

And finally, tell me why Israel should have the chance to host Eurovision in 2013 and which city would you choose to host it? Cause the weather here is the best in Europe? Great food? Amazing beach? All we can do is do our best and hope for the best outcome. either way, we are happy with the experience and with every new Izabo fan that it’s bringing along. it’s all about spreading your Music!!!

Posted in Eurovision 2012, Eurovision News, Interviews, Israel | Leave a Comment »

Still, good news about the Israeli entry, eh…..?

Posted by Caroline on March 2, 2012

This might have been a tad buried among all the Humperdinck hoo-ha, but the Israeli entry from Izabo was also officially unveiled yesterday, and is sounding even better than when it was leaked on the Internet last week entirely by accident. Possibly our favourite so far this year (we’ll just listen to it once more then we promise we’ll switch it off…..)

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Put it back already!!

Posted by Caroline on February 23, 2012

So how excited were we, exactly, when we heard that Izabo were going to be representing Israel in Baku? Very very excited, as it happens, because we’ve been a fan of their retro-era psychedelic stylings for years, ever since there was a slightly half-hearted attempt to launch them in the UK around 2004 (with a track called Morning Hero. Go on, look it up. You’ll thank us). And right now, we would love to be able to bring you their Eurovision entry Time, a sneak peek of which leaked on to the Interweb a few days ago about a week before it was due to be officially unveiled on Israeli TV. However due to circumstances beyond our control (otherwise known as ‘some spoilsport removing it’), we are unable to do so. Which is a pity, because from the bit we heard it’s quite possibly our favourite entry so far this year – original, quirky and fun without actually slipping into novelty territory. Still, the finished version is officially being unveiled on March 1 so you’ll be able to hear it then you lucky lucky people. In the mean time this pointless bit of nostalgia may help you pass the time…..

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Haven’t we seen you somewhere before….? (Part 2)

Posted by Caroline on March 9, 2011

Nope, your eyes are not deceiving you. Dana International, the Israeli singer who famously won Eurovision 1998 in Birmingham, is the latest former champion who will have the chance to ‘do a Johnny Logan’ when she takes to the stage once again in Dusseldorf. It’s a pity that this time around her song – the snappily titled Ding Dong – isn’t nearly as catchy or memorable as her previous winner Diva, but even if the transgender pop queen has ‘gone a bit Leslie Phillips’ on us, she’ll probably still make a few headlines just by bothering to do it all over again:

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Allez Ole Oy-Vay……

Posted by Caroline on March 24, 2010

Mopping up the last few drops of song in the Eurovision 2010 stakes we bring you a highly contrasting double bill consisting of Israel and France (put together just so we could use the above silly headline…..). Israel’s offering this year comes from the rather popular local singer Harel Skaat (who found fame on an X Factor-ish type show called something unpronounceable in Hebrew, so we’ll stick to the English title of A Star Is Born), and is called Mitim (Words).

A lot of people are tipping this as a possible winner but we happen to think there are better ballads in the competition. Quite a lot of better ballads in fact. And it all goes a bit overboard for us in the middle with the cellos and everything else. Still, despite getting the distinct feeling that one of our favourite Eurovision countries has let us down a little bit this year (and knowing they have a vibrant music scene there we know for a FACT they could have come up with something more exciting), we present it to you in all its glory:

Now France have had a track record of entering epic ballads like the Israeli one for quite some time now and not really getting that far with them. We’re kind of liking the fact they have changed tack in recent years, with Les Fatals Picards sounding like something out of a Wes Anderson movie, Sebastien Tellier producing possibly the coolest Eurovision entry of all time (well when was the last time you heard one of the Lithuanian entries or similar being used on car commercials and movie soundtracks…..?) and last year Patricia Kaas returning the French triumphantly and deservedly to the top ten. This year they’ve gone for something completely different, in the shape of Allez! Ola! Ole! by Congolese born singer Jessy Matador – and in a sneaky let’s-kill-two-birds-with-one-stone type of way this will also be the theme to France’s 2010 World Cup coverage later in the summer. And we have to say as a World Cup theme this is brilliant – you could quite imagine Gary Lineker or France’s nearest equivalent doing enthusiastic commentary over goal montages while this plays in the background.

But as a Eurovision song? Well a lot of French people have reacted to this one with the same level of shock as greeted Josh Dubovie and the UK effort i.e ‘how could they come up with such an aural assault to our delicate ears?’ But we just ask you one question? If it’s really that bad (and if we’re being honest it does remind us a bit of something used to get the crowd going at the Radio 1 Roadshow in the early 90s) then why have we been walking round singing it so much?????? Because it’s so silly that it’s completely brilliant, that’s why. We have a sneaking suspicion that if this finds itself surrounded by an enclave of ballads on the night and puts on a lively show, it could actually do a lot better than everybody is predicting. Oh and BTW there is no performance footage of this one so you’ll just have to make do with this:

Posted in Eurovision 2010, Eurovision News, France, Israel | Leave a Comment »

Well, Looky What We Have Here…..

Posted by Caroline on December 29, 2009

This, ladies and gentlemen, is Harel Skaat, the chap who has been chosen to represent Israel in Oslo. Well, do you see us complaining……??????

Posted in Israel | 4 Comments »

Another Great Big Round-Up!

Posted by Caroline on March 9, 2009

There’s been such a recent flurry of activity on the national finals front that we just can’t keep up with it all. So let’s just round up some more of the entries into one handy, easy to manage post – beginning with Israel’s effort from renowned chanteuse Noa and Israeli Arab singer Mira Awad:

‘Pleasant’ is the word which springs immediately to mind, and we’re not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing, but the partnership is certainly an interesting one. Whether or not this gets lost in the mix on the night is another matter entirely.

We doubt, however, that the Ukrainian entry from Svetlana Loboda is likely to be forgotten in a hurry…..

Now it could be just us but we’re trying to decide whether this is a complete work of genius or a total crime against Eurovision. Either way there is so much to enjoy about it – the comedy moustaches, the seemingly spontaneous drum solo, Svetlana’s ridiculously OTT outfit, the way in which one of the backing dancers is holding her upside down over his shoulders like some latter day caveman – that we’re prepared to overlook the fact that for all intents and purposes it is a tuneless wail of a song. We are, however convinced that only a Eurovision country as popular and successful as Ukraine could possibly get away with something like this – in other words Andrew Lloyd Webber, don’t even think about doing something similar in 2010…..

And onwards to host nation Russia, this year represented by, er, a Ukrainian, Anastasia Prohodko:

Now a friend of Team Eurovision reliably informs us that this is “very Russian” – which is all very well except it will have a hard time appealing to anybody west of Kiev. Are the Russians trying really hard to ensure that they don’t have to host again next year or are we beng a tad cynical?

And so, onwards, to the first Slovakian entry in years, a duet sung by Kamil Miculcik and Nela Pociskova:

And the less said about that one the better. Except possibly that Kamil looks scarily like the kind of actor you used to see in,er,special 1970s movies for the single gentleman. On that note, let us move swiftly on to Estonia’s Urban Symphony:

Now we quite like this, and think it could even be the song to drag Estonia kicking and screaming out of semi-final doldrums for the first time ever. Our only reservation is, that since we already have Norway and Slovenia strutting their stuff with fiddles, could this be one violin too many? Hope not, because we actually think this deserves to qualify.

And finally, we have recent winners Serbia, this year fielding twosome Marko Kon and Milan Nikolic:

And, er, frankly we’re speechless.Yes, it’s certainly nice to see the Serbs letting their hair down a bit after a run of very serious songs, but there are ways of lightening the tone and, er, ways of lightening the tone. And we’re not convinced that entering a gruff-voiced Michael Moore lookalike (albeit one who appears to have stuck his finger in a live socket before coming on stage) accompanied by some random bloke playing the accordion is how to do it. Let’s just say it’s “catchy” and leave it at that, shall we……..?

Posted in Estonia, Israel, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Ukraine | 2 Comments »