Russian Language Blog

Евровидение! [Eurovision Song Contest!] Posted by on May 13, 2009 in Culture, News

Suddenly it is that time of the year again – the time when one cannot help but feel that one is, was and will always remain a European. This feeling is first and foremost connected with an important European annual event in May: «Евровидение» [Eurovision Song Contest]. This year the competition takes place here in Russia, in everybody’s favorite capital with the red Kremlin and Lenin the mummy, and thus gives me a good reason to write about it here. Not only because after the first semi-final yesterday, on the 12th of May, it was decided that Sweden’s Malena Ernman gets to sing in the final on Saturday the 16th, and when I woke up to these news this morning I found myself suddenly caring about the Eurovision Song Contest again. Before the final there will be a second semi-final, on the 14th of May, and not until after that will we know for sure which countries will be competing for the prestigious title of “Winner of Eurovision Song Contest 2009”. And what is more important – to get the competition to take place in their country next year! For those of you who have managed to forget I can inform you of the fact that Дима Билан [Dima Bilan] won in Belgrade last year (with more than a little help from Плюшенко [Plushenko], I’d say, and I think everyone who saw the performance a year ago agrees with me] with the song “Believe” and that’s why Moscow – for the first time ever! – gets to host the contest this year. This year Russia is represented by Анастасия Приходько [Anastasia Prikhod’ko] and the song “Mamo” [Russian: «Мама»; English: “Mother”] which is sung in both Russian and Ukrainian.

So, how do you best prepare for this Saturday’s big night? A good warm-up would be of course to watch all of Russia’s entries in Eurovision, something that is easily done on this excellent post by Siberian Light. Or you could busy yourself by trying to learn the lyrics to Russia’s entry by heart already now so that you’ll be ready to sing along come Saturday. Here’s the Russian version with my own little translation in English, I’ll hope you’ll get the general idea of the song:

Вышел из тени вновь [He came out of the shadow again]
Мой врагмоя любовь [my enemy – my love]
Неизбежна моя доля, [my lot is inescapable,]
Сколько сердце не готовь [how much you prepare the heart]
Но прежде, чем уйти [but before he left]
Колечком золотым обручил меня с собою [with a golden ring bethrotet me with him]
И от чар не защитил [and against goblets didn’t protect]
И на волю мою душу не пустил[and didn’t free my soul…]

Припев: [Refrain:]
А ты ж мне сказала
[but you told me]
Не ожидай
[don’t expect]
А я ж тогда не знала  
[but then I didn’t know]
Где та беда
[where that sorrow is]
А ты же мне говорила
[but you said to me]
Время вода
[time is water]
Мама, мама, мама
[Mother, mother, mother]

Любовь – беда
[love is sorrow][I will throw away my dream]
И об пол разобью, [break it against the floor]
Как сломал ты мою долю [like you broke my lot]
И оставил на краю [and left me on the edge]
Я дождём девичьи слёзы разолью[I will cry a rain of maiden tears…]

Припев: [Refrain:]

Once you’ve learned these – far from difficult lyrics – by heart it is about time to learn a thing or two about the host country: Russia. This can be done on Eurovision Song Contest’s official website, which informs you of the most crucial things you need to know about this country, including that its history is ‘long and complicated’. After you’ve done that, you can move ahead and read up on Patricia Kaas, France’s entry, and worry about how your country (if you’re not a very patriotic Russophile/Russian and can’t imagine voting for anything but the Motherland) will ever be able to stand up against this superstar on one and the same stage. You could also buy (or download) the whole “Eurovision Song Contest 2009” album and irritate members of your immediate family, friends and close neighbors by putting these 42 excellent examples of ‘Euro pop’ on repeat all week long. After all, Eurovision is about two things: 1) listening to music of questionable quality without any shame, even dancing to it if you’ve managed to completely clear yourself of any shame you might’ve had left after downloading the album, and 2) voting for your neighboring countries. The last one is colloquially known as ‘friend-vote’ in Europe and this year they’ve decided to try to limit this phenomenon by giving the jury an equal chance to choose the winner. 50% of the votes will be from watchers/listeners, while the other half belongs to the jury. Otherwise Norway and Sweden always give each other the highest scores, as does Ukraine and Russia, and the country that wins is the country with most neighboring countries. (Now I suppose nobody’s the least surprised that Russia scored it last year?)

Generally speaking, every European country, just like European citizen, has its own point of view on the Eurovision Song Contest. In Sweden it is a bigger deal for us to choose our own entry, as we have four semi-finals and one final within our own country, and come May most Swedes have already had enough their own native ‘Euro pop’ to care about the ‘real’ finale. And thus the final contest in the middle of May is viewed by most as an excellent opportunity to gather family and friends around the TV to watch other country’s entries and make ironic comments. The ironic comments are such a large part of Sweden’s relationship to Eurovision that even papers, blogs and TV channels try to outdo each other by making the best ironic comments. I haven’t noticed such an ironic tone in Russian media, but that could be because Russians don’t see Eurovision as a game on life and death, as Swedes do. Which is easy to understand once you’ve contemplated the fact that it was there that ABBA got their big breakthrough with “Waterloo” and we as a nation can’t let go of the dream that something like it could be happen again…

«Смотрите Евровидение на своё здоровье!»

Who do you think would be a worthy winner? And what do you think about Russia’s entry this year? Does it have a chance?

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  1. Red.:

    Talking about Eurovision, Russia and Sweden, I was wondering about the Russian text to Swedish scandal skit Tingaling. I can’t hear a lot except several errors, but maybe someone with sharper ears could transcribe what they’re trying to say?

  2. Josefina:

    Red, I haven’t had the opportunity to check out the Tingaling sketch yet. All I know is that it was turned into a hit song in Sweden. The whole finale in Sweden went in a “Russian theme” and as Swedes are not known for being experts on Russia, of course mistakes should be plenty and amusing. I’ll tell you more once I have a look at it!

  3. parvana:

    I remember this eurovision song with russian singer anastasia.It was so wonderful song.i love it very veryyyyyyyyyyyyyyy muchhhhhhhh.Thank you russia for this amuzing song……my regards

  4. Tom:

    Ah the Eurovision Song Contest again time just goes by so fast. Nice translating from russian there by the way, keep up the good work 🙂