May 17, 2009

Alexander Rybak — the Norwegian fiddler who won Eurovision.

I don't understand Europe.

Give me "American Idol" any day. Look, here's Adam Lambert, when he was fat and blond, singing at his high school graduation:

26 comments:

rhhardin said...

I don't understand either one.

I'd call the genre ``empathy on 11.''

Take for counterpoint Cyndi Boste. (real audio, may want to download an old codec.)

PatCA said...

Well, Abba won it once. They dig that kind of thing.

Jason (the commenter) said...

I don't understand Europe.

Well I can understand Norwegian! I had no idea until I heard that song; maybe I should become a translator?

Paul Zrimsek said...

I'm sad that "Miss Kiss Kiss Bang" didn't win.

Ophir said...

The Eurovision has long been a joke.

Israel's entry this year was actually pretty decent (by Eurovision standards) and had a nice message.

bearbee said...

I think fiddlers are fun.

madfolly said...

Does anyone know why everyone in the UK and Europe sings with an American accent? I went to Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club in London not too long ago. No introductory talk; the singer just started singing one standard after another. And then she spoke with the English strongest (Yorkshire?) I've ever heard. None of it showed up in her songs, though. I just don't get it...

Iapetus said...

Possible explanation: Rybak looks like he could be Brad Pitt's younger brother.

Synova said...

I like the Norwegian one better. Granted, Lambert was singing some really slow horror suited to a graduation.

And I've always loved fiddles, and think there is something far more... legitimate... about a musician who can actually play rather than just sing.

I mean... we can *all* sing, right? At least a little? And while vocal coaches and vocal training makes a big difference, we figure that most of all a person either just *can* or they *can't*. So what is so admirable if you just happen to be born with an ear to pitch and a voice that doesn't crack on an A?

knox said...
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knox said...

argh

knox said...

I don't understand Europe.

Sounds like a new tag to me!

Quayle said...

I love it. It is a full spectrum field drawing on the native folk roots of the wide group of countries, and therefore not at all like the bunch of narrow wanna-be hip-hop pop culture copy-cats in American Idol.

I like Eurovision for a similar reason that I love the World Cup.

I find it amazing that the Germans play soccer with a tough, controlling Germanic approach, and the Brazilians play with their free and easy expressive approach, and yet no one team has dominated. There are so many ways to play soccer and win. To me that is cool.

To me, that same thing is what is cool about Eurovision.

Quayle said...

Ok, well, some of the Eurovision entries are American pop wanna-be's.

The ones I like haven't totally abandoned their home roots.

Not everyone in the world needs to sound like they're from Brownsville or Compton.

Terry said...
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Terry said...

If that the best Europe can bring?

They gave the world the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Sir Laurence Olivier and a myriad of other top musicians, entertainers and actors.

Now it's down to a mediocre violinist with an even more mediocre voice.

Not that America is much, if any, better these days.

ElcubanitoKC said...

a) Eurovision is a SONG contest, not a singing contest.

and

b) it's nice to see than people still sing in other parts of the world, instead of wrestling notes down to the ground (which is ok in gospel and flamenco, but not all the time)

ElcubanitoKC said...

Spain entries of 1973 and 1968.

Both songs became iconic hits, and definitely helped their interpreters.

Palladian said...

"They gave the world the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Sir Laurence Olivier and a myriad of other top musicians, entertainers and actors."

That was England, not Europe.

"it's nice to see than people still sing in other parts of the world, instead of wrestling notes down to the ground"

I agree.

Glen said...

Still it's not difficult to see the joy and pride in some of the music.

Eurovision - Nelly Ciobanu - Moldova

Jason (the commenter) said...

Terry : Now it's down to a mediocre violinist with an even more mediocre voice.

Amy Whitehouse, Lily Allen, M.I.A, Bat for Lashes, Björk, Ladytron, Jim Noir, Sparks, Planning to Rock, Think of One, Vitalic, Uzeda, Sigur RósAnd those are just ones currently on my iPhone.

Synova said...

I looked up the whole song/performance.

It's not brilliant music or lyrics or singing, except that it sort of *is*.

The lyrics are simple but catch the imagination with "fairytale." Is it good? Is it bad? Fairytales are the next best thing to horror stories sometimes. (Think about it!) Is he denying the truth of self delusion or amazingly self-aware?

The music is catchy, lively, but not so difficult that people who aren't brilliant vocalists aren't able to sing along. Most of all, it's peppy.

The performance, and the fiddle playing, is just plain fun. And sure... Rybak is incredibly cute in an elfish sort of way, but how much of that is the fact that he is obviously having an incredible amount of FUN? It's so obvious that he's loving every moment he's performing that song, that you want to love *him*.

michael farris said...

I completely love Eurovision as a one of a kind freak culture event.

That said, the last think I expect (or want) from Eurovision is good songs, tastefully and skillfully performed. I like either

a) hard ethnic (no sops to bland international stuff that sounds like it's from anywhere and nowhere) The previously linked Moldovan entry fits that bill as does:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=bNYBYH3bZFI


b) horribly wrong headed ideas. "Hey, let's make our entry a 17 year old girl being groped by a buy in a green-sequined gimp suit while freaky looking mimes breakdance!"

www.youtube.com/watch?v=hjwCRi6kkP4

pj (lowercase) said...
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goesh said...

-Adam and his middle class, weepy syrup - one can almost feel the grease of McDonalds on his fingers, give me a fiddler any day

Jason said...

Ok, here's your's truly, playing fiddle.

A couple of beers into the set.

:-)

The whistler, Eamon Dillon, is a world-class monster.