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Impressions of some of the Eurovision pop stars
Five singers, who were among others who performed at the Eurovision Song Contest, which was held in Kyiv, Ukraine, in May 2005, share with Welcome to Ukraine Magazine and its readers some of their impressions.
Yevhen BUDKO, senior editor of Mizhnarodny Turyzm Publishers, did the asking, listening to the answers and transcribing of their stories.
Helena PAPARIZOU, Greece
Winner of the Eurovision Song Contest 2005
I am very happy to be here in Kyiv. It’s a pity that all those interviews I had to give prevented me from seeing more of this city. But I told myself firmly — at the first opportunity I’ll go on an extensive tour to see the most important sights of Kyiv. Many of my friends strongly advised me to do so too.
The atmosphere at the contest was just wonderful! So many people from many cities in many countries! I feel an upsurge of positive energy though I did not have a single cup of coffee yet… Being here has made everybody a little happier.
I find that the contest was organized excellently, and I am grateful to the organizers for it. As a matter of fact, I’ve never performed on such a wonderfully built stage before. Some of the singers complained that the security was too tight, but as far as I am concerned, it was perfectly all right — I felt absolutely safe. Besides, I had an impression that one can feel safe in Ukraine even without any security guards around.
I am a bit overwhelmed by my victory at the contest. I have not yet fully realized the significance of this for me and for the country of my ancestors. My victory means that next year the Eurovision Song Contest will be held in Greece. Incidentally, I’m here as an official representative of Greek tourism. After the last year’s Olympics, which were held in Greece, the Eurovision Song Contest will be another important international event for Greece. Thanks to the Olympic Games, Greece is well prepared to handle an international event of such magnitude, and I’m sure everything will be tiptop.
Greece is a wonderful country. I love the islands in particular — they are so different, so beautiful. Depending on what kind of a holiday you plan, you can choose a suitable island to go to. If it’s going to be a bash with a lot of young people participating, then you should go to the island of Mikonos, which is so full of life; if you are planning a quiet family holiday, then Amorgos, a much more quiet and very picturesque place, would be a better choice… Kefalonia has been called the best beach resort in Europe for the past six years in a row… I have a lot of friends in Greece, and it is with a great pleasure that I go there to have my holidays.
I was born in Sweden into a Greek family; and at the end of May I return to Sweden, and then I’ll go on a worldwide tour. I love Sweden, this northern country, and it seems Sweden loves me too. They gave me the highest points at the Eurovision Song Contest! I love singing in Swedish. In fact, I like singing in any language of the world, and I hope some day I’ll sing a song in Ukrainian.
Borys NOVKOVIC, Croatia
Come to any of the Croatian islands in the Adriatic Sea for a holiday, and you’ll see for yourself that they are the most beautiful places in the world. Mountains, little towns, and crystal-clear sea — everything is of unearthly beauty. I’m looking forward to the moment when I’ll be back there. I’m missing my native town, Zagreb, so much!
But unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll be able to return there for some time yet. After the Eurovision Song Contest, I’ll go on a tour of former Yugoslavian countries where they know me well as a singer. But as it turned out my Slavic tunes were close to the Ukrainian hearts too. They gave me eight points in the final voting and I’m very thankful to them for such honour.
It’s not my first time in Ukraine. I toured this country with concerts some time before the contest. It was a long tour, which also included Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Ireland and Spain. In Ukraine, I performed at a song festival in Kakhovka and was well received.
I can’t say I know Ukrainian music too well, but I liked those modern rock songs that had ethnic themes in them. I feel I should learn more about modern Ukrainian music.
Kyiv has made a great impression on me. I never thought it was so big and so beautiful. The Dnipro River that flows through the city is particularly impressive. Majestic churches with golden domes that stand so boldly against the background of green hills are a great sight! I was pleasantly surprised to find that Kyiv has many good restaurants, nightclubs and entertainment centres. I discovered a huge stadium actually next door to the Palats Sportu sports arena where the contest was held.
The Eurovision Song Contest was organized very well — fantastic stage, great atmosphere, central location of the venue, correctly built schedule, well-trained staff, excellent hairdressers and visagistes, everything and everyone were up to the mark. And I know what I am talking about, I can compare. In 1989, I took part in Eurovision Song Contest too and won the second place.
I was not that lucky this time, but I am happy to know that I was ahead of many other participants and that the hospitable Ukrainians liked my performance.
Frontman of the Zdob si Zdub band, Moldova
I felt I was at home in Ukraine, and it was very important for me to know that I am facing a friendly and not a hostile audience.
I took part in a contest like this for the first time, and I found that the stage, sound and light were just perfect. Everything was so well organized — a bit too well, maybe, and all the requirements were very clearly set. On the one hand, it’s very good, but on the other, if you fail to do something as you are expected to do — off you go. We were accustomed to more lenient attitudes and we learned here a lot. It will help us to improve our performance.
We did not have time to prepare new songs especially for Eurovision Song Contest and had to use what we had. It’s good we got into the top ten because it gives Moldova a certain advantage at the Eurovision Song Contest 2006.
We had two people from Moldova whom we had invited to join us for the contest. They are a couple from a southern Moldavian village. We met them on our first ethnographic expedition —we were gathering material for new songs. We were told the couple were excellent musicians —and they were! Percussion and singing — so great! And very authentic. They joined us only to perform at the contest refusing to stay longer — they said they had the vineyard and goats to tend at home.
We give most of the concerts in Russia, Rumania and Ukraine. Of all the cities that I’ve seen I like Kyiv best. Besides, it reminds me of Chisinau (Kishinev). Kyiv is also so green, beautiful, not too bustling, with a wonderful river flowing right through it.
My hobbies? Fishing, bicycling, but no extreme sports — there’s enough adrenalin produced by events in everyday life and on stage.
Come to Moldova, there’s a lot to see! Ancient fortresses, hundreds upon hundreds years old, the biggest wine cellars in the world — more than 120 kilometres in length! Many tourists want to see them, get in and taste wine — the only problem is to get out! Moldova is not a big country and staying in Chisinau, you can take trips to wherever you might be interested to go.
I was born in Istanbul but I’ve been living in France since I was seven. I’m very proud I’ve won the national Eurovision contest in Turkey, which made it possible for me to represent Turkey at the Eurovision Song Contest here in Kyiv. The very fact that I participate in it is a great achievement for me. I toured across Europe with my songs and now I represent Turkey at the Eurovision Song Contest, singing a song in Turkish!
My strength is playing on the darbuks, small but very resonant drums! I played them here in Kyiv, performing together with a Turkish group The Shamans.
It’s my first visit to Ukraine, and I was so impressed with the greenery of Kyiv where you can breathe the fresh air — something I can’t do in Istanbul.
My hobbies? I’ve been doing the Chinese spiritual and physical gymnastics Tai Chi for the past ten years now. According to this teaching, a human being is like a tree, and I think in Kyiv I’d have an ideal place to do my exercises and attain spiritual enlightenment.
Before I came her, I had heard that women were particularly beautiful in Kyiv, and I discovered it was true — what I saw in the central streets of Kyiv made me feel I was watching a catwalk fashion show in Paris — all the women and girls were so well dressed, in good taste, with excellent makeup.
In everyday life, I stick to a strict regimen — it gives me an opportunity to do a lot of things during the day. When you have meals strictly on time, when you go to bed on time and have enough sleep it helps you to always look good — and to sing well too!
I travelled to several countries of the world — California in the USA, Hungary, Austria among them, but I still find that Turkey offers a great selection of wonderful places to go to. Come to Izmir to enjoy the scenery, the sea, sun and mountains, all in a perfect harmony.
I sing songs in Turkish, French, Armenian, Spanish and Arabic, and now I hope I’ll learn a song or two to sing in Ukrainian.
Photographs by Oleksiy ONISHCHUK[Prev][Contents][Next]