Saturday, April 9, 2011

NORWAY 2011 - Haba haba

Why doesn't the first verse of this song rhyme when it so easily could rhyme? When I's a little girl, my grandma told me/That I could be just anything I wanted to ... No, I didn't forget 'be' at the end there. WHY doesn't it rhyme?? It would even have fit the meter of the song better. Argh!

Anyway ... I just had to say that. It annoys me. I'm kind of OCD like that. But in all fairness, it doesn't matter that Stella Mwangi's English isn't the best, because most of the audience will be much worse than her. So there's nothing to worry about. It's probably not even 'wrong' but just the way a native Swahili speaker would speak English. (Ie, they speak wrong. >:-) This isn't any kind of serious problem with this song, it just bugs me.

AFAIK this song represents a first in ESC history - I don't think anyone has ever sent an entry with Swahili lyrics before. :-D OK, it's mostly English, only the chorus is in Swahili. But still. Yay Norway, we are the weirdest! :-D

This song won our national contest this year with a huge majority of the votes - almost a little surprising, since we had a pretty even field to choose from. But there were very few standout songs, although the quality was relatively high overall. This song did stand out, in several ways ... all of them to do with the singer and lyricist, Stella. She is Kenyan born and raised in Norway after her family came to this country as political refugees when she was five. She was beyond ecstatic to win and will probably be super psyched when she's on stage in Düsseldorf. :-)

As I say, she is the strongest feature of the entry - she is beautiful and adorable and fantastically energetic. She has great stage presence and is very confident and happy on stage. The Norwegian audience found her high spirits very infectious ... hopefully European audiences will feel the same way. :-)

Her weak spot is that she can't sing for shit. I'm sorry, that sounds nasty, but it's true. Her voice is so weak that it's embarrassing at times ... and the song is for some reason set up to really highlight this fact. It starts out with a bang, lots of fun music, but then, just as the first verse starts, they drop the music and leave her voice to carry the entire thing. BAD choice. It just shines a merciless spotlight on the one really weak point this entry has. I have no idea why they've set it up like this. I'm hoping they'll change it before May 10th, but I'm not optimistic. They should also change her outfit.

In this country we tend to always be ridiculously optimistic about our ESC entries, we always think we'll win no matter how shitty our song is. Once in a blue moon we're on to something, but usually not. :-) This year it's the same as always. I'm not buying it ... I don't think we have a chance in hell of winning with this song. But that's good, of course - we don't want to win again this soon. So yay, we won't win. :-D On the other hand, it's always nice to not totally bomb. Top ten is great, top five is wonderful. I've got my fingers crossed for top ten. ;-) The song is great as a live performance, it gets people up on their feet and dancing, and that is seriously important in the ESC. We're almost opening our semi, we're starting second, which may be to our advantage now that people can vote from the start of the show. It's an uptempo fun song performed by a pretty girl, that usually goes down well. So ... here's hoping.

We may also end up doing surprisingly badly, partly because the singer is black and quite a lot of people down east aren't big fans of black people. That sounds pretty bad, but it's the truth. Not only 'down' east, either, for that matter (Russia, I'm looking at you). We're going to lose some points over that. Another thing is that this song has literally nothing to do with Norway, so audiences may be turned off by that. I know I bitched enough about our song in 2007, exactly because of this ... and I think that was the main reason it bombed. Nobody out there could understand why the Norwegian entry was called Ven a bailar conmigo. And yes, that was ridiculous. I don't think it's ridiculous this year, because while the song isn't connected to Norway or Norwegian culture, it is representative of the singer and lyricist. Who does have a strong connection to Norway. So I will not dismiss the entry because of this ... but Europe may do so, of course.

We'll see on May 10th when Stella Mwangi and Beyond51 & Big City compete for us with Haba haba. The message of which is that haba haba hujaza kibaba - slow and steady wins the race. We'll see. :-)

Fullscreen here.

Lyrics here.


James said...

Bloody Eurovision time again ALREADY? There go my chances of receiving a letter from you this side of the end of summer then...

Calyx said...

Very sorry for your friend James there, but we are gearing up for the party! Am wondering where to get lederhosen for N. and Trill Trall - am pretty sure they are up for it if we say pretty please :)