“Der alte Westen ist der neue Osten.” Das spürt man in Berlin nur zu gut. Aber auch beim Eurovision Song Contest sind die westeuropäischen Länder so sehr ins Hintertreffen geraten, dass man zur Rettung ihrer Ehre eine Jury wiedereinführen musste. Wie ein neurotischer Wiederholungstäter streckt der NDR was Genre und Musiker betrifft immer wieder seine leere Hand gen Westen aus – und greift trotz musikalischer Vielfalt Jahr für Jahr ...
Ich möchte mal demonstrativ in die entgegengesetzte Richtung schauen – und entdecke Erstaunliches. Von östlichster Peripherie bekommen wir Fans derzeit die brandheißesten News zum Contest präsentiert:
Eurovision Song Contest Kazakhstan
Die Info-Page wird u. a. erstellt von Andy Mikheev aus Kasachstan.
Andy: Most of the information we're publishing is exclusive one. During 8 years of our experience we've established excellent contacts with majority of participating delegations that are happy to share their news through us. We do also a very extensive research of the local press in languages different from English.
Andy, a homepage from Kazakhstan for the Eurovision Song Contest is very surprising.
Andy: I'm working with Eurovision contest since 2001, now our aim is to build the website that will be publishing the most of Eurovision related news first. Before that, I was working since 1997 with the contest called "Voice of Asia". Now, we're also covering Eurovision Dance and Junior Eurovision contests. Voice of Asia isn’t known in Germany… Andy: Voice of Asia was the last example of the quality Kazakhstan music. Though, the most important part was international competition (with two Kazakhstan artists usually), there was also a special day of Kazakhstan Contemporary Music. Sadly, Voice of Asia has been closed in 2005. It has lasted for 15 years, from 1989.
Among participants were also Eurovision singers, like
Monica Anghel (Romania 2002, winner of VoA 2000),
Niko (Romania 2008, winner of VoA 2004),
Fabrizio Faniello (Eurovision 2001 and 2006),
Eurovision winner Marie N, Luminita Anghel (Romania 2005)
and some more.
The average level of the contest was extremely high, but unfortunately public interest to the contest with foreign singer was very low. Recent winners were:
1998 - Luka Sepe (Italy)
1999 - Manana (Azerbaijan)
2000 - Monika Anghel (Romania)
2001 - Ladine Roxas (Phillipines)
2002 - Siti Nurhaliza (Malaysia)
2003 - Su Yan (China)
2004 - Niko (Romania)
When will Kazakhstan finally participate the ESC? Are there any plans?
Andy: As far as I know, Kazakhstan's broadcaster Khabar has officially purchased broadcast rights for Eurovision for 2008 and 2009, so last year there was first official broadcast of it on Kazakhstan channel with commentary in Russian language. Before that, in the beginning of 2000s, Kazakhstan viewers could have watch ESC on Russian channels, but for the years since 2004 to 2008 only on satellite or cable TV (on Turkish or Spanish channels). Khabar has already expressed interest to join EBU. Now, it is member of Asian-Pacific Broadcasting Union. If all goes well, Kazakhstan may join EBU this year and Eurovision next year.
What would be your favourite for Kazakhstan?
Andy: I'm afraid that on my opinion there hardly are any singers in Kazakhstan of Eurovision quality. The ones few I can hint can not be found on youtube. The Kazakhstan music that is on youtube is reprsenting more commercial pop, most of the singers only have money to produce couple of videos. In general Kazakhstan music is not massively popular here. People mostly listen to Russian and European music. And I'm not a fan of Kazakhstan music too, for many years now I'm not watching our TV channels or listen to radio.
My first choice for Eurovision would be experienced singer Bakhtiyar Taylakbayev. From younger singers, I can suggest Beibit Korghan or Altynai Zhorabaeva. Anyway, even if we may be able to find decent singer, there is complete lack of good songwriters in the country, so probably we will have to hire someone else. Actually, I'm fan of heavy metal music. In Kazakhstan we have an amazing heavy metal band called Holy Dragons.
They have just released 10th album (several of them also had double releases in English and Russian) - this is the record for the music performer in Kazakhstan in any genre. Most of the albums have been released in Russia. You can check website
If Kazakhstan sends Holy Dragons to the ESC I will give them my 12 points. In my opinion there is a lack of different genres and styles. But next question: Belongs Kazakhstan to Asia or Europe? How do you feel it?
Andy: Modern Kazakhstan is considered as more European country, rather than Asian. Currently, our new capital, Astana, is being built and modernized by best European architects. Recently, we've also transfered to UEFA, European football association. We do not have very old cities like Istanbul, Baku which will bring Asian feeling, all our cities are very new and very much European. Technically speaking, Kazakhstan (which is one of 10 biggest countries in the World by territory) has 16% of it's territory located in Europe.
What has been the best contribution to the ESC in your opinion?
Andy: I can name my favourites from the recent years:
2002 - Romania
2003 - Poland
2004 - Iceland
2005 - Romania
2006 - France
2007 - Iceland
2008 – Azerbaijan
In 2006 was France my favourite, too. But what do you – as a metal-fan – think about the success of Lordi?
Andy: I welcomed it a lot. However, I do not regard Lordi's song as heavy metal act. I think of it as a typical schlager song with guitar arrangement. It was very Eurovision friendly, especially the act. The closest thing to real heavy metal was Iceland 2007 and, unfortunately, it is clear that Eurovision is not ready for heavy metal acts yet. I also know that right now Belarus 2008 entrant Petr Elfimov is working with famous Nightwish sound directors and producers on rearrangement of his Eurovision entry which he describes as "romantic metal".
I agree, Eurovision needs some different acts, but I don't think even juries are ready for that. This year, a very popular Serbian metal act, they are know across whole Europe, band Alogia, submitted an entry and they were not even selected to the semifinals. It is very sad.
Did you already join the European OGAE?
Andy: I've founded OGAE Kazakhstan around 2003, however, unfortunately, as OGAE network at that time was not welcoming non-European clubs, we were not allowed to join. In 2005 the decision was taken to create united club for all non-European members, OGAE Rest of the World and I was elected as it's first president. Since then OGAE RoW made a really good progress, we have more than 100 members from all across the globe, we present own awards, both for Eurovision and other music - right now we're running huge EuroStar award for artists singing in Afrikaans and you can vote in it on our site. I've stepped down from presidentship of the club, as I have to concentrate on Eurovision and site, but still am actively involved in it.