A song for Europe: popular music and politics in the Eurovision song contest

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Ashgate, 2007 - Biography & Autobiography - 190 pages
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PLEASE NOTE - THIS TITLE IS AVAILABLE IN PAPERBACK (ISBN 0 7546 5879 1 & 978-0-7546-5879-5) ATA A PRICE OF $34.95 This carefully ordered, interdisciplinary series of essays on the Eurovision song contest yields some strong, perhaps counter-intuitive arguments. Ethnicity, of course, in its many manifestations, proves a key issue, but so do relationships between centre and periphery, here frequently characterised in terms of campness - an indication that the entire collection is theoretically rich. The essays, whether detailed studies of individual songs, of the changing strategies of individual countries, or of the larger context, explore how Eurovision is so much more than just a song contest - it is a stage in which various political games are played out and, contrary to the way the show is packaged ''on the night'', observing the strategies pursued by some countries over the years really does raise questions about whether Eurovision is about winning. This is a refreshing collection, another valuable demonstration of the deep cultural understanding available through consideration of the supposedly banal, which is one reason why so many of us became academically interested in pop music in the first place. Prof. Allan Moore, Dept. of Music & Sound Recording, University of Surrey. This volume offers a compelling range of interdisciplinary perspectives written by a first-rate group of international scholars. The range of both authors and perspectives is only fitting for the first academic study of the televisual-musical spectacle that anticipated the widespread contemporary ''Idol'' phenomenon. In addition to discussing the Eurovision Song Contest, A Song for Europe provides a fine introduction to readers interested in understanding the multi-media context that is increasingly the primary site for the reception of music. This volume also serves the valuable purpose of raising awareness of the contest among readers outside of Europe. David Brackett, Chair, Dept. of Theory, Schulich School of Music, McGill University, Canada The world''s largest and longest-running song competition, the Eurovision Song Contest is a significant and extremely popular media event throughout the continent and abroad. Established in 1956 as a televised spectacle to unify postwar Western Europe through music, the contest features singers who represent a participating nation with a new popular song. Here, an international group of scholars from a variety of disciplines, explore how the contest sheds light on issues of European politics, national and European identity, race, gender and sexuality, and the aesthetics of camp. Eurovision is sometimes regarded as a low-brow camp spectacle of little aesthetic or intellectual value. The essays in this collection often contradict this assumption, demonstrating that the contest has actually been a significant force and forecaster for social, cultural and political transformations in postwar Europe. Contents: Introduction; Camping on the borders of Europe, Ivan Raykoff; Return to ethnicity: the cultural significance of musical change in the Eurovision Song Contest, Alf Björnberg; Eurovision at 50: post-wall and post stonewall, Robert Deam Tobin; Chanson, canzone, Schlager, and song: Switzerland''s identity struggle in the Eurovision Song Contest, Michael Baumgartner; Chasing the ''magic formula'' for success: Ralph Siegel and the Grand Prix Eurovision de la Chanson, Thorsten Hindrichs; Fernando, Filippo, and Milly: bringing blackness to the Eurovision stage, Lutgard Mutsaers; Finland, zero points: nationality, failure, and shame in the Finnish media, Mari Pajala; The socialist star: Yugoslavia, Cold War politics and the Eurovision Song Contest, Dean Vuletic; Lithuanian contests and European dreams, Bjorn Ingvoldstad; Russian body and soul: t.A.T.u. performs at Eurovision 2003, Dana Heller; Gay brotherhood: Israeli gay men and the Eurovision Song Contest, Dafna Lemish; Articulating the historical moment: Turkey, Europe, and

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Contents

Camping on the borders of Europe
1
PostWall and PostStonewall
25
Ralph Siegel and
49
Copyright

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