While sitting at home with my mother this past Saturday we scanned an endless number of channels trying to find something of interest to watch. By accident she stumbled on a station that was broadcasting the Eurovision Song Contest Finale 2017. Even though it began in 1956, we’d never heard of it before. For those like us who did not know, the Eurovision Song Contest is a competition between the countries of Europe and it includes Israel and now Australia. I regret to say that we were a little freaked out at first. It was…different. But by the second act we were mesmerized.
I learned more about cultural diversity in the few segments that I watched than I have reading books. That is no small feat. One way the singers chose to celebrate culture is by their choice of clothes. A lot of the performers wore outfits that complimented their heritage. Joci Papi from Hungary was one of those artists. He described himself as being a samurai. His hair was tied in a traditional top knot and his clothing was similar to those worn by ancient samurai warriors. He killed it. His clothes made the music real.
Speaking of fashion, creativity ran the show. One group, Sunstroke Project from Moldova consisted of male leads and female backup singers/dancers. The microphone used by the women was placed in the middle of a bouquet of flowers. Very original. They wore white shirts with black skirts. Then with one rapid movement, their hats turned to veils and their skirts went from black to white. It added an exciting creative flare to the performance. I have not seen such creative costume design in a long time. Men not dressed in native garb wore dapper yet comfortable looking suits and the women were dressed modestly. I mean they had on all of their clothes and still managed to have sex appeal. Go figure.
Getting down to the music I’ll be honest, some of the artists performed songs in their native tongue. I had no clue what was being said. See, I speak a little Spanish but English is my main language. The ones that I could understand were written by lyrical geniuses. They told stories. The words covered the joys as well as the pains of life. Isn’t that why music lives, to touch untouchable places?
Eurovision reminded me that that there is more than one thing to sing about, more than one way to sing it, show it, write it. Different cultures build bridges, not walls. Taking the time to understand each other can and will lift every ban wrongfully placed.
Oh! Did I mention that my new favorite artist is Dihas. She is from Azerbaijan. The song she performed is called Skeletons. It is so badass. Check it out in your free time.