Eurovision Finals 2013

IRELAND : Is it time for a Multicultural or Irish Language Eurovision Entry?

Marianne Knight, Celibe Byrne, Eimear Quinn (Eurovision Winner) and Nono Madolo. Photograph courtesy of RTE

Marianne Knight, Celibe Byrne, Eimear Quinn (Eurovision Winner) and Nono Madolo. Photograph courtesy of RTE

2013 has been the “Year Of The Gathering” here in Ireland where Irish culture has been celebrated in the country and through those who have emigrated over the years to the four corners of the globe.

It has resulted in a resurgence in the Irish Diaspora and the awakening to the fact that we are a multicultural nation very different to that of 20 years ago.

Two musical events have recently taken place that have made we wonder if it is time for Ireland to look at a Eurovision entry that embraces these sentiments and move away from main stream music.

Last Friday saw Eurovision winner Eimear Quinn and friends perform on The Late Late Show, the Brendan Graham composed song “This Fair, Fair Land”. For all Eurovision fanatics you will know that Brendan Graham wrote 2 Eurovision winning songs “Rock n Roll Kinds” (Paul Harrington and Charlie McGettigan 1994) and “The Voice” ( Eimear Quinn 1996) and multi million selling song “You Raise Me Up”.

The song forms part of “RTE’s Big Music Week” where the proceeds of the sale of the song goes to the charity Barnardos Ireland. You can download it here.



Two things that I like about this song is that it shows a multicultural face of Ireland which we have not seen represent Ireland at Eurovision yet. Eimear Quinn is joined by Nono Madolo, Marianne Knight and Celine Byrne who represent the different sounds and ethnicities of Ireland today. Joined by the UCD Choral Scholars and the RTE Concert Orchestra, this is a proud and passionate song. The second thing that I like about it is that it celebrates our Irish music while at the same time not pandering to Irish stereotypes. To all our thousands of International readers we all here in Ireland do not spend every day in the pub playing the fiddle and ride a horse and cart. Idyllic as it seems it is not an accurate picture of Ireland and our music.

For those that refuse to listen to anything but dance music, then this will not sit well with you. However there are plenty of people out there who beg to differ and Eurovision this year was won by a song that sounded more Irish than anything that we have entered ourselves in many a year. Shouldn’t a national final give the audience a choice?

Ireland has only once sent a song in our native Irish language to Eurovision – “Ceol an Ghrá” (“The Music of Love”) in 1972 by Sandie Jones. 1972 was an interesting year for the Irish entry which we have written about here. There are still countries that each year still send songs to Eurovision that are in their native language. Granted that most people in Ireland are not strong at using the Irish language and could probably remember more French and German from their teenage studies, but there is a growing interest in the Irish language from teenagers today. This is partly due to how the language is taught in schools but also to the growth in Irish language TV that is modern and contemporary.

Some weeks ago we posted a video of a young Irish group singing Avicii’s “Wake Me Up” in Irish or “As Gaeilge” as we say here. The reaction was phenomenal. People either loved or loathed it ( and I hate to use that word but some people were filled with such venom for their own Irish language it was rather shocking). What you cannot deny is that their performance has gained over 2 and a half million views and proves the fact that a good song sung in ANY language will be popular.

It seems that some Eurovision fans would cry at the thought of an Irish language song in the National Final nowadays. If they are certain that an act like that would not work in the contest then what do they have to fear?

The question I ask is why do people pander to those who manage to shout the loudest? The most followed national selection in Eurovision is that of Sweden. That did not happen over night and has not remained fixed in people’s Eurovision calendars for the reason of it being predictable. The choice of songs that they offer are modern to contemporary to traditional – and that is the key to being sustainable. How many of the thousands of European fans that travel to Stockholm every year for their Melodifestivalen pilgrimage complain about the songs sung in Swedish? Very few is the simple answer.

So is it time fro Ireland to take a look at our new Irish Society, celebrate it and showcase it!

Author/Website co-founder and Editor in Chief Garrett Mulhall

Source : Eurovision Ireland

3 replies »

  1. The song, The Fair Fair Land, sounds very similar – I mean VERY similar to a tune called ‘Amhrain Dochais’. It is also known as The Taoiseach’s Salute and is used at formal occasions to welcome the Taoiseach.

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