Eurovision 2019

#INTERVIEW: Alba’s Joy Dunlop

Picture Source: BBC Alba

Joy Dunlop, the Choir Master of the Scottish Choir ‘Alba’, has kindly taken time out of their busy rehearsal schedule to answer some questions in the lead-up to tonight’s Eurovision Choir from Gothenburg.

What is it like been part of Scotland’s first participation at a Eurovision Contest and how did you get involved?

“I am thrilled to have been given the opportunity to be part of Scotland’s first participation at a Eurovision Contest – I am both a huge Eurovision fan and a massive choir geek, so this is the perfect meeting of these two worlds! The fact that we will be Scotland’s first ever Eurovision representation is just so special – we’re unbelievably excited.”

When BBC Alba first announced their participation at Eurovision Choir, what was the reaction like?

“It’s been hugely positive – everyone seems to be so happy for us and the amount of good feeling out there is truly inspiring. The fact that we’re singing in Scottish Gaelic is the icing on the cake!”

Before you arrived in Gothenburg, you flew out to Tel Aviv for the Eurovision Song Contest on a fact-finding mission. How was that?

“Amazing! I’ve always dreamed of going to Eurovision and to get the chance to not only attend, but to interview acts and immerse myself in the Eurovision bubble was something special. I couldn’t believe how warm and welcome everyone was – it really does feel like one big family.”

‘Alba’ have been specially formed for Eurovision Choir. How easy was that?

“It has been a challenge, but a really enjoyable one – everyone has worked so hard and really poured their heart and soul into preparations. I’m really impressed by how my choristers have risen to this challenge and they’re now looking and sounding better than I’d ever thought possible.”

How have rehearsals been going, prior to and since arriving in Gothenburg?

“Rehearsals have been busy, but very productive. We had worked really hard before arriving in Gothenburg, but these couple of days havre given us the perfect opportunity to fine tune our performances and soak up everything involved in Eurovision Choir!”

‘Alba’ will be performing songs specifically composed for the Contest. How special is this for the Choir to be bringing Scottish Gaelic to the forefront of a Eurovision Contest?

“To me, the fact that we’re singing in Scottish Gaelic is the most important part of this whole project. We our hugely proud of our native language and culture and the fact we’re getting the opportunity to show it to the world is unbelievably important. The show will be broadcasted live in 10 different countries and hopefully will introduce a whole new European audience to our language and culture.”

A special Tartan has also been produced for ‘Alba’ to wear. What does this mean to you and the Choir?

“To have our own tartan created especially for the competition is so special – not only because it marks the occasion forever, but also it’s a lovely gift to the choir to thank them for all their hard work. I think that the tartan is really beautiful and I can’t wait for everyone to see it!”

What do you make of the competition and is a place in the super-final a realistic possibility?

The level of choral singing in the competition is just fantastic – I have been blown away, but the level of talent that all the choirs have shown. Everyone has their unique styles and strengths and the judges definitely have their work cut out! Whilst we would love to gain a place in the final, I’ll be more than happy to just go out there and sing our hearts out :)”

Do you have a message for all your Irish fans?

“Gur míle maith agaibh / Ceud mìle taing dhuibh uile! We’re so happy for your support and all the kind messages – here’s hoping that we’ll see you guys in the competition next time!”

Finally, where can we find ‘Alba’ on Social Media?

“You can find me at @joydunlop across all social media and also, check out @bbcalba too for lots of clips and further information.”

We would like to thank Joy for taking time out of her busy schedule for answering our questions. Everyone here at Eurovision Ireland would like to wish Joy and ‘Alba’ the very best of luck for tonight’s Eurovision Choir.

Author: Richard Taylor

Source: Eurovision Ireland

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