#THE REAL ME – Eurovision Memories from James Scanlan

We at Eurovision Ireland want to hear from you. Is there a song that really means something to you? Something that made you really fall in love with Eurovision? Something that you associate with a particular event in your life? In our ‘Real Me’ articles, we get to the root of why we can’t get enough of Eurovision.

Our next #TheRealMe Eurovision Memory comes from James Scanlan, who many of you will know as a Eurovision Ireland regular and author of Europe in a Day.

“My Eurovision Memory is connected to the song Poland sent in 2010, Legenda by Marcin Mroziński. I loved the song from the first time I heard it.. dramatic, a bit of a traditional influence, all good things for a Eurovision song! But it soon became the soundtrack to a very important journey,”

“2010 was the first time I ever went to Poland. But this wasn’t a typical city break. We went in search of our family history. My grandmother was born in a tiny village in what is now western Poland and had fled in the closing days of the Second World War. It had taken us years of research after she died, but we finally tracked down her village – and in the July of 2010, we set out to find it and see if the house she grew up in was still there.”

“With no nearby aiport, we couldn’t fly and had to take a bus from London to a nearby small town – meaning a roughly 19 hour journey across the continent by road. Being only a couple of weeks after the contest, I was listening to Eurovision on a loop for much of that time, and as we were heading to Poland, Legenda seemed to be the perfect song for the journey… za lasem, za górą… over forests, over mountains…”

“Armed with only an old photograph and a few basic phrases in Polish to help us, we made our way to the village . With only a few hundred people living here, it felt like we’d fallen from the edge of the map. A perfectly ordinary little place, all but silent and beautiful on the banks of a wild river. Eventually we found a young couple who spoke some English. We showed them the photograph and asked if they recognised the house. They studied the picture and began pointing at it, discussing something in Polish. They looked up and said maybe… “

“They led us down a unpaved street at the far end of the village, looking at the photo as they went. We looked around us, studying each of the small stone houses we passed. Was this it? Was this the street my grandmother played in as a little girl all those years ago? The couple stopped a few feet in front of us, next to a white house with a brown roof and a stone wall around it. They glanced between the photo and the house, then beckoned us over. My hear rate quickened…”

“I studied every inch of the photo and the house, just to be sure. Every detail. The shutters on the windows. The wooden awnings. The chimney stacks… we had to be sure… we’d come so far… wondered for so many years… and here it was. We’d found it! The house my grandmother was born in was still here!!”

“As you can imagine, this trip to Poland was incredibly emotional for all of us and a defining moment in our lives. Listening to Legenda even today, I’m immediately taken back to the dusty streets of that quiet little village… where the story of my family began and remembering those whose footsteps we walk in, and loving them still even though they are no longer with us… feeling this love till the day when I die… our very own legenda!”

Do you have a song that means something to you? Tell us about it and you may feature in a future article.

Authors: James Scanlan, John Stanton

Source: Eurovision Ireland

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