To follow Mr D’s rather wonderous Finnish vault – which is in purely because it can be, despite it being a good song – I’ve followed his lead by putting in Shiru. But not for the reasons that you think.
Firstly, I love this song. It’s Israeli, it’s early 90’s. It’s everything a 15-year-old Eurovision fan wanted (and indeed, still does at 39!).
The problems started, though, at the contest itself. First off, lets look at the performance that won Shiru Group the ticket from Jerusalem to Millstreet.
Perfectly serviceable song that. Just the right balance of voices and sideways strutting. However, things were not all milk and honey (see what I did there) as the wonderfully-named Shaike Paikov has said on andtheconductoris.eu:
“It is a long and complicated story… to begin with, I did not want to participate in the 1993 Kdam at all. A couple of days before the submission deadline, Sarah’le Sharon called me. She is quite famous in Israel, being a TV personality and working across the country to organize sing-along concerts of folk music, but… she is not a singer! I knew her very well, as I had been her music teacher in the Ashdot Yaakov kibbutz in the early 1960s. On the phone, she told me she wanted to participate in the Kdam Eurovision – not even to win, just to be there and compete. …I told her the Kdam was a competition for twelve young people jumping around the stage like madmen, with the best of them being selected for the Eurovision Song Contest – not exactly an environment tailor-made for a forty-five-year-old woman. Sarah, however, did not take no for an answer and kept begging me, claiming that it would be the dream of her life to be in the Kdam with a song written by me. She even wanted to finance part of the project from her own money.”
How could one refuse? I hear you cry – well he didn’t.
“in the end, Paikov succumbed to Sarah’le Sharon’s pleas and composed ‘Shiru’. “Yes, I agreed to write a song”, he admits, “on the condition that I was given permission to form a group of young people around Sarah to do the singing. I explicitly told Sarah that, if she opened her mouth, she would kill the song. … In the Kdam, Sarah was at the piano, but the focus of the cameras was on the vocal group. Therefore, we managed to win the pre-selection.”
Get it to Millstreet though, and the problems really start…
Paikov continues :
“After the first rehearsal, we sat with the woman who was the director of the contest (Anita Notaro, BT). All of a sudden, Sarah had an attitude, behaving as if she was the main singer and the five others merely backed her up. For that reason, she claimed the cameras should focus on her. In doing so, she completely ignored the ideas we had given to the Irish organisation about what we wanted the stage presentation to look like”
Therefore, I went to the director afterwards to talk to her in private, explaining that Sarah was there for other reasons than her vocal qualities. By that time, this director was very annoyed by the whole situation, but she agreed to change the camera approach after all and focus on the group rather than on Sarah, who was at the piano in the back. That should have been the end of the discussion, but it was not! When we did the next rehearsal, we were extremely surprised to see that all cameras focused on Sarah once again. What had happened? Soon, it came about Sarah had given a phone call to the director and told her that she was the singer of the group after all. There we were… it was obviously impossible to ask of the director to adapt the camera work again, as she was very aggressive towards us and even claimed she would exclude us from the competition if we bothered her again about the camera approach”
So you got this :
Complete with dodgy camera work, a backing singer that shouldn’t have been in the final shot, and Sarah and *her* group not being in any way connected to the original song that had come to Millstreet 6 days earlier!
To top this off – and what really gets it into the vault – is this remix. I shall say nothing…