Björn Skifs

Jill Johnson releases duet album with former Eurovision and Melodifestivalen participants

Jill Johnson - Duetterna

Today the new album from Swedish pop star and former Eurovision participant Jill Johnson is being released. It consists of 15 duets, all with well known established names, of which many are familiar names to followers of the Eurovision Song Contest and Melodifestivalen.

Jill Johnson - Duetterna

Jill Johnson - Duetterna

An album from former Eurovision participant Jill Johnson, which consists of 15 duets. Most of them with well known names to followers of the Eurovision Song Contest and Melodifestivalen.

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Spirited antics from Måns and Lena in musical Spök

Spök! © cirkus.se

Cobwebs are being dusted off an old musical as we speak, with Lena Philipsson and Måns Zelmerlöw preparing hard, due to bring fun and frolics from the stage in Stockholm from mid Septemberand until the end of the year.

Björn Skifs to Break The Spell on new album released in a few days

Björn Skifs - Break The Spell - Album cover

On the 16th of November Björn Skifs, double Swedish Eurovision Song Contest participant, will release a new album. The title song from this album has already been well recieved leaving high expectations for the album, that is entirely in English and includes a duet performed at the wedding of the Swedish Crown Princess Viktoria.

Björn Skifs - Break The Spell

Björn Skifs - Break The Spell - Album cover

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Former Eurovision & Melodifestivalen participants to appear in Allsång på Skansen 2011

Allsång på Skansen 2011 ©  Johanna Berglund

The popular swedish tv program Allsång på Skansen has been aired for decades in Sweden. Many of this years guests has represented Sweden in the Eurovision Song Contest or participated in the swedish national selection Melodifestivalen. The new host for the show is a well known name for those who followed Melodifestivalen in recent years - Måns Zelmerlöw.

1981

1981 Logo ©  EBU
Basic information
Date: 
4 April 1981
Venue: 
Royal Dublin Society, Simmonscourt Pavilion, Dublin, Ireland
Broadcaster: 
RTE
Presenter(s): 
Doireann Ni Bhriain
About the contest: 

The 1981 contest brought a fourth victory for the United Kingdom. Bucks Fizz had been formed especially to perform Making Your Mind Up and included former CoCo member, Cheryl Baker. The performance is better remembered than the song. Bobby Gee and Mike Nolan had the onerous task of ripping the skirts off Cheryl and Jay Aston. Although formed for the contest, Bucks Fizz went on to have a very successful career, despite one or two ups and downs along the way, including Mike Nolan nearly losing his life in a road accident.

Cheryl was not the only singer entering the contest again. Marty Brem had been part of Blue Danube the year before, Jean Claude Pascal had won for Luxembourg 20 years earlier, Tommy Seebach represented Denmark two years earlier. Björn Skifs was back for the second time and Peter, Sue and Mark returned for the fourth and final time singing in Italian, making it four songs in four languages.

Twenty countries travelled to Dublin, including another newcomer to the Eurovision family, Cyprus. Morocco withdrew after entering just once and Italy also decided that it had had enough, although it would return to the fold two years later. Yugoslavia returned after a five year sabbatical and Israel also came back after withdrawing for one year.

The voting system continued to be the awarding of points by national juries, ranging from 1-8, then 10 and finally 12.

About the songs: 
Marty BremMarty Brem Austria - Marty Brem - Wenn Du Da Bist (German)

Music/Lyrics: Werner Böhmler/ Werner Böhmler

Conductor: Richard Österreicher

With strong support of four dancers (including one wearing a leotard, leg warmers and an American football helmet – odd but strangely appealing), this was Marty’s second appearance in Eurovision in two years, having been part of Blue Danube the year before - Austria was drawn first then, too. This time, he sang a pleasant, but unremarkable ballad.

 Modern Folk Trio and AysegülModern Folk Trio and Aysegül Turkey - Modern Folk Trio and Aysegül - Dönme Dolap (Turkish)

Music/Lyrics: Ali Kocatepe/Ali Kocatepe

Conductor: Onno Tunc

From their outfits to their choreography, the Turkish quartet were more traditional than modern. There is a bit of Staying Alive style strings, but otherwise it’s all very tame.

 Lena ValaitisLena Valaitis Germany - Lena Valaitis - Johnny Blue (German)

Music/Lyrics: Ralph Siegel/ Bernd Meinunger

Conductor: Wolfgang Rődelberger

Siegel and Meinunger are better known for their schlager anthems, but this is a distinct diversion. It’s a sentimental ballad about a lonely boy. The performance featured a rare appearance by the harmonica.

 Jean-Claude PascalJean-Claude Pascal Luxembourg - Jean-Claude Pascal - C'est Peut-être Pas L'amérique (French)

Music/Lyrics: Sophie Makhno, Jean-Claude Pascal/ Sophie Makhno, Jean-Claude Pascal

Conductor: Joel Rocher

When he won the contest in 1961, Jean-Claude was an old fashioned crooner and 20 years later, he hadn’t changed a bit. He stood fairly still throughout and waved his hands a lot during his performance of this traditional French ballad.

 HabibiHabibi Israel - Habibi - Halaylah (Hebrew)

Music/Lyrics: Shuki Levi/Shlomit Aharoni, Yuval Dor

Conductor: Eldad Shrem

The Israelis are not averse to a bit of swaying from side to side during their songs. There was plenty of it to accompany this decent disco effort.

 Debbie Cameron and Tommy SeebachDebbie Cameron and Tommy Seebach Denmark - Debbie Cameron and Tommy Seebach - Krøller Eller Ej (Danish)

Music/Lyrics: Tommy Seebach/Keld Heick

Conductor: Allan Botschinsky

Tommy had represented Denmark two years earlier in Jerusalem and Debbie was one of his backing singers. As with his previous effort, this is a disco number and, also like before, Debbie prances around as if she’s got ants in her knickers. 

 Seid-Memic VajtaSeid-Memic Vajta Yugoslavia - Seid-Memic Vajta - Leila (Serbo-Croat)

Music/Lyrics: Ranko Boban/Ranko Boban

Conductor: Ranko Rihtman

This was Yugoslavia’s first entry since 1976. It’s a sincere ballad which is nice to listen to but lacks much to stay in the memory.  

 Riki SorsaRiki Sorsa Finland - Riki Sorsa - Reggae O.K. (Finnish)

Music/Lyrics: Jim Pembroke/Olli Ojala

Conductor: Otto Donner

Reggae purists would have a strong case if they argued that this is not of that genre. The song aside, Riki’s outfit is more likely to be seen on a children’s entertainer than your average Jamaican.  

 Jean GabilouJean Gabilou France - Jean Gabilou - Humanahum (French)

Music/Lyrics: Jean-Paul Cara/Joel Gracy

Conductor: David Springfield

More than worthy of its third place, Humanahum is a beautiful French ballad which flows effortlessly and was given a very strong performance by Jean.  

 BacchelliBacchelli Spain - Bacchelli - Y Solo Tú (Spain)

Music/Lyrics: Amado Jaen/Amado Jaen

Conductor: Juan Barcons

The Spanish song is a gentle Disco number, the sort which is played towards closing time when the guys are looking to make a move on the lady they’ve been looking at all night.

 Linda WilliamsLinda Williams The Netherlands - Linda Williams - Het Is Een Wonder (Dutch)

Music/Lyrics: Cees de Wit, Bart van der Laar/Cees de Wit, Bart van der Laar

Conductor: Rogier van Otterloo

The formally attired Linda and her equally formally suited band gave us a very Dutch song which is mid tempo in pace, flows freely and is nice if unspectacular. 

 SheebaSheeba Ireland - Sheeba - Horoscopes (English)

Music/Lyrics: Jim Kelly/Joe Burkett

Conductor: Noel Kelehan

Lyrically different songs are always welcome and this does exactly what it says on the tin. It dismisses the attraction of horoscopes while the three ladies dance neatly in their futuristic (ish) outfits. The song remains a fan favourite today.

 Finn KalvikFinn Kalvik Norway - Finn Kalvik - Aldri I Livet (Norwegian)

Music/Lyrics: Finn Kalvik/Finn Kalvik

Conductor: Sigurd Jansen

Songs performing immediately before or after the winning song often finish last. Finn can count himself very unlucky to have done so with his understated and simple ballad. He certainly didn’t deserve not to score. 

 Bucks FizzBucks Fizz United Kingdom - Bucks Fizz - Making Your Mind Up (English)

Music/Lyrics: Andy Hill, John Danter/Andy Hill, John Danter

Conductor: John Coleman

The removing of the skirts ensured the song, which gave the United Kingdom its fourth victory, would be one of the most memorable in the history of the contest. Making Your Mind Up is an up tempo, catchy bit of fun, but you can’t help feeling there were more worthy winners competing against it.  

 Carlos PaiãoCarlos Paião Portugal - Carlos Paião - Playback (Portuguese)

Music/Lyrics: Carlos Paião/Carlos Paião

Conductor: Shegundo Galarza

His backing singers were dressed in boiler suits and were given a silly dance routine to perform. Carlos didn’t fare much better, although the song isn’t as bad as its placing might suggest.

 Emly StarrEmly Starr Belgium - Emly Starr - Samson (Flemish)

Music/Lyrics: Kick Dandy, Giuseppe Marchese/Kick Dandy, Penny Els

Conductor: Giuseppe Marchese

Leggy Emly was dressed appropriately as she sang about one of the Bibles most famous characters. The song itself has a very memorable hook and was worthy of its position among the favourites before the contest. The juries thought differently, placing Belgium in the bottom half.

 Yiannis DimitrasYiannis Dimitras Greece - Yiannis Dimitras - Feggari Kalokerino (Greek)

Music/Lyrics: Yiannis Dimitras, Yiorgos Niacgros/Yiannis Dimitras

Conductor: Yiorgos Niacgros

Yiannis spent the first half of his song serenading his pianist, who in turn seemed to be concentrating hard on the keys in front of her. The song is an almost instantly forgettable ballad

 IslandIsland Cyprus - Island - Monika (Greek)

Music/Lyrics: Doros Georghiades/Stavros Sideras

Conductor: Michalis Rozakis

Island were a two male/two female group supported by two musicians. They got the Cypriot participation in the contest off to a strong start with a comfortable finish in the top ten. The song is quite repetitive but pleasant enough.  

 Peter, Sue and MarcPeter, Sue and Marc Switzerland - Peter, Sue and Marc - Io Senza Te (Italian)

Music/Lyrics: Peter Reber/Peter Reber, Nella Martinetti

Conductor: Rolf Zuckowski

While this song achieved Peter, Sue and Marc's joint highest placing, many feel it should have won. The Swiss trio tried for the fourth and final time to win the contest and must have fancied their chances. It’s a beautiful ballad which uses the pan pipes with haunting effect. Usually, Sue had the majority of the singing, but this time, it was Marc who did most of the vocals. No wonder they didn’t enter again, if they didn’t win with this, they were never going to win.

 Björn SkifsBjörn Skifs Sweden - Björn Skifs - Fångad I En Dröm (Swedish)

Music/Lyrics: Björn Skifs, Bengt Palmers/Björn Skifs, Bengt Palmers

Conductor: Anders Berglund

Björn represented Sweden in 1979 with a ballad, this time he had written a soft rock song. He gave a restrained performance and was probably deserving of his place in the top ten.

1978

1978 Logo ©  EBU
Basic information
Date: 
22 April 1978
Venue: 
Palais des Congrès, Paris, France
Broadcaster: 
TF1
Presenter(s): 
Denise Fabre and Leon Zitrone
About the contest: 

The French organisers came up with the novel idea of showing the artists going from the green room to the stage. Between songs, the act who was about to perform got into a lift. At the bottom, they would greet the previous act before going on to the stage themselves.

Turkey and Denmark entered again, bringing the number of participants up to 20, a record at the time. Perhaps the best known act was Baccara, who had had a big Europe wide hit with the Disco anthem, Yes Sir, I Can Boogie. Jean Vallée represented Belgium for the second time, while Ireen Sheer sang for the second entry, this time for her adopted country, Germany. Future winner Cheryl Baker was part of Coco and Björn Skifs sang the first of his two entries for Sweden.

The 1978 contest gave the world Jahn Teigan. His over the top performance earned him the most famous ‘nul points’ in the history of the contest. You won’t hear him complaining though, as this notoriety helped his career no end. Someone else who did more than all right afterwards was Ireland’s Colm T. Wilkinson. He had a very successful career in musical theatre, including the role of Jean Valjean in Les Miserables, where he made the part his own and became recognised around the world as the characters premier exponent.

Trivia: 
Only the BBC could do this! British listeners tuning into the contest on their radios were listening to the Spanish song when it was interrupted for some travel news. The reporter was apologetic, gave the apparently vital information and normal broadcasting resumed.
About the songs: 
Colm T. WilkinsonColm T. Wilkinson Ireland - Colm T. Wilkinson - Born to Sing (English)

Music/Lyrics: Colm T. Wilkinson/Colm T. Wilkinson

Conductor: Noel Kelehan

Colm opened the contest by giving the best performance of the night. It was more than a little over the top, but totally genuine. Born to Sing tells the story of a man more committed to his music than any woman he meets.

 Jahn TeigenJahn Teigen Norway - Jahn Teigen - Mil Etter Mil (Norwegian)

Music/Lyrics: Kai Eide/Kai Eide

Conductor: Carsten Klouman

Other songs before and since have failed to score, but this is easily the most famous. It’s actually quite a nice song, but Jahn’s vocals were louder and a lot more intense than this essentially calm song needed. Maybe that’s why he received no points.

 Ricchi e PoveriRicchi e Poveri Italy - Ricchi e Poveri - Questo Amore (Italian)

Music/Lyrics: Dario Farina, Mauro Luisini/Sergio Bardotti

Conductor: Nicola Samare

This is arguably one of Italy’s weakest entries. It never really gets going, and the outfits didn’t help. 

Seija SimolaSeija Simola Finland - Seija Simola - Anna Rakkaudelle Tilaisuus (Finnish)

Music/Lyrics: Reijo Karvonen/Anna Rakkaudelle Tilaisuus, Seija Simola

Conductor: Ossi Runne

The Finnish song starts off very quietly and the volume increases only slightly for the chorus. There is an attempt at a big finish, but it’s more of a limp than a burst over the line.  

 GeminiGemini Portugal - Gemini - Dai-li-dou (Portuguese)

Music/Lyrics: Victor Maméde/Carlos Quintas

Conductor: Thilo Krassman

There are far too many repetitions of the title to keep the song interesting. Turn down the volume and enjoy the performance instead. 

 Joël PrévostJoël Prévost France - Joël Prévost - Il Y Aura Toujours Des Violons (French)

Music/Lyrics: Gèrard Stern/Didier Barbelivien

Conductor: Alain Goraguer

This has all the elements needed for a classic French ballad, but somehow manages to be as dull as the proverbial ditchwater. The fact it finished third was probably a case of home advantage.

 José VélezJosé Vélez Spain - José Vélez - Bailemos Un Vals (Spanish)

Music/Lyrics: Ramón Arcusa, Manuel de la Calva/ Ramón Arcusa, Manuel de la Calva

Conductor: Ramón Arcusa

Perhaps in an effort to please the hosts, there are a few words in French. The drama in Jose’s voice isn’t quite matched by the arrangement, but isn’t far away.

 Co-CoCo-Co United Kingdom - Co-Co - The Bad Old Days (English)

Music/Lyrics: Stephanie de Sykes/Stuart Slater

Conductor: Alyn Ainsworth

Until the slump which started at the end of the nineties, this was the worst placing for any United Kingdom entry. Dressed like escapees from the circus, Coco performed enthusiastically and eleventh place was slightly lower than the song, a jaunty sing along, deserved. 

 Carole VinciCarole Vinci Switzerland - Carole Vinci - Vivre (French)

Music/Lyrics: Alain Morisod/Pierre Alain

Conductor: Daniel Janin

Vivre moves along pleasantly enough at a mid-tempo pace. While it’s pleasant enough, it drifts along without going anywhere and is a bit forgettable.

 Jean ValléeJean Vallée Belgium - Jean Vallée - L'amour ça Fait Chanter La Vie (French)

Music/Lyrics: Jean Vallée/Jean Vallée

Conductor: Jean Muzy

Jean first appeared in the contest in 1970. This beautiful ballad oozes class and integrity. Jean remains seated at the piano for the first half of the song before standing up and moving to centre stage until the end. 

 HarmonyHarmony The Netherlands - Harmony - 't Is Ok (Dutch)

Music/Lyrics: Eddy Ouwens/Toon Gispen, Dick Kooiman

Conductor: Harry van Hoof

Swirling strings grab the listener from the first note and the song never releases its grip. The trio sing well enough and their dance routine is co-ordinated, if a little dated now.

 NazarNazar Turkey - Nazar - Sevinçe (Turkish)

Music/Lyrics: Daghan Baydur, Onno Tunc/Hulki Aktunc

Conductor: Onno Tunc

Three years after its debut in the contest, Turkey came back for its second entry. The ladies and gentlemen in the quartet split the singing duties evenly between themselves, sometimes harmonising. There are lots of strings and a definite Turkish flavour to the song.

 Ireen SheerIreen Sheer Germany - Ireen Sheer - Feuer (German)

Music/Lyrics: Erich Leissman, Jean Frankfurter/John Mőring

Conductor: Jean Frankfurter

Having represented Luxembourg four years earlier, Ireen carried the banner this time for the country which had given her most success. Feuer is an out and out Disco floor filler and Ireen’s performance is full of joy. 

 Caline and Olivier ToussaintCaline and Olivier Toussaint Monaco - Caline and Olivier Toussaint - Les Jardins De Monaco (French)

Music/Lyrics: Paul de Senneville, Olivier Toussaint/ Didier Barbelivien, Jean Albertini

Conductor: Yvon Rioland

The verses sound a little old fashioned, but the song is saved by a more punchy and catchy chorus. 

 Tania TsanaklidouTania Tsanaklidou Greece - Tania Tsanaklidou - Charlie Chaplin (Greek)

Music/Lyrics: Sakis Tsilikis/Yannis Xantoulis

Conductor: Haris Andreadis

Tania was suitably attired and, musically, the arrangement borrows some of the style from Chaplins era, stopping short of being completely Chaplinesque.

 MabelMabel Denmark - Mabel - Boom Boom (Danish)

Music/Lyrics: Mabel/Mabel

Conductor: Helmet Olesen

The Danes have always enjoyed having fun at Eurovision. This song was unlikely to be seen as the most credible musically, but would have cheered anyone up. A big bass drum was also brought on to add a bit more to the ‘boom booms’. 

 BaccaraBaccara Luxembourg - Baccara - Parlez-vous Français? (French)

Music/Lyrics: Rolf Soja/Frank Dostal, Peter Zenter

Conductor: Rolf Soja

Baccara had recently had a big hit with Yes Sir, I Can Boogie and this is very much part two of that song. The vocals were nothing more than ok and the choreography was sensibly simple.

 Izhar Cohen and the AlphabetaIzhar Cohen and the Alphabeta Israel - Izhar Cohen and the Alphabeta - Abanibi (Hebrew)

Music/Lyrics: Nurit Hirsh/Ehud Manor

Conductor: Nurit Hirsh

At first glance, the winner has the kind of title that critics of the contest point to in order to illustrate what they perceive as lyrical banality. The truth is that it uses the language Israeli children use to talk to each other. There are elements of Disco, complemented by Izhar’s white suit. 

 SpringtimeSpringtime Austria - Springtime - Mrs. Caroline Robinson (German)

Music/Lyrics: Walter Markel, Gerhard Markel/ Walter Markel, Gerhard Markel

Conductor: Richard Österreicher

The mysterious Mrs Robinson is the object of the singer’s affections.  The all male trio were dressed almost identically and each played a guitar.  

 Björn SkifsBjörn Skifs Sweden - Björn Skifs - Det Blir Alltid Värre Framåt Natten (Swedish)

Music/Lyrics: Peter Himmelstrand/Peter Himmelstrand

Conductor: Bengt Palmers

Like the Belgian song, this is a piano based ballad which stands out but somehow failed to gain the points from the juries that it deserved. Like Jean Vallée, Björn starts at the piano and finishes on his feet. 

Allsång på Skansen program includes many MF and Eurovision Song Contest acts

Allsång på Skansen ©  SVT

As usual several participants from Melodifestivalen and the Eurovision Song Contest are to found as guests in one of Sweden’s most popular TV programs. The 2009 season of Allsång på Skansen, which is also the 30th year anniversary, includes four Eurovision Song Contest participants, two of them winners and many Melodifestivalen acts.

Busy summer for Måns Zelmerlöw

Måns Zelmerlöw on tour ©  Carl-Johan Söder/SVT

This spring and summer will be very busy for Måns Zelmerlöw since he is touring Sweden and participating in various charity shows and tv shows.He will also be performing together with other well known MF names like Björn Skifs and Loa Falkman.

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