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Welcome to Israel - a local view!

Eran on Thu, 05/02/2019 - 17:14

כיכר השעון ביפו מגדל שעון תל אביב - יפו Clock tower  Square Jaffa Tel Aviv Israel

Hi guys, it's Eran again, here's some info and tips for people visiting Tel-Aviv for Eurovision.

About Tel Aviv
Here’s some info about the real star, the host city of this year’s Eurovision, Tel Aviv, or officially Tel Aviv-Yafo. It’s a rather young city, only 110 years old, also known as “The First Hebrew City”, “The White City”, "The City That Never Sleeps" and “The Capital of Cool”. It’s the 2nd largest city in Israel after Jerusalem, and considered to be its younger more modern little sister.

What to see in Tel Aviv?
For those of you coming from Europe, you might think the city is too Americanized, and you won’t be so wrong about that. Tourists have said it remind them of Southern California. Unlike a big European city, you won’t come across historical monuments that often, we’re writing history right now. Every neighborhood in Tel Aviv offers a different vibe and atmosphere. If you want to walk through the old neighborhoods and explore some of the city’s history, you can start at Jaffa’s Old City and Port, and have a visit at the flea market, or tour the Neve Tzedek neighborhood. Check out Tel-Aviv beaches and the beach promenade if you’re looking for some fun in the sun. If you’re interested in art, you can pay a visit to the Tel Aviv Museum, Nahum Gutman Museum of Art or the Eretz Israel Museum. There’s also some great shopping in Tel Aviv, visit HaCarmel Market and Levinski Market for grocery shopping. Azrieli Mall and Dizingoff Center are both of Tel Aviv most popular shopping centers. For those looking for more luxury boutique items, TLV Fashion Mall boasts some of the hottest brands in fashion. If you’re rich - you can go straight to Kikar Hamedina (wink, wink). Two of the biggest parks around are Hayarkon Park or Gnei Yehoshua, where you can jog or just lay in the sun.
For more information on current events and other recommendations, please visit Secret Tel Aviv (https://www.secrettelaviv.com/).

Introduction - Israeli correspondent for Eurovision 2019

Eran on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 09:29

Welcome to Israel guys, my name is Eran, I’m 37 years old (quite old, I know), from Israel.
I’ll be joining the ESCKAZ team this year for the coverage of the 64th Eurovision Song Contest in Tel-Aviv, Israel.

About me:
So you know my age, what else do you want to know? My Eurovision background is it? I’ve been watching the contest since 1989, when Gili and Galit went out of tune on the stage in Lausanne. I’ve been watching the show every year since then, with some exception of puberty years in which I thought I was too cool for Eurovision (I wasn’t). I attended two contests so far: 2008 in Belgrade and 2018 in Lisbon, where the excitement was real for me as an Israeli.
Nowadays I’m one of the managers of the Israeli fan Facebook group EurovisionIL and having my own blog for the past 3 years now called “EurovisionMadrich” (in full Hebrew).
I love Eurovision since I see it as an escapist entity, which we’re guaranteed once a year. Every Eurovision that you go and re-watch is like a time capsule and it’s fascinating to see how music, style and fashion have changed. I’m old school, so you’d catch me watching some old 60’s Eurovisions every now and then. Also love statistics and the voting gives us some more of these every year.
I think this year is one of the best years of the decade, songs quality wise. The diversity is amazing and I feel the contest has opened up to new musical concepts and up-to-date musical styles. I have a few favorites this year: Portugal has brought an amazing eclectic piece. "Telemóveis" by Conan Osíris blends a lot of genres, from Portuguese folk to Mediterranean vibes and elctro and techno sounds. The Icelandic entry, "Hatrið mun sigra" by Hatari is a “in your face” type of song, angry Industrial Metal, with angelic chorus, that keeps you wonder are they real or are they trolling? Slovenia is sending one of my favorite Slovenian contemporary artists, the duo Zala Kralj & Gašper Šantl. “Sebi” is an enchanting ambient-pop track with superb sad, yet optimistic lyrics. Then there’s also Austria, The Netherlands, Georgia (yes!), Hungary, Armenia, Italy and Spain. Love them all for different reasons. My least favorite song this year is the song from Croatia. I’m afraid “The Dream” by Roko is not really my style, a bit old-fashioned and probably too dramatic for me. Nonetheless, he’s a very good performer. I would mention also the songs from Germany, Moldova and Montenegro as songs I would not put on my playlist, no offense.

We're heading toward a really interesting and exciting event, and I wish all of you who are coming a great stay and a wonderful Eurovision experience. For all of you that will be watching the show from home, I hope the Eurovision vibes and excitement will shine through the screen.
Watch out for my next post, coming up in a few days, with some tips for visitors.

See you soon :)

Goodbye Lisbon and see you in Jerusalem

Andy on Sat, 05/12/2018 - 23:45

That is the end of the Eurovision Song Contest 2018. That was quite an ordinary year with no special highlights or achievements. Israel victory is something opposite to Portugal victory last year, and confirms once again how unpredictable Eurovision is. Hopefully they will build organization-wise on the big success of Israel Calling event.

A few words about organization of this year - there were numerous unhappy posts from my colleagues - I think Portugal coped well for their first opportunity to host a big event like this. A massive downgrade was of course the lack of free transportation cards - I realize this is something we all were taking as a must, when it was not - but then this should have been communicated properly before the Euroweek. To be honest a few of us are leaving country with less than 10 Euros in pockets. Then - a massive security, which was very uncomfortable at times - especially Eurovillage, come on, this is a regular square event for the country and was open every year before Kyiv. Then the list of items that could not be brought in to the press center - umbrellas? drugs without prescription of doctor? (a lot of us got a cold due to changing weather) selfie sticks? I'm amased how in the years with the most tight secutiry surrounding the contest, we still get stage intruders.

And then AGAIN - no interview lists and nobody knew how to handle the interviews properly. Throwing Heads of Delegations out of interview area because they can't give interviews there without booking a room, and they can not book one because all rooms are booked and even can't use chairs in corridor? Really? Sorry, have to mention in a negative way a guy called Pedro who was responsible for the interview rooms. Never in past year we had a problem accessing interview room whenever we wanted it. That's not how the things should be run, sorry man. Little knowing people with power is a problem at many Eurovisions though.

On the positive side - we had loads of free water, coffee and tea, and press-center itself operated in a quite convenient way. I almost saw no volunteers which is a good sign, the best volunteer is the one that is not interfering in the work of press. The Lisboa card was a good addition, but it could have been explained it is not a transport ticket and is in fact valid for 24h. I liked Euroclub a lot - finally back to the real club athmosphere - small, but quite nice. Night transportation was quite convenient if you keep on to schedule. Eurovillage was packed with people and was a success too, Red carpet was quite long but organized good so all those side events worked well. My colleagues especially enjoyed press tour of AMP associates. Oh, and the app. Finally an app which is fully functional and informative. Great job on this.

Lisbon is a great city to visit with excellent music stage - I've attended 4 concerts - 2 of which were of local artists, 1 from US and 1 from Sweden. Amazing time. We also had some great travels around the city. The city itself is a best point of interest - all the museums and other venues with paid entries are mostly done to attract tourists though, so may well be skipped. The best way to explore is just to walk around the city, or get on the public transport (tram or bus) and enjoy views from the window. There are also amazing surroundings so if you're here, don't spend all of your time in Lisbon itself.

It was an OK year for #TeamKAZ. We had a 1.5 mln Youtube views during Euroweek (not counting last two days which statistically should bring even bigger figures), so that was quite successful, considering new rules regarding rehearsals filming.

Ruslana presents her wild energy

Desiree on Fri, 05/11/2018 - 21:42

Not far from the Altice Arena the Ukrainian winner of the 2004 edition of the ESC took time to speak to the gathered press, with complementary drinks supplied. The press meeting took place in the exclusive Myriad Hotel, on the river shore not far from the Altice Arena.

In her speech she declared that her biggest dream is to unite people from around the world for clean, renewable energy. Ruslana also calls for Eurovision as a source of clean energy as it is needed to win. She has been looking for energy sources in the Carpathian Mountains and wants to stop the deforestation.

Tomorrow she will perform in the Eurovillage as well as during the Grand Final, where she will present her single 'My Mystery'. Her band will be on stage with her during the performance and she will play ancient musical instruments from the Carpathian Mountains.

We also spoke to her briefly after the event. You will find the full speech, the videos she presented as well as our short interview below:

Press event Ruslana in Lisbon

German Embassy Reception with Cláudia Pascoal, Michael Schulte and Mariza

AidaK on Fri, 05/11/2018 - 14:04

On the occasion of Eurovision in Lisbon, the German embassy held a reception in the garden of the Goethe-Institut.
After welcoming words of the Ambassador Helmut Elfenkämper, the Director of the Goethe-Institut of Lisbon Elisabeth Völpel and the Head of German Eurovision Delegation Christoph Pellander, the stage has been opened for Eurovision contestants.
As Portuguese representor Cláudia Pascoal sang her entry “O Jardim” supported by the composer of the song Isaura Santos.
Of course, the main act was the performance of the German participant. He sang the ballad “Collide” from his new album “Hold the Rhythm” and his entry “You Let Me Walk Alone”. As a bonus, Michael performed a medley of “Fly on the Wings of Love” (in Danish), “Satellite” and “Amar Pelos Dois” (in Portuguese).
During a “commercial break” when the audience waited for the next musical surprise, Michael and the host of the German national Final Linda Zervakis were chatting along. However, even if they ran out of topics very soon, Linda and Michael managed the situation by joking around like the hosts of actual Eurovision Song Contest.
The surprise guest was Portuguese fado singer Mariza who performed in a characteristic dramatic way the song “Trigueirinha” (“the darkhaired girl”) from her new album and a classic fado ballade “Quem me dera” (“if only”) accompanied by a Portuguese guitar. Starting her show in a theatric manner by stepping out of the audience Mariza finished it in same way.
It’s not to say if the reception will help Michael Schulte marketing-wise, but the bookmakers already see him making 6th place in the Final. Fingers crossed!

Semifinal 2 qualifiers

Andy on Thu, 05/10/2018 - 23:00

The following ten countries have qualified for the Grand Final (in order of announcement):
Serbia: Nova Deca by Sanja Ilić & Balkanika
Moldova: My Lucky Day by DoReDoS
Hungary: Viszlát Nyár by AWS
Ukraine: Under The Ladder by MELOVIN
Sweden: Dance You Off by Benjamin Ingrosso
Australia: We Got Love by Jessica Mauboy
Norway: That's How You Write A Song by Alexander Rybak
Denmark: Higher Ground by Rasmussen
Slovenia: Hvala, ne! by Lea Sirk
The Netherlands: Outlaw In 'Em by Waylon

Backstage day with DoReDos (Moldova)

Andy on Wed, 05/02/2018 - 09:53

Delegation of Moldova had their first rehearsal yesterday and we were invited to follow the day with them - so we can show some backstage footage starting from the arrival, passing through control and getting to the Delegation Bubble, then Dressing Room, rehearsing there, moving to in-ear rehearsal, final things before getting on stage, and after the rehearsal getting to the viewing room. It was followed by Hair & Make-up consultation, Eurovision.tv interview and then delegation moved to Press-conference area and interviews.

In the video you can briefly spot: Julia Samoylova, Dmitry Melnikov, Yuri Aksiuta, Alexander Rybak, Balkanika, Henric von Zweigbergk, Ola Melzig, Christer Björkman, Jon Ola Sand and all time on screen are all Moldova delegation members starting from D1s Vitalie Cojocaru, Philipp Kirkorov and Dmitrii Sergeev, D2 Ivan Luca and D3 artists Marina Djundiet, Eugeniu Andrianov, Sergiu Mîța, Erik Høiby , Sara Linnea Larsson and Konstantin Vechersky.

Due to the filming restrictions the video does not include any footage of the on stage rehearsal itself, but we present a video from the dressing room rehearsal with Alex Panayi.

Music video for Portuguese entry presented

Andy on Mon, 04/30/2018 - 13:14

The singer, who will represent Portugal at the Eurovision Song Contest-2018, recently has presented her video.

Claudia Pascoal will surprise Europe with her sensual song "O jardim". She decided not to change the tradition and will perform her song in her native Portuguese.

The composition was written by a Portuguese singer and composer Isaura. According to her this song, is dedicated to her beloved grandmother, who is no longer alive. And she wanted to create something that would put them together forever. Claudia gave the voice to this song.

"We all miss someone who is no longer among us. And the song is about it, "Claudia said.

The clip of the song was decided to be shot in the studio.

"We wanted this video to be understandable for everyone, regardless of culture and from which country the people are. We would like people from all over Portugal to join us - and in our video there are 10 people of different sex and different age categories. "
The entire clip was shot on a green background. This color is made up of blue and yellow colors, that are Heaven and Earth, so this color has mystical properties and it is also associated with plants in the garden, which is emphasized by the line in the song: "My house has become a flower. Now that you are not there, I water my garden. "

The minimum number of requisites was used. The main one was a table on which we can see the books that Grandmother used to read to all the children and the tangle from which she used to knit for her relatives. In general, there were many big plans to emphasize the emotions that we express, feeling emptiness.

According to the rules of "Eurovision" Portugal, as a host country immediately falls into the Grand final, so the result we will see already on May, 12 in Lisbon.