Posted by Andrew Bell
Since 1956 many ESC songs have become popular or celebrated or infamous.
There are few that have become beloved.
And those that are dearly loved are very often songs of a certain time & place in the competition’s history or the lifespan of the individual countries taking part.
They are rarely winners of the competition, they became beloved by being what they were and what they represented at the time and what they still represent.
They are modern equivalents of folk tales handed from generation to generation.
Each country has at least one beloved song, treasured & still enjoyed.
Here’s Norway’s, which I stumbled upon one morning in a Melbourne internet cafe and have been somewhat obsessed with ever since.
It’s 1960 and television came to Norway.
And the public broadcaster Norsk rikskringkasting was ready to be represented in the Eurovision Song Contest.
It came fourth and that, seemingly, was that.
But “that” was only the start of the phenomenon.
In a country with a single television service the catchy ditty became a regular attraction in various, and sometimes exotic forms.
For baby boomer Norwegians “Voi Voi” was the soundtrack of their life and they couldn’t walk away from it.
There are ways of telling how an ESC song becomes beloved.
It gets revived.
It gets re-invented a little.
It gets a little camped up.
Then the ultimate. It gets sampled by the kids of the people who first heard it when they were kids and made into a “reinkarnasjon”.
And if you are still unconvinced at how deep the affection is for “Voi Voi”, then here’s the clincher.
52 years on contemporary Norwegian artists competing to represent their country in Baku performed it with a warmth and enthusiasm that is breathtaking in its generosity.
And 89-year-old Nora Brockstedt is on hand to witness what her song means to her fellow country men and women.
The past isn’t rubbished or freeze-dried as tradition for tradition’s sake.
“Voi Voi” stays in the present tense, but remains rooted in past pride.
A grandfather and his grand-daughter can share this moment – many did.
It’s remarkable that such an unremarkable song counts for so much.
It’s in the sharing, perhaps, that its strength lies and its beloved status emerges.
And you don’t need to be Norwegian to feel that love.
Takk, takk tusen takk Nora og “Voi Voi”