GreenJolly – Orange Revolution 2004 Mastermind

Eurovision Song Contest 2005 participant

Ukraine’s Eurovision entrant sparks political row

TANYA NOLAN: Ukraine is again embroiled in a political row, but this time it’s not to do with the country’s presidency, rather its entrant in the Eurovision Song Contest.

The song in question began its life as an anthem for protestors in last year’s Orange Revolution, which brought Viktor Yushchenko to power. But that hasn’t impressed organisers who’ve told the Ukrainian band involved to tone it down.

ABC Correspondent Emma Griffiths reports.

(song excerpt)

EMMA GRIFFITHS: “Together we are many, we will not be defeated.” So goes the chorus of the song by Ukrainian rap duo Greenjolly. Their song is Ukraine’s pick for winning this year’s Eurovision Song Contest.

But the lyrics go on to say, “No falsifications, no lies, no machinations, yes Yushchenko”.

(song excerpt)

All too political for Eurovision’s organisers. They want those lyrics changed, and so Greenjolly has been sitting in their Kiev studio day and night, re-writing their revolutionary anthem.

President of the band’s record company, Andre Darkovsky (phonetic).

ANDRE DARKOVSKY: We think our… the name of our President and those few words which were the matter of concern of Eurovision that denies us, but in general the song is the same, a (inaudible) revolutionary song with the same meaning.

(song excerpt)

EMMA GRIFFITHS: The anthem of the Orange Revolution is a controversial choice in Ukraine too. Under Eurovision rules, a country’s entrant is voted in by television viewers, but the new government intervened when it became apparent that a singer who had supported the old regime was about to win.

At the request of the Yushchenko Government, Greenjolly was a last-minute entrant, skipping the heats and going straight to the finals.

Last year’s winner, Ukraine’s Ruslana, hedged her bets during the country’s recent political turmoil, starting the election campaign with the incumbents and switching to the new Orange Army halfway through.

(Ruslana song excerpt)

But Eurovision is no stranger to such political scandals. It was set up 50 years ago with the aim of uniting Europe in song, and since then, most European countries have been accused of imbuing the peaceful protest with a political edge.

Perhaps worst for Ukraine’s current entrant is the accusation that Greenjolly just doesn’t suit the Eurovision style – too revolutionary, too gritty, not pop. For those who say the contest is an assault on the senses and the ultimate in bad taste, perhaps Greenjolly will come as a welcome relief.

This is Emma Griffiths reporting for The World Today.

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