It’s funny how quite a few artists, not to mention whole countries (and yes, we’re looking at you Russia), tend to conveniently grow a social consciousness if they think it will better their chances of obtaining Eurovisional fame and glory. That kind of mawkish behavior might be blown off as not being awfully charming, but the world wants to be deceived and quite often it works. It doesn’t make it less despicable though. We for one can’t stand it. If you couldn’t care less about climate change, famine in Africa, wars, child labor or refugees drowning in The Mediterranean, then don’t pretend to either, find something else to sing about.
However, actually having engaged in and supported a cause a wee bit longer than for about five seconds before entering the stage will do wonders for anyone’s integrity and credibility. And please bear with us when we go all pseudo philosophical here, but Romania’s Eurovision entry this year really got us to think about these issues and how art can be used beyond the mere wish to entertain.The beauty of art in its most superficial form is something to enjoy and take pleasure in, it can be created for the aesthetic alone and there’s nothing wrong with that, people like nice things. But art can also be used to achieve something more profound. It can be used tell us something about the world we live in, it can shed light on issues that needs to be illuminated, it can open our eyes, prompt us to action and drive change.
Voltaj’s De la capăt/All Over Again contains a message of real importance to the band, and it should concern all of us. It’s a song about all the children who’s left behind in Romania when their parents are being forced to go abroad to make a living. We believe Voltaj in wanting to use the Eurovision stage to tell us this story, it’s convincingly delivered, it’s done with sincerity and it hits us in the gut with full force.
From what we’ve heard it stirred up quite a controversy in Romania when the band changed the song into English after winning the national final, but we’re glad they did, ‘cause it gave us the chance to understand the lyrics and connect to the purpose behind it. We’re equally glad they changed it back to Romanian before the EBU submission deadline. Romanian is a beautiful, melodic language and it enables the lead singer Călin Goia to fully focus and perform with the proper conviction and gusto, not having to worry about his English pronunciation.
And let’s not forget that Eurovision is also a music contest, and in that regard it’s also an entry that rests solidly on its own merits. It’s not a groundbreaking modern production, but it’s a well-crafted melody with a strong chorus. Having more than 20 years under their belts as band, playing some hundred live gigs a year, we presume the live performance will be rock solid. It can become a tad too static having a rock band set up, so we’re curious to see the staging being revealed in the first rehearsal, hoping it will not be something totally distracting from the core strengths of the song.
This could so easily have ended up as a contrived sob entry, desperately trying to score a few sympathy votes for faked commitment for the poor children. Only it’s not. It’s not cool, nor trendy but it feels real, and it’s almost liberating being able to support an entry so wholeheartedly without reservations or a shield of ironic distance. Go Romania!