Over the past decade, we’ve seen less and less songs in national language, so today we’re going to celebrate the greatness that is song in national language (i.e. not English, and not including Malta and UK). Today’s post includes our top 5 from the last 5 years, and although the sample space shrunk to be incredibly small, we still managed to have trouble picking only 5 songs, as there is a certain charm to songs in national language. Without further ado, here are our Top 5!
5. Aliona Moon – O Mie
This is a fairytale story, as the song was actually originally in English in the national final, and then changed to Romanian for Eurovision. Usually we see the opposite, where the songs begin in national language and then are changed to English for Eurovision, so this was an incredibly refreshing change. Surprisingly, I really enjoyed the English version, but in comparison, the Romanian version of the song is really just that next level. The song flows just as well, if not better in Romanian, and ultimately proved that it’s not about the language, but the quality of song which will translate to enough votes to qualify to the final. In support of the song, the staging was creative and interesting, which adds to the overall performance.
4. Filipa Sousa – Vida Minha
Portugal continues to be a nation that chooses national language over English, and the result is that they send (often) really incredible songs which just ooze Portugal-ness, if we can call it that. My favourite example of that is from 2012, where Filipa Sousa represented Portugal with the song Vida Minha. This still remains one of my personal favourite songs from Eurovision, and although this song took a long while to grow on me, I can wholly appreciate its beauty now. I really think this was criminally underrated in 2012, after an incredible and understated stage performance of a really classy song.
3. Željko Joksimović – Nije Ljubav Stvar
The Balkans are the most common group to give us songs in national language, and with Željko Joksimović as the participant, the song was sure to be in national language. Nije Ljubav Stvar was yet another musical masterpiece from Eurovision royalty. The song is Balkan ballad all over, with the incredible instrumentals, and beautiful melodies, this time sung in Serbian by one of the region’s best musicians. As with Aliona Moon, this song was even more proof that a really fantastic song can reach a top place on the leaderboard, 3rd, to be exact.
2. Sergej Ćetković – Moj Svijet
Keeping with the Balkan theme, we’re heading over to Montenegro, who in 2014 finally hit their jackpot with Sergej Ćetković. The nation caught on to Balkan ballad idea and sent an absolutely beautiful song in Moj Svijet. With Montenegro being a bit of a Eurovision underdog, I couldn’t have been happier knowing that this song, in national language would be the first that would make it to the Eurovision final for the country. The song grew over the three minutes, and left you wanting more by the end of it. That in combination of a really nice stage show made for a really great performance which still remains a personal favourite.
2. Pastora Soler – Quédate conmigo
Spain hasn’t exactly been the most successful nation at Eurovision in recent years, but this one song, I have to feature in the Top 5 as my number 1. Pastora Soler was chosen to represent Spain with the ballad Quédate conmigo, and really, this is probably one of the best, if not the best song that Spain has sent for years. In Spanish, it maintains its strength and charm, and wouldn’t have had the same impact if it was in English. The last two-thirds of the song as it builds into its peak is aurally just out of this world and I don’t think there’s much more to say. The song speaks for itself.
It has been saddening to watch the decline of the use of national language, and we can only hope that nations can keep that tradition alive and choose to be represented by the language of the people. Hopefully this Top 5 demonstrates that there are songs which aren’t sung in English which a) achieve great results in Eurovision, or b) are still just great songs which deserve credit.
It’s still early days for 2017, but I hope to see more nations choose national language, and I hope a national language can win the contest again to prove that English isn’t always the best option.
Make sure you tell us your favourite non-English entries!