Guide to SKOPJE

Good evening Baku, this is Athens calling!

Eleftheria Eleftheriou

OGAE – Greece is the official Eurovision song contest Fan Club in Greece. Loukas Vlavianos, secretary to OGAE-GR speaks to Balkon3 about the Club’s activities, this year’s songs and the inter-Balkan relations.

Loukas Vlavianos

How did the Greek song get selected?

This year ERT (the GreekBroadcasting Corporation), after an open call, agreed with Universal Music Greece towork together on the selection of 4 finalists – all candidates auditioned had to be newly appearing artists with no previous recording work. For 1 week the four songs appeared on the ERT FB page without any official announcement. A special event was organized in an Athenian mall, broadcasted live on TV and the winner was selected  50% by tele-voting and 50% by a committee of experts on music arrangement , the relevant media and entrepreneurs.

About the Greek entry?

The Greek entry this year is called “Aphrodisiac” (music and lyrics by DimitrisStassos, Mikaela Stenström and DajanaLööf). The singer, Eleftheria Eleftheriou (b. Cyprus, 1989) has studied Music and Performance In the University of  Surrey (UK). She had participated in the Greek X-Factor show and has since then collaborated with popular singers such as Sakis Rouvas and Nikos Vertis in Athens and Thessaloniki.

What activities does OGAE-GR do around the Contest?

The Club was founded around 25 years ago and has 200 full members. They participate in various activities all year round, such as getting acquainted with the Contest and its musical history, inviting contestants and winners from other countries to Eurovision-promoting parties and of course attending the contest itself. They organize a party on the Contest’s location where all national delegations are welcome to participate (they always do!). Also, they organize a special event in Greece before the selection of each year’s Greek song to present and promote all contestants.

What has been your experience with the other Balkan countries in the contest?

We have excellent relations with OGAE in all Balkan countries. Geographical vicinity also helps for more frequent visits to organized events. Moreover, Turkey ,Greece  and Serbia in particular have had the chance to gain more expertise since facilitating the venue of the Contest in their countries. In theory, if the style of the song touches on our common Balkan musical traditions it is easier for us to connect to it and vote for it. But if a song is good generally, the majority of participating countries will  vote for it – even with a few points each. It is very difficult to find a bad song that makes it through the Contest’s finals. I personally think this year’s songs from Albania, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia are very good.  The singer from the Republic of Macedonia is a top name in the country. The singer from Turkey is very strong. They are all very good songs really.

What about the politics in the voting every time…

It always happens but, as experience has shown in the past few years, if a song is good it will be voted for by most countries. Especially since now we have 50% participation of musical professionals in every country I think the usual politics and block formations will be moderated…We are always for the best song, regardless where it comes from!

Good luck to everybody!!

Sophia Nikolaou