Czechs send hard rockers Kabat to Eurovision semi-final|
In the past the Eurovision Song Contest has gone a long way towards helping
some musical acts become world-famous, among them ABBA, Celine Dion, and
Lordi - the monster rock group from Finland who won last year with the
rock anthem "Hard Rock Hallelujah". Despite the contest's long
history, contestants from the Czech Republic had never before taken part.
On Saturday a total of nine acts competed for top spot in the national
round to decide whom to send to Finland. Among them were a number of Czech
R'n'B singers, pop rock musicians, as well as the band gipsy.cz, who
successfully combine the traditional Romany language with the contemporary
sounds of hip hop. Gipsy.cz got the crowd behind them with their song
Muloland while a figure of Death swayed rhythmically back-and-forth on the
Muloland was seen as one of the catchier entries viewed by around 750,000
who tuned in to public broadcaster Czech TV on Saturday night, and the
band explained that the title of the song meant the Land of the Spirits,
or Land of Ghosts in the Romany language.
But gipsy.cz did not come away the victors: the crowning moment on
Saturday belonged to another group: Kabat, arguably the Czech Republic's
most well known hard rock band. Kabat have performed in their current
line-up since 1990 and it is fair to say that gruff vocals by frontman
'Pepa' Vojtek on Saturday night "vaporised" a good part of the
competition. The band chose to perform their song Mala Dama (Little Lady)
from their best-selling album of December 2006. The song is an ode to a
woman, the lyrics tell us, "worth dying for after just one day".
Kabat's dominance in the national round is not altogether surprising:
despite a fairly hard sound the band has also become increasingly
mainstream. The numbers on Saturday reflected their strong fan base: by
Saturday evening (voting had started in late February) Kabat had clinched
roughly one third of 100,000 cell phone votes. Now, following the win,
some have compared Kabat to last year's winner Lordi, as hard rock
"without the monster costumes". Could we see rock dominate at
Eurovision again? We'll have to wait to find out. The Eurovision
semi-final and final will take place in Finland in mid-May.