Milki

After finishing 12th in its semi-final at Eurovision 2015 — thereby missing a spot in the grand final — Belarus went back to the drawing board. We expected changes and the first has already arrived. Earlier this week Gennady Davydko, the chairman of BTRC, said that Belarus will shift its focus to the Belarusian national language.

Belarus will once again hold a national selection in order to pick its act for ESC. But unlike in previous years, the selection committee will give preference to songs with Belarusian lyrics. Here’s how Davydko put it:

We intend to look for next year’s song in the Belarusian language. We aren’t excluding songs in English, Russian, French, or even in Hindi, but preference will be given to those in the Belarussian language.

Belarusian and Russian are the official languages of the country. According to the country’s 1999 Census, more than 85% of Belarusians call Belarusian their Mother Tongue, though Belarusian is spoken in only 36% of all homes. That, however, appears to be on the decline. A 2009 government study found that only 12% of families speak Belarusian at home, compared to 72% of families who speak Russian.

Does Belarus ever sing in Belarusian at Eurovision?

No. Since Belarus debuted at Eurovision in 2004, it has never submitted an entry in Belarusian. English has been its language of choice every  year, leading to distinctly non-native titles such as “My Galileo” and “Cheesecake” (and the occasional misheard lyric). Funnily enough, their 2008 entry was sung in English but with the Spanish-language title “Hasta La Vista”. #anythingbutbelarusian.

Over the past year we’ve heard the Belarusian language at two major events. Last November Junior Eurovision representative Nadezdha Misyakova performed her earthy song “Sokal” in the national language. A few months later Milki, a quintet formed by Eurovision veteran Alexander Rybak, worked their accent and their Mother Tongue en route to a fifth-place finish in Belarus’ national selection for Eurovision.

https://youtu.be/6Pk0Gb1q3_A

The last non-English song to win Eurovision was Serbia’s “Molitva”, in 2007.

Is favoring Belarusian songs a wise move? Can songs in their national language still compete with those performed in English? Feel free to comment below!

YOU CAN FOLLOW ALL BELARUS EUROVISION NEWS HERE

28 Comments
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ESCaddict
ESCaddict
4 years ago

I wish Mlki had not been mentioned. I want to forget that terrible song.

Max
Max
4 years ago

I can’t stop laughing.

Singing in English at ESC is an advantage, that’s undeniable. Sure it wasn’t big enough to help that song from Belarus, but still is anyone seriously saying if Time was sung in Belarussian then it would have fared better? no it would likely have done worse.

Belarus best hope last year would have been to send Accent, either in English, or do what Romania did and sing it half English, half Belarussian.

Eugene ESC UK
4 years ago

If the ESC is a “song” contest, then a song is made up of music and lyrics. Understanding the lyrics WITH the music gives the song greater depth and meaning. Yes of course we can read a translation of the lyrics in our own language, but it is never the same thing in my view. On the night, the voting majority have no time to get out the translations. A good example of this was the Russian entry this year. Like it or hate it, the lyrics in English made a real difference I feel. 34 of this year’s 40… Read more »

Charles
Charles
4 years ago

Absolutely agree! We’ve had Russian and Ukrainian in the competition before, it should not be an issue considering having Belorussian or not. We should praise the usage of all kinds of languages in it … because music should find no barriers when it comes to language. And I am personally tired of the Swedish-fast-foodish-handmade-songs given to singer unable to speak or understand English just for the sake of the contest: absolutely pathetic and so fake! We as fans should be open-minded to enjoying listening to music sung in several languages the same way we praise the LGBT community within the… Read more »

Eugene ESC UK
4 years ago

Having come 12th in Semi-final 1 and not qualifying for the final, it seems totally illogical to me that the Belarus solution is to change it’s entry language from English to Belarussian?? Considering there was only ONE 100% non-English song in the Top 10 and TWO 100% non-English songs in the Top 20 in this year’s final, I can’t see language alone solving any issues. May I strongly suggest that Belarus look at their song, their artist and their staging and perhaps not worrying about the language………………………that is the least of their problems. On the language debate, if a top… Read more »

Kjetil
Kjetil
4 years ago

I liked Accent (and the verses were great cause they were in Belarussian)

Time was my favourite tho but it shows that the Russian/Belarussian language is a nice one to sing and I’d be happy to hear a song in their native language at Eurovision!

Marco Antonio
Marco Antonio
4 years ago

Milki’s song was the best of all the NF’s of 2015, for me it was even better than Heroes, Milki would have been my ultimate fav for ESC Y_Y

Vladimir P.
Vladimir P.
4 years ago

It would be cool to hear Belarussian or Russian language in Eurovision. Btw, Milki were good, but I think the song missed some kind of twist that would a flavor.

Mei International
Mei International
4 years ago

I think one of the things it comes down to is the song, composition and lyrics. If you look at successful non-English entries of the recent years (Molitiva, Grande Amore, Quedate Conmigo, for example) they have really powerful lyrics when translated and a really good performance that reflects the song. So ultimately it would be cool to see a song in Belarussian (and other native languages like Azeri that we don’t see much of) but if they are properly done.

oooops
oooops
4 years ago

And the songs from 2005-2007 in russian did better than the english ones

iamawarrior
iamawarrior
4 years ago

That’s up to them

Luis Fuster
Editor
4 years ago

Something authentic from them would be very much appreciated. Maybe they should give a shoutout to Azerbaijan, to see if they do the same.

oooops
oooops
4 years ago

Tantsuy(JESC 2003) was in Belarusian and did better than “Like a star”, that was in English (from Malta).

Mario esc-fan
Mario esc-fan
4 years ago

If they really feel like of doing this then why not.. But i prefer 4 countries to have their songs in english instead.. We have seen 30 times an english song winning in Vision so you really can’t go wrong with that.. Plus the songs in english language mainly are much more appealing.. But of course there are the bright exceptions too of this rule,that we have really good songs that are not with english lyrics instead.. But if i had to chose myself between having english songs over non english songs in EuroVision i would select the first option… Read more »

Azaad
Azaad
4 years ago

With Belarus you have the same situation in Malta but to an even greater degree- the national language isn’t the only language. With Malta, they send songs in English because English is an official language and the Maltese speak it perfectly or as their first language. In Belarus, most people speak Russian (Alexander speaks Russian and not Belarusian for example), so artists would just feel more comfortable performing in Russian. That said, the nationalistic (totalitarian) government want to increase national pride. There’s another issue- Russia itself. Russia likes to say that Ukrainian and Belarusian (or any other East Slavic languages… Read more »

Baku Cash
4 years ago

Hindi? Hmmmmmm….. 😉

Hannes
Hannes
4 years ago

Why not

Deniz
Deniz
4 years ago

Cool! That would be absolutely awesome!

#Accent
#Accent
4 years ago

I think the language doesn’t matter if the song is good.

MirkoJoshua
MirkoJoshua
4 years ago

Finally *-* I’m hating this Eurovision Anglo-song contest…

Robyn Gallagher
Admin
4 years ago

They need to get Rybak involved with this. His enthusiasm for the language and his overall musical prowess seems like a perfect combination. As “Accent” proved, he can write a good pop song with crossover appeal to non-Belarusian speakers.

Just don’t get Milki to sing it because they’re not so good.

Nikos
Nikos
4 years ago

It could work. “Sokol” is my favorite entry by Belarus in either main or junior contest ever. The concept, staging, and music were mature enough to be in the main contest even. So maybe Belarus should try a year in Belarusian, nothing to lose in trying!

Jerome
Jerome
4 years ago

They actually finished 12th, guys. Just saying.

Mar
Mar
4 years ago

I’m not sure a song in belarussian would gain them any extra points, but all songs in a language other than english are welcomed and encouraged. I’m not sure people are aware of just how endangered european minority languages (like the ones only spoken in one country or region) are by english.

Sarah Boucher
4 years ago

hasta la vida is 2008, not 2009

Daniel
Daniel
4 years ago

For it.

Pavel
4 years ago

I am sure that national selection will be as before. In addition, the same preferences for Belarusian language were all the previous years, but the songs in English went to the Eurovision.

Sparrow
Sparrow
4 years ago

I would like to see more songs sung in their native languages. The more culture the better I say.