Wiwibloggs has launched a new series looking at all the countries currently competing in the Eurovision Song Contest and why we love them — for all the right (and sometimes wrong) reasons. Today we will be looking at the land of gods – magnificent Greece.
Greece’s first appearance at the Eurovision Song Contest was in 1974. They have since provided us with interesting and memorable moments in which traditional Greek elements are being incorporated in modern music. So let’s take a look at ten reasons why we love Greece at Eurovision.
1. They bring the sound of the bouzouki
The bouzouki is one of the most distinctive instruments in Greek music and Greece isn’t afraid to take it to Eurovision. But it wasn’t until 2001 and Antique‘s unforgettable “Die For You” that it was actually appreciated. The song wisely combined the traditional sound with modern pop, resulting in a third-place finish.
2. They use tradition and mythology in their songs
When Greece goes traditional, you can get a full sense and understanding of their culture. This year, Yianna Terzi appeared on stage looking like a Greek goddess. In 1995, Elina Konstantopoulou‘s “Pia Prosefhi” included lyrics in Ancient Greek and other elements from the Greek mythology. Another highlight is Greece’s 1993 entry – “Ellada Xhora tou Fotos” (translated as “Greece the land of lights”) a title that speaks for itself.
3. They were a late bloomer
Despite some very good entries during their first 30 years, it took Greece 31 years to achieve their first (and still last) victory at the Eurovision Song Contest. But things changed and Greece went through a golden age in the 2000s, collecting eight top-ten finishes in a decade.
4. They work their epic language
Greek is an ancient language with a unique sound and mysterious rhythm. Even after the lifting of the national language rule in 1999, Greece still sent songs that were either entirely performed in Greek (“Opa” 2010, “Oniro Mou” 2018) or songs in English with a significant part Greek (“Alcohol is Free” 2013, “Watch my Dance” 2011).
5. They deliver with the choreography
Greek choreography can be hypnotising and is often a key to their success. In the last decade, they’ve demonstrated very powerful and modern choreography in many occasions, for example, Sakis Rouvas’ complex dancing in “This Is Our Night” (2009) and Giorgos Alkiaos and Friends with “Opa” (2010) whose gorgeous dancers left the audience stunned.
6. They are BFFs with Cyprus
As unfair this may seem, Greece’s unbreakable alliance with Cyprus cannot be disregarded. The bonds between the two countries are very strong as can be seen from the regular vote exchanges – usually a mutual douze points. Over the years Greece has given 283 points to Cyprus and received back 324 from it (in the finals only).
7. They gave us one of the weirdest Eurovision entries ever
In 2002, Greece sent a bizarre entry called “S.A.G.A.P.O” sung by Michalis Rakintzis. The song wasn’t very successful and finished 17th out of 24, but it provided viewers with interesting and weird highlights such as military-style dance and science fiction costumes.
8. They didn’t give up doing Eurovision during their economic crises
Despite its continuing financial crisis, Greece has never given up participating in Eurovision and kept sending good entries aiming for victory. Since the crunch began in 2008, Greece had sent some of its most iconic acts, and even pondered the monetary value of goods in “Alcohol Is Free”.
9. The double diva action of Helena Paparizou and Anna Vissi
Greece has introduced two of the most incredible divas to Eurovision stage — Helena Paparizou and Anna Vissi. Helena gave Greece two of their best placings ever: third in 2001 with Antique’s “Die for You” and a victory in 2005 with “My Number One”. Anna Vissi debuted in 1980 with “Autostop”, made a sneaky appearance for Cyprus in 1982, but she is best remembered for her appearance on Greek soil with “Everything” when Athens hosted Eurovision in 2006.
10. Their male performers aren’t bad either
What are you favourite moments from Greece at Eurovision? Share your favourites in the comments section below!