Eurovision: More than a Song (Contest) with Sophia Kontos

June 7th, 2021 · 14 mins 50 secs

About this Episode

On this special (musical) episode, guest host Sophia Kontos helps us understand Eurovision and break down the politics and ploys behind the song entries themselves, focusing on three major countries: Greece, Turkey, and Ukraine.

Eurovision is an annual televised European Song Contest started in 1956 to boost morale and European integration after WWII. When Greece won in 2005, Sophia, whose Dad is Greek, became enamored by Eurovision. She's since followed the competition as a spectator, but in this episode, she used Eurovision as an object of study instead of as entertainment. Specifically, she looked at Turkey’s winning entry from 2003, Sertab Erener’s “Every Way That I Can,” to consider how the performance represents Turkish national identity. This discussion builds from existing scholarship by Thomas Solomon and Matthew Gumpert. She compared Turkey's entry to the winning entries from 2004, Ukraine’s “Wild Dances,” and 2005, Greece’s “My Number One,” discussing how countries on the periphery of Europe use Eurovision as an arena to plead for acceptance by Western Europe.

Producer's Note: This special episode was originally created by undergraduate student Sophia Kontos from Dr. Vlad Beronja's course entitled "Punks and Divas in Southeastern Europe: Popular Music and Cultural Identity in the Balkans" (course number REE 325). The course examines the social, political, and cultural transformations in the former Yugoslavia in the 20th and 21st centuries through the lens of popular music. For the final project, the students were asked to come up with a unique topic related to the course content and produce a podcast, a video, or a written essay based on their interests and research. The showcased projects stand out for their innovative angle on the topic and quality of research.

Guest Producer/Host: Sophia Kontos
Co-Producer: Lera Toropin (Connect: Twitter @earlportion)
Associate Producer: Cullan Bendig
Assistant Producer: Samantha Farmer
Assistant Producer: Katherine Birch
Assistant Producer: Zach Johnson
Assistant Producer/Administrator: Kathryn Yegorov-Crate
Produced for The Slavic Connexion by Michelle Daniel

Music Producer: Charlie Harper (Connect: Instagram: @charlieharpermusic) (Main Theme by Charlie Harper)

Executive Producer & Creator: Michelle Daniel (Connect: Instagram: @michelledaniel86)

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