Saturday, 17 January 2015

Finland 2015 - Shava - Ostarilla

If you thought nothing could be more fleshcrawlingly cringeworthy than a white boy reggae band, try this for size - a white boy bhangra band? Oh my days. And it's not even that well observed.

European rock drumming over smothers the dhol, making for an unwelcome clash of rhythms, and not only do they do the dress up game, but the chirpy singing boy has a pop at the dance moves and the playback voice styles consistant of the genre... which only look any good if you're actually Indian. It's all very awkward.

But let's give them the benefit of the doubt for a minute. The Indian population will be clearly nowhere as large in Finland as the UK, and for them it must be an exciting and anotherworldy musical genre to replicate - no worse than middle class English whiteboys in waistcoats and pork pie hats murdering kletzmer, I guess. I also hear stories that the frontman has travelled to India many times, and has a deep love of the culture and the music. Again, fair enough I suppose, and if it gets some of his countrymen and women looking up the real stuff then that can't be entirely bad, can it?

But to put on the accent while wearing colourful, over-stylised versions of Indian clothes? Hmm, that doesn't entirely sit right with me, and I'm wondering what some of my Indian neighbours are going to make of it if I show them. Oh, it's only a bit of innocent fun, I'm sure we'll be told. But are we to expect a blackface minstrel act next year and be happy about it? It's a difficult one for sure.

We have live video, and we have to confess they've done a pretty good job on it. Probably the best presented song of the season so far, we only hope they ditch those turbans along with the backing dancers if they make it to Austria - which I'm beginning to fear they will. Click the link below the filmed video to see the live show.