Friday, 5 February 2016

Ukraine 2016 - Jamala - 1944

Jamala's back - and wowsers, what a return to the contest this is! You may remember her from the brutally infectious singalong pop hit Smile from a few years back - a song that managed to get binned not once, but twice by some apparently dodgy goings on in Ukraine Eurovision Towers. But anyone expecting a return to the bouncy cartoony form of her well loved previous attempt will be pleasantly surprised by this one.

Indeed, rather than an explosion of pop joy, 1944 is an altogether more sombre outing, recounting the tale, as it does, of the forced resettlement of the Crimean Tartars - Jamala's own people. But while such politically tinged songs often feel either mawkish, overblown or just plain dumb (think Don't Deny, Apricot Stone or I Don't Wanna Put In), 1944 is a dark, understated tune, which grooves along with a powerful dark melancholy.

OK, so it's clearly a nose thumb at her nation's bigger, bolder cousin to the North, and there will be constant complaints if, as is very likely, it gets picked for the golden ticket to Stockholm. But as a restrained and classy tune in its own right, albeit one that tells a story about an emotive and near forgotten moment in history, I for one can't wait to see her on a Swedish stage.

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