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Eurovision 2010: Russia

April 24, 2010

Regardless of how Russia performs in the Eurovision this year, singer Peter Nalitch and his musical collective will leave Oslo happy. That much is evident from their enigmatic song Lost and Forgotten.

Like the YouTube film Nalitch featured in only a few years before – Guitar – in which broken English forms the core of his self-deprecating act, so Lost and Forgotten taps into the same idea. Take a look at the lyrics. You sort of get the idea of what he’s singing about. Almost. That’s the joke.

Or is it a joke? The sight of the band on stage makes this act look like a back to basics thing. As though it’s about a core folksy sound. Confusion reigns again however when the band joins in with those unnerving sighs in the first line of the chorus. A momentary smirk passes the lips when the acoustic guitar player chips in with his spoken word. The entire package gives the impression of a slightly off-beat, not-quite-with-it affair. They carry off the bemused look really rather well too despite the fact Peter Nalitch delivers the melody without the slightest hint of irony on his face at all.

If it is meant to be amusing then the dry humour is underpinned by genuine talent.

Like Guitar, Nalitch’s song actually sounds good too. Cast aside the agonising moments the rest of the REM-like song is holds together well. The melody is strong. It sticks in the head. There’s an eery strained quality to Nalitch’s voice too which will, no doubt, provide a refreshing change come the semi-final.

But where eastern European audiences may well enthuse about the act because they’re familiar with it, some western European viewers will form a snap and undeniably negative judgement about it. If anyone tries to tart up the appearance on stage – or worse start doing pantomime on stage – then Peter Nalitch and his friends will be guaranteed a laugh for all the wrong reasons.

Either way, it’s an interesting act to follow. Far from being a comedy act, the song displays some strong musical elements. It will be a brave commentator to actually say that live on-air during a broadcast. If they say it’s just a comedy act people will pour scorn on it because they don’t immediately get the joke (if there is one). If commentators don’t say its a comedy act then audiences will dismiss it as throwaway nonsense. That’s a shame, because a brief nose around Nalitch’s free to download archive of work underlines his talent.

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3 Comments
  1. This chap succeeds in singing in English but still managing to “sound Russian”. I think it’s a splendid song.

  2. Given I;ve recorded my piece for the “Eurovision Juke Box Jury” podcasts, I can say that I’m behind this one, and when I commetnate on the night this is getting a serious thumbs up. It’s one of the top tplays in my iTunes, it’s a wonderful sing along…

    …but it needs a few listens to get what’s going on. Eurovision’s three minutes might not be enough. And I agree it’s an easy hit for a commentator, running second in the semi final, to put his or her “mark” on their contest commentary.

  3. Enigmatic – yes; moody – yes; a grower – yes. Unfortunately within the context of the ESC show itself I fear it is music to slit your wrists to.

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