Musical Content in Junior Eurovision 2019: Part 4 (Finale)

In the past 3 weeks, we have given a brief musical analysis of 15 of the 19 competing songs for this year’s Junior Eurovision Song Contest. Today, we shall conclude with the final four countries who will compete in Gliwice-Silesia. The links to the previous three weeks and the countries covered can be found below, and worldwide online voting will begin at 8 PM CET on Friday 22 November. Voting details can be found on the Junior Eurovision site.

Serbia

Song (and any titular translation): “Podigni glas” (Raise your voice)
Artist: Darija Vračević
Lyrical themes: Caring about the planet we live on and calling those with power to action about all the catastrophes worldwide
Official video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xpB4FRyXh6g
Song credits
Writing: Leontina Vukomanović Pat (lyricist for “Lane moje” (Željko Joksimović, Serbia and Montenegro 2004)), Darija Vračević (artist)
Composition: Aleksandra Milutinović (classically-trained guitarist, songwriter, and producer)
Arrangement: Aleksandar Sablić (established arranger, info courtesy of RTS)

Musical analysis
There are a few instruments in the beginning: an acoustic guitar, acoustic-sounding drums, and programmed effects in the back. The first strum of an acoustic guitar usually has notes that go from low to high, but it is the opposite in this song. Starting from the long held-out vocal note at 0:18 in the music video, a backing choir supports the lead vocals. The chords the backing female choir alternate from gospel-like large vibrato in the low register (a sort of singing pulsation also common in classical singing) and straight vocals, or lack of pulsation, in higher registers/the upper part of the voice. Similar vocals can be found in many Serbian ethno-ballads that have reached Eurovision, most notably in those by two-time Eurovision participant and three-time writer (for Knez, Montenegro 2015) Željko Joksimović.
In the chorus, the drum rhythm picks up and helps drive the song from there on out. The variant most often found in the chorus can be found here. The interlude beginning at 1:02 has a very melodic string part – parts that can be sung and stick in people’s heads. Some piano appears in the second verse, which has a key change. During the chorus break at 2:25, a snare drum line is played. Such snare drum lines are commonplace for military functions and may have an undertone of assembling those spreading the song’s message in a march to get people to act on the factors people can fix to prevent further disasters.

Spain

Song (and any titular translation): “Marte” (Mars)
Artist: Melani García
Lyrical themes: Addressing pollution and its effect on the world
Official video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wRj0dVWvHBg
Song credits
Writing and composition: Pablo Mora (DJ and producer), Manu Chalud (producer with previous credits for Blas Canto, 2020 Spanish representative)

Musical analysis
The song begins with synthesized piano and vocals. The vocals have clearly been treated in-studio, which may not pose an issue should they be comparable to the live performances. The verses and pre-choruses all end with the same chord as first chord in the choruses, which makes the transition between the sections relatively seamless. The second chorus begins a very prominent programmed percussion part. Similar to “Podigni glas”, there is a section (the second chorus here, around 1:48) that cuts to a snare-only percussion part, but the context here – which includes guitar, piano, backing vocals, an electronic riser, and even tribal vocalizations that start a bit earlier in the second verse – brings a more lively and perhaps more earthy appeal to the lyrical themes despite hitting the highest notes in the entire competition this year. The ending of the second chorus is slightly extended at 2:20 to create more momentum into the following interlude.

Ukraine

Song (and any titular translation): “The Spirit of Music”
Artist: Sophia Ivanko
Lyrical themes: the inspirational power of music
Official video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UvAvW9nKLFk
Song credits
Writing: Sophia Ivanko (Artist)
Composition: Sophia Ivanko (Artist), Mykhailo Tolmachov (vocal coach and sound producer for Ukrainian JESC)

Musical analysis
The song underwent a revamp – the original can be found here. There are a lot of polyrhythms throughout this song. The beginning piano divides each measure into 3, but then the percussion breaks the same amount of time into 2 groups. Both of Sergey Lazarev’s songs used said hemiola (3 and 2 simultaneously) as well, though in Sergey’s songs they were in the context of more powerfully produced percussion, although the drumset is accompanied by a tambourine. “The Spirit of Music” has a much more indie/bohemian vibe, which makes the polyrhythm effect seem a bit more like a visibly bumpy stream of water, consistent with being a living spirit instead of a side-effect of music production. The bass sound is not unlike a bass patch made by MIDI at times and usually follows the piano rhythm when the rhythm isn’t straightforward (like in the pre-choruses, for example from 0:43 to 0:52, and the bridge from 1:50 to 2:09).

Wales

Song (and any titular translation): “Calon yn Curo” (Heart Beating)
Artist: Erin Mai
Lyrical themes: The thrill of live performance and sharing the joy with the audience
Official video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jNS2_eOFeD8
Song credits
Writing: Ed Holden (better known as Mr Phormula: rapper, beatboxer, and live looper)
Composition: Sylvia Strand, Jonathan Gregory (composer/songwriter/production team who took part in Eurovision 2010 as part of the Cypriot backing band The Islanders)

Musical analysis
The song begins with slightly reverberant palm-muted electric guitar, the same technique used by The Police guitarist Andy Summers to get the detached guitar sounds in the 1983 hit “Every Breath You Take”. There is a subtle tresillo pattern accented in the vocals, bass, and percussion at 0:32. The percussion takes a relatively straightforward programmed rhythm in the chorus onward, which is when synth pads/background-ish sounds and fast violin come in. The second verse keeps the bass in the background, and the drums return in full from the second pre-chorus onward. The break reintroduces the instruments one by one, keeping the drums, then lead vocals, then backing vocals, then louder percussion that may have been created by tap dancing. The final chorus is a modulation/key change up to F♯ major from the original key E major.

What’s next?

This concludes a series of articles covering the basics on all 19 songs set to compete this year. The competition is set to air live at 4 PM CET on Sunday 24 November, after which we will know who the winner is. Further analysis can be given to the winning song afterwards. Eurovision national selection season is soon approaching as well, and news will be coming from there soon.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.