Will Ferrell, Rachel McAdams, and Icelandic Music Hit the Netflix Stage
Every time I have muttered the phrase “Eurovision” amongst my sea of ambitious beautiful European mates, I am responded to by a gleam of hope dressed in pearly white smiles. The European singing contest phenomenon has surpassed my circle of reality in the bubble of the United States. With the impactful television media I was accustomed to at a very young age, my only glimpse of singing contests remained prevalent on the small screen.
American Idol was an American vocal talent competition that embodied the essence of humiliation at a contestant’s expense and stardom for pure, raw talent. This magnifying glass that pointed directly into the world of the music industry gave the viewers the chance to help manifest an individual’s dream of being a true star. Artists that managed to create a promising career from the pivotal TV show include, “Carrie Underwood”, “Kelly Clarkson”, and “Queen” stand in “Adam Lambert”. Although the steam of the show has died down to a soft simmer, offspring of the show include “The Voice” and NBC’s “America’s Got talent”.
The Eurovision Song Contest has succeeded on far bigger stages than the United States. Compared to the Olympic games, European culture thrives off the fun-spirited competition that manages to create a wider pool of community in which Europe would like to uphold. The show inspires many vocalists to accomplish their dreams and create long standing careers in the world of international entertainment.
The famous singing competition has managed to inspire even outside of the music community. In the latest 2020 Netflix comedy, “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga” American actors Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams portray Icelandic vocalists that aspire and gravitate to participate in the contest, thus seeking to captivate the European audiences. Funny in nature, but showing some true parallels with the contest’s reality, the movie also sheds light on the music of Iceland and its Eurovision history.
Based on the Sanremo Music Festival, formed in Italy in 1951, the European contest has been conducted every year since 1956. According to Wikipedia, the contest has been organized by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). Eurovision Song Contest features participants from various European countries. Each country representative submits an original piece performed on live television throughout the proceeding countries in efforts to vote for the other countries’ songs to crown the winner! Some of the top selling artists of all time derived from the Eurovision stage including, “Celine Dion”, “ABBA”, and “Olivia Newton-John”. Participating in the iconic singing contest, Iceland has participated 32 times since 1986. With Iceland’s best position being second place, Iceland has managed to conduct stealth full acts that musically resonate for multiple generations.
“You don’t deposit your empty blues in the Bank of Fun!” The first Icelandic entry in 1986 was from the vocal trio group “ICY”. Singers Palmi Gunnarsson, Helga Moller, and Eirikur Hauksson proclaimed their hearts and vocal spirits at the 1986 final in Bergen with their song, “Gleoibankinn”. The song depicts happiness in the form of bank transactions as it proclaims that happiness can be stored in a bank, which can be withdrawn any time a person feels sad or lonely. The song gives such a classic 1980s pop sound, and its delivery is nothing shy of fun. The band placed 16th.
Years later, in 2007, the band Eurobandio (Euroband) hit the Eurovision stage. The Icelandic techno pop duo Friorik Omar and Regina Osk represented Icelandic waters in Belgrade, Serbia through a highly techno club-infused dance track “This Is My Life”. The Cher “Believe” sounding track practically summarizes the essence of the early 2000s and takes the listener back to the “in your face” pop tracks that narrated the mainstream music scene. The song took 14th place.
The Icelandic industrial, punk rock, techno-infused rock band “Hatari” is a performance art group from Reykjavik. The controversial image speaks about anti capitalism through BDSM-inspired attire. Klemens Hannigan, Matthias Haraldsson, and Einar Stefansson hit the Eurovision stage in 2019 with their song “Hatrio Mun Sigra”. The song incorporated the highly popular heavy metal sound with a strong mixture of techno. Sung in Icelandic, the band gave a remembering presence throughout the European audience.
I have always been a semi fan of Will Ferrell. His at times slapstick comedy amuses me in my times of relaxation and stress-enduring days. When I saw the commercial, I was eager for its Netflix arrival. The movie is a complication of humorous moments, beautiful songs, and heartfelt moments that leave you wanting more! The movie was able to capitalize on Icelandic culture in a funny way, but also managed to incorporate the modern Eurovision structure of popular music. The movie-made band created a heart touching ballad entitled “My Home Town”. The song puts chills down my spine as it incorporates a fine mixture of Icelandic and English language. Through the laughs and the witty time, the movie was able to portray Icelandic music and its musical ancestry. Overall, the movie was an entertaining time and highly recommended.
Photos: Shutterstock / Photomontage: Martina Advaney
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