RtD14: Looking Back at Bosnia & Herzegovina
And we keep moving on! Next stop – Bosnia & Herzegovina…aka Bosna i Hercegovina…aka BiH – home to my all-time favorite ESC entry (2006’s Lejla) as well as some of my favorites over the span of this retrospective. As you can see in the table below, there are no real low points (except for this year since they did not enter anything) but a few high ones.
2007 – Rijeka bez Imena – This is the song that inspired me to learn Serbo-Croatian. It is amazing – Maria’s heartbreak overwhelms the listener and you have no choice but to mourn along with her – and that’s without understanding the lyrics! Once you translate them into English, you get words of desolated anguish. For example “Unfaithful sorrow/I would still go anywhere for you/May this pain bind to soul, for I am dying for you” – seriously, moving stuff!
2008 – Pokušaj – A fun song, though a bit nonsensical. I’m not quite sure why this song was successful, but hey, the masses seemed to enjoy it. The staging was high energy and captured the mood of the song quite well.
2009 – Bistra Voda – A slow march that still stands out as one of the most unique and powerful compositions in recent years. Regina brought a whole different sound to the Contest – a rock march that perfectly fit the song (hmmm…I’m noticing a pattern here). The Bosnian entries, in my opinion, tend to be well composed, and this one is up there as one its best.
2010 – Thunder and Lightning – A rare English language entry from BiH. It’s also one of its rare duds. The song has never really done much for me. If it means anything, the most compelling thing, to me, about this entry is that Vukasin Brajić is a school teacher and I could imagine how excited his students must have been to watch him on television.
2011 – Love in Rewind – On the opposite end of the awesome spectrum, you have this masterpiece from Dino Merlin, who not only competed previously for BiH, but also wrote its original national anthem – now that’s the guy I want representing me! This song is fun, but the lyrics go deeper – it’s about an older couple looking at the past, recognizing that their time here is drawing to a close. Beautifully done!
2012 – Korake Ja Znam – Back to the beautiful Bosnian language. While the song is well composed, ably performed, and possesses a heartfelt sentiment – it’s just a bit drab. Artistically, it’s a masterpiece, entertainment-wise….not so much. But Maya Star gave it her all and left a positive taste in everyone’s mouth as we wait for BiH to return to the ESC.
Let’s Take a Closer Look At: Bosnia and Herzegovina 2009. I’ve talked a lot about the composition – and it was awesome, it even won the Composers Marcel Bezeçon Award – but let’s look at the lyrics. “Give birth to me at dawn in May/Bathe me in the clear water/I guard one world, when all others leave/I guard you as long as I’m alive.” So, to the casual reader, those lyrics may seem a bit…silly. But let’s keep in mind that the lyricist has told us that it’s a song or reminiscing about love and the illusions to better days gone by elsewhere in the song, and these lyrics make so much more sense. May is the month most closely associated with the season of spring, which represents new life and happiness. “Bathe me” in other words – fully envelope me, in the “clear waters” of those better days of life and happiness. “Guard” is synonymous with “hold” – so he’s saying that he is holding on to “one world” (i.e., the past) despite the fact the rest of the world has carried on (“when all others leave”). He does this because it’s a way how he shows his love – whom he’ll hold for all of his days.
Such a lovely song!
What do you think? Do you think “Clear Water” sounds more like muddy puddles? Do you absolutely love the storm brought forth by Thunder & Lightning, or do you think it’s more of a drizzle? Leave a comment below!