Kazakhstan’s Eurovision Blues

25 May

Kazakhstan is eyeing Azerbaijan jealously across the Caspian Sea as its energy-rich rival prepares to host the Eurovision song contest on 26 May. Kazakhstan’s position between Europe and Asia allows it to pick and choose between competitions in the two continents, for instance it plays its football in European qualifiers but rugby in Asian tournaments.

When it comes to music, however, it chose to chance its luck in Asia, with events such as the Voice of Asia festival, sporadically held in Almaty, rather than Europe’s annual extravaganza of kitschy music. This is a shame for the good viewers of Eurovision who are denied aural treats such as this unusual dombra-based ditty (the two-stringed dombra is Kazakhstan’s national instrument).

In light of the events in Zhanaozen last December this little number – the Ballad of Zhanaozen – would possibly have made a good entry for Kazakhstan. It certainly ticks all the right boxes for a Eurovision entry – catchy and excruciating. Imagine it set to a dombra backing and translated into Kazakh – a surefire Eurovision winner!

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