The first time I heard about the Eurovision Song Contest was in the late 1970’s when I read an article about my favourite musical group, ABBA. The article credited ABBA’s meteoric rise to international stardom to the Eurovision Song Contest and their 1974 win with the song “Waterloo”.
For this young Canadian, even though I had no idea what Eurovision was, it sounded like a big event! I knew just enough about world geography to know that if a music competition involved a whole continent, it must have been something special.
In the years that followed, and the many hours spent listening to MuchMusic, Eurovision came up a few times, whether in the “Rock News” reports or when the VJ’s (“Video Jockeys”) were presenting a video and providing some background into the song and the artist. I remained intrigued.
In 2002, I was finding myself a little bored with mainstream radio here in North America and found myself searching for other musical options. At the same time, I had changed cable packages and was introduced to “BPM TV”, a new music video channel focused on dance tunes from around the globe.
Over the course of BPM’s programming, I was introduced to the Swedish pop band Alcazar. With their very catchy pop-dance tunes, bright upbeat tempo, and amazing sense of style, glamour and showmanship, they quickly became my favourite band! They still are today!
In the process of getting to know Alcazar better through online research, the theme of Eurovision popped up again. Alcazar competed in 2003 with a song called “Not a Sinner nor a Saint”, in a competition called Melodifestivalen, Sweden’s national competition to pick a song to represent the country at Eurovision. This was where the journey began! Continue reading
The hit Broadway show Mamma Mia! will be playing to its final audience on September 12, 2015. Even though I assume that touring companies will probably continue to play to audiences around the world for some time to come, to me, it is the end of an era.
According to my Playbill collection, it appears that I have seen Mamma Mia! 8 times: 3 times in Toronto, 3 in Ottawa, 1 in Las Vegas, and 1 in New York City. I even came close to seeing it once in Stockholm in Swedish which would have been a great time for a student of all things Swedish like myself, but alas, it was not playing the week I was there.
My first time was a rather unique situation in the sense that it was about month after my dad had passed away. This was the first time I had lost a relative who was that close to me. I had a hard time articulating, feeling, validating and working through the range of emotions I was experiencing, and felt up and down like a roller coaster over that time. I was in a very sad place.
My uncle was so kind in that he knew I was going to Toronto for a bit of a getaway, and he so generously offered me a ticket to see Mamma Mia!
He knew I had been a fan of ABBA since I was very young, and he knew how much I enjoyed theatre. It was a pretty safe bet that I would enjoy it. If only he knew what it would mean to me in that moment and for years to come.
Our balcony seat offered us a bird’s eye view of the show and we did not miss a single moment. From the opening scene and the first notes of “I Have a Dream”, I recall goosebumps and chills down my spine with the recognition that this was the closest I would get to ever seeing ABBA music performed live in this lifetime. This was already a dream come true… and the first song just started!
I had never experienced a musical like this before, with Continue reading