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­čç«­čç▒ In memoriam: Shmulik Bilu

Shmulik Bilu sadly passed away at 31 December 2023, at the age of 71 following a lengthy illness. He was a member of ‘Milk and Honey’, the group that famously represented Israel in the 1979 Eurovision Song Contest with their winning song ‘Hallelujah’.┬á In his early years, Bilu was part of the Armored Corps band and took part in the 1969 show ‘Just a Tanker’. He joined ‘Milk and Honey’ in 1979, a band formed specifically for the Song and Chorus Festival, where their rendition of ‘Hallelujah’, penned by Shimrit Orr and Kobi Oshrat, earned them first place. This victory came a year after Izhar Cohen’s success, ensuring their participation in the subsequent European competition. The group also included Yehuda Tamir, Reuven Gvirtz, and lead singer Gali Atari. Bilu later shifted his focus to working in various productions.


­čç«­čç¬ Blast from the Past: Ireland 1979

We know a lot about Eurovision and we want to share this knowledge with you! Therefore weÔÇÖd like to bring you a blast from the past. Today: Cathal Dunne, who represented Ireland in 1979 with the song “Happy man”. Ireland in the Eurovision Song Contest Ireland’s journey in the Eurovision Song Contest reads like a tale of two eras. Once the undeniable monarchs of Eurovision, their story is a mix of triumph and challenge, a saga of unparalleled success followed by a period of struggle. In the golden age of Irish Eurovision history, the nation didn’t just participate; they dominated. Their legacy began with Dana’s “All Kinds of Everything” in 1970. The 1980s saw Johnny Logan emerge as a Eurovision icon. His “What’s Another Year” in 1980 and “Hold Me Now” in 1987 didn’t just win; they brought him the title Mr. Eurovision. Linda Martin, with “Why Me?” in 1992, written by none other than Logan, added another chapter to this story. The 1990s continued to smile on Ireland, with Niamh Kavanagh’s “In Your Eyes” in 1993 and the duo of Paul Harrington & Charlie McGettigan with “Rock ‘n’ Roll Kids” in 1994. Eimear Quinn’s “The Voice” in 1996 was perhaps the zenith of this era. In recent years, Ireland struggles and hardly reaches the final. Johnny Logan, 1987 The Irish National Song Contest 1979 On the 4th of February, the Irish National Song Contest was held. Eight songs were performed, and regional juries chose the winner. Some familiar names could be found on the shortlist: Tweed, “No restrictions“, 4 pts, 5th Johnny Logan, “Angie”, 15 pts, 3rd Anderson, “Goodbye”, 3 pts, 6th The Memories, “The main attraction“, 13 pts, 4th Red Hurley and Tina, “Hiding behind our smile”, 0 pts, 8th Cathal Dunne, “Happy man“, 36 pts, 1st Catriona Walsh, “Superstar”, 3 pts, 6th The Miami Show Band, “Too much is going on”, 26 pts, 2nd Both Red Hurley and Tina represented Ireland before, but faced a zero this time. Totally unknown, but soon to become one of the biggest Eurovision stars ever, Johnny Logan, made his debut in this national final. Cathal Dunne Cathal Dunne, born in 1951 in Cork, Ireland, is a renowned Irish singer, widely recognized for his participation in the 1979 Eurovision Song Contest. He represented Ireland with the song “Happy Man,” which became quite popular, reaching No. 3 in the Irish charts. Dunne’s musical journey began early, influenced by his uncle, Jack Lynch, the former Taoiseach (prime minister) of Ireland. After graduating from University College Cork and Montfort College of Performing Arts in 1974, Dunne quickly made his mark in the music industry. He won the Castlebar Song Contest that same year with “Shalom” and participated in the Yamaha Music Festival in 1976 with “Lover, Not a Wife.” His single “Bad Boy” and top ten hit “Danny” further established his presence in the Irish music scene. He was also known for his performances with his backing bands, Stateside and later The Formula, in Irish clubs. In 1981, Dunne’s song “We’ll be there” was featured in Fianna F├íil’s general election campaign. His Eurovision entry “Happy Man” won him the Irish National Song Contest, beating notable competitors like Tina Reynolds, Red Hurley, and future winner Johnny Logan. He finished fifth in the Eurovision final in Jerusalem. Dunne’s move to the United States in the early 1980s marked a new chapter in his career. Settling there permanently after initial concerts in Michigan in 1982, he embraced the role of a traditional Irish balladeer, releasing several albums and diversifying his performances with comedy and show tunes. His continued dedication to music has kept him connected to his Irish roots while entertaining audiences in his adopted home. Happy Man As said, “Happy Man” was Ireland’s entry in the Eurovision Song Contest held in Jerusalem that year.┬áThis ballad with its optimistic lyrics stood out as a cheerful and engaging composition. Dunne, not just the performer but also the songwriter, showcased his multifaceted talent through this entry. The song’s essence, encapsulated in its title, reflects a positive and content outlook on life. Its light-hearted and jubilant nature resonated with audiences, leading to a respectable fifth-place finish in the contest. This achievement was significant, considering the competitive nature of Eurovision and the diverse array of musical styles it encompasses. “Happy Man” enjoyed commercial success following the contest, particularly in Ireland where it reached number three on the charts. The song remains a memorable part of Cathal Dunne’s musical career.


Dino Merlin

About Quick Facts NameEdin Dervi┼íhalidovi─ç Born12 September 1962 Nationality­čçž­čçŽ Bosnian National SelectionInternal selection 2011Va┼í ┼ílager sezone 1999 In Eurovision2011 D├╝sseldorf1999 Jerusalem SongLove In Rewind (2011)Putnici (with Beatrice, 1999) Biography Dino Merlin, born Edin Dervi┼íhalidovi─ç on September 12, 1962, in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, is a renowned Bosnian singer-songwriter, musician, and record producer. He grew up in the historic Alifakovac neighborhood of Sarajevo. Despite his mother’s initial reluctance, Dino pursued a career in music, forming his first band, Merlin, with childhood friends. Merlin’s early life was marked by his parents’ divorce when he was seven, leading him to be raised by his mother. His musical journey began with a gift of a guitar from his mother at the age of 12. By 14, he was writing his own songs, heavily influenced by Yugoslavian musicians like Bijelo Dugme and Zdravko ─îoli─ç. In university, he formed the band Merlin, which started his musical journey in earnest. Merlin’s early career was not without struggles. He had to work in a metal factory to support his family while trying to make a mark in the music industry. His perseverance paid off when he released his first album with his band in 1985. The band Merlin went on to record five studio albums, gaining significant popularity. During the Bosnian War, Merlin faced personal loss with several members of his band Merlin, including their long-time manager, being killed in attacks. This period marked a challenging phase in his life, leading to a brief contemplation of abandoning music. However, Merlin’s resilience and passion for music prevailed. In 1991, Merlin embarked on a solo career, releasing several successful albums such as “Moja bogda sna” (1993), “Fotografija” (1995), and the highly acclaimed “Sredinom” (2000). This album, in particular, became a massive hit, selling around 2,000,000 copies in the former Yugoslav republics. Merlin’s solo career also saw him perform at large venues, including a record-breaking concert at the Ko┼íevo Olympic Stadium in Sarajevo. Merlin’s music style is predominantly pop, incorporating elements of rock, folk, jazz, and classical music. His lyrics often explore themes like love, loss, nostalgia, and social issues. He has collaborated with various artists, including Haris D┼żinovi─ç and Goran Bregovi─ç, and has won numerous awards, such as the Zlatni melos, MTV Europe Music Awards, and Porin awards. Notably, Merlin represented Bosnia and Herzegovina in the Eurovision Song Contest on several occasions. He wrote and performed “Sva bol svijeta” in 1993 and collaborated with French singer B├ęatrice in 1999 for the song “Putnici.” His contributions to music and culture have made him one of the most influential figures in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Following the year 2000, Dino Merlin’s career continued to flourish, solidifying his status as one of the most prominent figures in the music scene of the Balkans. His album “Sredinom,” released in 2000, was a monumental success, becoming the top-selling album in Bosnia and Herzegovina and across the former Yugoslav republics. The album’s remarkable sales, estimated around 2,000,000 copies, set a new benchmark in the region. Merlin’s “Sredinom” tour comprised over 200 concerts, including a historic, record-breaking performance at the Ko┼íevo Olympic Stadium in Sarajevo, attracting an audience of approximately 80,000 people. In the subsequent years, Merlin continued to release successful albums, including “Burek” in 2004, “Ispo─Źetka” in 2008, “Hotel Nacional” in 2014 and “Mi” in 2021.┬á He was also deeply involved in the cultural and national identity of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Merlin was invited by the Bosnian state government to write its first-ever national anthem, “Jedna si jedina,” which served as the state’s anthem until the late 1990s. His Eurovision participation continued, representing Bosnia and Herzegovina again in 2011 with the song “Love in Rewind.” In 2021, Merlin released the single “Jedan dan jedna no─ç”. followed in 2022 by “Krive karte” and “Kako da ti ka┼żem”. In November 2023, his song “Skoro ─çe zima”┬ácame out. Entries Love In Rewind Country­čçž­čçŽ Bosnia and Herzegovina Year2011 LanguageEnglish LyricsDino Dervi┼íhalidovi─ç MusicDino Dervi┼íhalidovi─ç BackingsMaya SarAida Mu┼íanovi─çEdvin Had┼żi─çNermin Pu┼íkarMahir BeatHouse Results Semi Points: 109Position: 5Running order: 1 Results Finals Points: 125Position: 6Running order: 2 Putnici (& Beatrice) Country­čçž­čçŽ Bosnia and Herzegovina Year2012 Language­čçČ­čçž English LyricsDino Dervi┼íhalidovi─ç MusicDino Dervi┼íhalidovi─ç BackingsVesna Andr├ęe-Zaimovi─çSelma Muhedinovi─ç?? Results Points: 86Position: 7Running order: 22