From the northern outskirts of Europe, we go right to its centre and to the land of two names, medieval wonders and a president that is prone to drunken antics. It’s the Czech Republic!
The Czech Republic first took part in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2007. They could not place above second last in the semi-final on their first three attempts and withdrew from the contest in 2010. They returned in 2015 and placed thirteenth in the semi-final, their best result yet. Last year Gabriela Gunčíková became the first ever Czech artist to qualify to the grand final, where finished 25th with “I Stand”.
The Czech broadcaster, Česká televize (ČT), internally selected both the singer and artist. Martina Bárta was selected as the Czech representative for Kyiv.
Martina Bárta was born on September 1st 1988 in Prague. She gained recognition in her native country after her role in the musical Robin Hood and her performances with the Felix Slováček Big Band. Martina is currently based in Germany, where she studied at the Jazz Institut Universität der Künste in Berlin. She is a former member of the Frankfurt-am-Main based jazz band 4 to the Bar and is currently working on her own project, Scotch and Soda. She also plays the French horn. Her song for Kyiv, “My Turn” was written and composed by DWB (Paul Drew, Greig Watts and Pete Barringer) and Kyler Niko.
To be honest, when I first heard this song, I didn’t think much of it. I found it a bit of a letdown after the past two Czech entries. After a few listens, it grew on me. It is a sweet and sincere love song. Martina doesn’t need flashy tricks to get the message across because a simple delivery works best. For me, it is one of the most underrated songs this year. My only worry is that it won’t have an instant impact with viewers on the night and won’t qualify because of that.
What Could Have Been
The announcement of Martina as this year’s Czech entrant caused a bit of confusion among Czech Eurofans as they were expecteing a big name to be chosen. Someone like Lenny for example. Czech-born but London-based, Lenny has had tremendous success in her native land. With a Ceny Anděl (Czech Grammy) under her belt already, she is starting to get noticed abroad. As her song “Hello” demonstrates, she has what it takes to take on the Eurovision.
Hodně štěstí do České republiky!
Is it Martina’s turn or will she have to wait a bit longer? Leave your comments below. Stay tuned tomorrow for another Eurovision preview!
(Sources: eurovision.tv, ČT, YouTube)