Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Hatari - Iceland's Entry for Eurovision 2019

There’s something very special that happens every year for those of us who live in Europe. Right around springtime, we start listening to new groups, new music, and new songs from different countries all around the continent. It is the unmistakable sign that we are getting closer and closer to the Eurovision Song Contest. What has Iceland prepared this year to surprise our European neighbors? If you are curious to know the Icelandic entry for this magnificent competition, stay tuned because I'm sure you’ll have very strong feelings about it one way or the other.

Iceland's entry for Eurovision 2019 is Hatari

Eurovision Song Contest 


I know that many of our dear readers don’t live in Europe, so it’s likely that you’ve never heard of Eurovision. If the name doesn’t ring a bell, let’s clarify things a bit before we dive into the article.

The Eurovision song festival is an international competition. The contests are mainly from European countries, and it’s held every year in different countries around the continent. All the participating countries submit a singer or group to represent them. And the song they perform must be 100% original and created specifically for the festival. Many times the winner goes on to have the “song of the summer” and it’s all you hear in bars, clubs, and discos for the next few months. It’s a bit like American Idol or Pop Idol, but on a more global scale.

In the lyrics, you should not include political content that can cause tensions among the various nations that participate in it. The venue of the festival each year is assigned to the country that won the competition the previous year. This 2019, Eurovision will be held in Tel Aviv, Israel.

A Truly International Competition


I know what you’re going to say. “Wait a minute! Israel’s not in Europe”! Relax, there’s no need to panic. What they taught you in geography class was true, Israel is not in Europe. What happens is that with the passage of time, the festival has gained participants from outside of European borders. Therefore, it has allowed countries located in other areas of the globe, such as Australia, to compete.

The way it works is that the festival has a first gala where the songs that move on to the final are pre-selected. Then, on the big night, the finalists perform their songs and a winner is crowned. Both the citizens of all participating countries and a professional jury vote in the competition. This makes up an audience of some 200 million people. Awesome, right? And did you know that artists the caliber of ABBA, Julio Iglesias or Bonnie Tyler have appeared in the contest? As citizens of Sweden, Spain, and Wales (UK) they were all eligible to represent their respective countries. French-Canadian singer Celine Dion has also made an appearance.

Iceland’s Participation in Eurovision


This small Nordic nation has participated no less than 31 times since it debuted in 1986. Unfortunately, much like the World Cup, we have never won. But we have finished a close second twice. With artists Selma in 1999 and Yohanna in 2009. The song that Yohanna sang was called "Is it True?" And it was also recorded in Spanish, in case anyone wants to listen to it under the name "Si te vas" Now, just like everyone else, we keep trying our best to win every year.

In the case of Iceland, we have submitted songs in both English and Icelandic. This has led us to have several contestants in the top five of the songs the most voted during many years. Most of our contestants have had the musical style of a calm and melodic pop tune or a soft and catchy rock anthem. This year, everything changed. Maybe taking a huge risk and completely changing directions will pay off with a victory?

Icelandic band Hatari is competing in Eurovision 2019 in Tel Aviv, Israel

Hatari - Eurovision 2019


This year I don’t know if we will be the winners of the festival. But I can definitely assure you that we will not leave anyone indifferent. The submission that won the votes of the Söngvakeppnin, which is the national gala to choose our Eurovision representative, was Hatari.

Hatari is a band made up of three friends who met at the art school. They are Klemens Hannigan, Matthias Tryggvi Haraldson, and Einar Stéfansson. They define themselves as a sadomasochistic and anti-capitalist techno group. According to the band's own members, participating in Eurovision brings them closer to their goal of destroying capitalism. It's definitely not very typical Icelandic music. With this brief description, I think that you already have an idea of what is to come.

The song presented to and chosen by the public was "Hatrið Mun Sigra". Translated into English it means "Hate will prevail". I warn you that I am not a professional music critic, so you can pay attention to what I’m about to say or not. When I heard the song for the first time, I thought: this is Rammstein singing a duet with Depeche Mode mixed with Marilyn Manson and a few droplets reminiscent of Slipknot to mixed in to refine the sound aesthetic. I have not recovered from listening to it yet. Perhaps that is exactly what will happen to Europe and Israel at the next festival: it will be difficult for them to recover.

A Controversial Eurovision Submission


There are currently rumors that Israel, the host of the festival that year, might ban the group from participating because Hatari is currently boycotting the Hebrew country.

The contrast between the message of this year's candidate and the one we sent last year is so strong that is has been mocked on social media. In 2018 Ari Ólafsson sang a soft yet powerful ballad whose message spoke of peace, unity, helping each other, creating change and promoting love. This year Iceland has decided to take a walk on the dark side. The lyrics to "Hatrið Mun Sigra" are written entirely in Icelandic. Here’s the translation to English, which I think speak for themselves. I’ll let you be the judge.

Svallið var hömlulaust - Unrestricted libertinism
Þynnkan er endalaus - An excessive hangover
Lífið er tilgangslaust - Life is meaningless
Tómið heimtir alla - Emptiness will consume everything
Hatrið mun sigra - Hate will prevail
Gleðin tekur enda - All joy will be spoiled
Endar er hún blekking - It's all just an illusion
Svikul tálsýn - A fictional longing
Allt sem ég sá - It's all I saw
Runnu niður tár - Tears falling crudely
Allt sem ég gaf - Everything I have given
Eitt sinn gaf - Everything I once gave
Ég gaf þér allt - I gave it all to you

Alhliða blekking - Universal confusion
Einhliða refsingar - Unilateral Abomination
Auðtrúa aumingjar - Of a naive hope
Flóttinn tekur enda - The exit ends
Tómið heimtir alla - Emptiness will consume everything
Hatrið mun sigra - Hate will prevail

Evrópa hrynja - And Europe will collapse
Vefur lyga - Burning it entire network of lies
Rísið úr öskunni - Get out of the ashes
Sameinuð sem eitt - Unified as one
Allt sem ég sa - Everything I saw
Runnu niður tár - The tears falling crudely
Allt sem ég gaf - Everything I have given
Eitt sinn gaf - Everything I once gave
Ég gaf þér allt - I gave it all to you
Allt sem ég sa - Everything I saw
Runnu niður tár - Tears falling crudely

Allt sem ég gaf - Everything I have given
Eitt sinn gaf -  Everything I once gave
Ég gaf þér allt - I gave it all to you
Hatrið mun sigra - Hate will prevail
Ástin deyja - Love will not help
Hatrið mun sigra - Hate will prevail
Gleðin tekur enda - All joy will be spoiled
Endar er hún blekking - It's just an illusion
Svikul tálsýn - A fictional longing
Hatrið mun sigra - Hate will prevail

Definitely a bit dark, wouldn't you say?

Hatari performing their Eurovision entry "Hate will prevail"

Hatari - Iceland's Entry for Eurovision 2019


After listening to this not-so-hopeful take on life, I would love for you to leave your comments with what you think of our Eurovision entry. Of course, you can also tell us your favorite countries and groups you’re cheering for. If you have never seen Eurovision, I encourage you that this May 18th, you tune into the broadcast and enjoy this one-one-a-kind musical spectacle with us.

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