One area of Europe I have barely touched thus far in my Top 5s are the Balkans – and the break up of Yugoslavia in the 1990s brought several new countries to the contest (though we shouldn’t overlook that Yugoslavia had been in the contest for almost 30 years until its final year in 1992). First up is the second most successful of the ex-Yugoslav countries – Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Sadly, Bosnia has largely been missing from the contest in the last few years due to ongoing financial problems, but with 19 entries, I’ve had a few entries to choose from.
5. Fazla “Sva bol svijeta” (1993, 16th place, 27 points)
A bit of a sentimental inclusion this one – Bosnia was in the midst of the terrible Bosnian war when they sent their first ever entry to Eurovision as a separate country. It’s not a bad song at all, and I think the country’s pain and anguish comes through in this. During voting, it was a special moment when through a very crackly line, you could here “Good evening, this is Sarajevo calling” – a city that was under siege at the time.
4. Dino & Beatrice “Putnici” (1999, 7th place, 86 points)
This has a great Balkan folk music chorus but the performance of the verses (partly spoken/rap) put me off placing it higher. It was Bosnia’s best result to date though, and remains their third best result in the contest. And it won’t be the last we see of Dino in this list…
3. Hari Mata Hari “Lejla” (2006, 3rd place, 229 points)
A fine example of a typically sweeping andl Balkan ballad – something of a Eurovision staple in the 2000s – this is Bosnia’s best ever result and likely to remain so for a long time (provided Bosnia make a full return).
2. Laka “Pokušaj” (2008, 10th place, 110 points)
Bit of a curveball this one and this flummoxed Terry Wogan in how it did so well! But I actually quite like the song even if the staging is, well, a little unusual. As one YouTube commenter put it, Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham-Carter have seen better days 🙂 It’s fun though!
1. Dino Merlin “Love in Rewind” (2011, 6th place, 125 points)
Dino is back! And significantly more silver-haired – but in possession of an even better song. For me, this is head and shoulders above all the other Bosnian entries and did deservedly well, coming in 6th place. It worked well in the huge venue that hosted Eurovision that year in Germany. Unlike most Bosnian entries, it’s largely sung in English, but there is some Bosnian in there as well.
Did you agree? No sign of Deen in my top 5 – in either of his two very contrasting appearances – would you have included him? Several more ex-Yugoslav countries to come…