So we have a new country at Eurovision this year! Well, not exactly – but we do have a new name for a existing country. The EBU has finally adopted the Czechia name, moving from the original Czech Republic. Czechia has one of the shorter histories in the contest, with only Australia having fewer appearances among the current countries competing. Yet they have managed to get in my top 10 regularly, though in the grand final slightly fewer times. Can the early season buzz about “My Sister’s Crown” from Vesna give them a fifth appearance in the grand final?
Vesna won the Czech national final at a canter (quite an odd national final with two rather budget shows – one for the live performances, then a week of voting, then a results show). They are six-piece all female band, founded in 2016 by band member Patricie Fuxová, to “celebrate femininity and Slavic sisterhood”. While they perhaps get categorised in the folk pop genre, they don’t see themselves as doing folk songs, and while “My Sister’s Crown” does have some distinct ethnic/folk sounds in it, it’s a very modern song.
The song is ostensibly a story of sisterhood, respect and support and as a protest against gender inequality. It also has a strong message of support for Ukraine – while not overtly stated, the lyrics of the anthemic chorus are clearly intended as a message of support to Ukraine, and moreover the chorus is sung in Ukrainian. Other languages are used in the song – we have English of course, but also Czech and Bulgarian (that comes in a rap part of the song). The three non-English languages thus comprise the three Slavic language branches: West Slavic (Czech), South Slavic (Bulgarian) and East Slavic (Ukrainian).
This is a really compelling track with a strong message behind it. It’s far from a paint-by-numbers entry, and certainly not a safe choice at all but I respect it all the more for that. The music video is well worth a watch and I think helps give more context and feel to the story of the song. The chorus is a real stand out part of this for me – especially the chorus that comes at the bridge, it has the makings of a really dramatic moment on stage, if presented right and they can pull off the harmonies. I’m really intrigued to see what the staging for this will be like.
This had rode high in the various fan polls such as the Eurovision scoreboard app right from the start which I think does bode well for Vesna’s chances – at least for qualification. Countries like Czechia face a tougher time to qualify than many so it’s good they have maintained that support despite being one of the first entries chosen in the national final season. There have been some concerns over live vocals in the pre-parties, but they sounded pretty good to me at LEP. I think it’s how it all comes together on stage that is going to be key – they are favoured to qualify but I still fear there is a chance of a shock non-qualification if the staging or concept is messy. Let’s keep our fingers crossed as I really want to see this in the final.
Czechia in the Eurovision Song Contest
First entered: 2007
Appearances (excluding this year): 10
Best result: 6th in 2018
Last year’s result: 22nd