Nostalgia Sunday – Eurovision and A-ba-ni-bi’s lasting legacy
The 53rd annual Eurovision song contest takes place this week! Oh, joy! And if you live under a rock, or in a country where they have better things to do, and don’t know about this annual Europe-wide musical extravaganza, here is a brief explanation.
This year, Israel will be represented by singers Noa and Mira Awad, and while we wish the duo well, their entry, a message song called “There must be a better way”, isn’t the sort of light fare that has put Israel up top in years gone by.
Israel won Eurovision for the first time in 1977, with the entry A-ba-ni-bi, sung by Izhar Cohen and Apha-beta. It was a great moment in Israeli pop culture history, when we proved to the world we could be a nation like any other, crafting light, catchy Europop ditties, wearing tight outfits and dancing to the disco beat. (When Israel won Eurovision again the following year, national euphoria hit heights not seen since the Six Day War).
Over the years, it transpires, A-ba-ni-bi has developed a following, particularly among those nations whose agenda includes proving to the world they could be a nation like any other, crafting light, catchy Europop ditties, wearing tight outfits and dancing to the disco beat. Here we present a variety of renditions, starting with a camp version in Thai:
Iceland’s 2008 Eurovision Song Contest entrants Euroband:
A trance version in Spanish:
And of course, the good old original:
Izhar Cohen is still around, still performing and even appeared in a commercial for the Israel Postal Service. For more versions of A-ba-ni-bi, check out NME and the EuroCovers blog. And check out the official Eurovision YouTube site for more videos, past and present.