I was out of the country for The Eurovision Song contest. This annual musical fiesta used to be a staple of my childhood, but it’s been years since I watched it all the way through. I don’t have the attention span or patience for a programme of that length often offering mostly dodgy tunes. When I did used to watch it regulalry, I was fascinated by the difference in musical styles and fashions; what I thought was dreadful would be amazing to a Belgian. I also used to love cackling along as Terry Wogan giggled his way through the presentation. It’s not been the same for me since he stopped doing it. Baa humbug – what a miserablist I can be!
While Eurovision was going on, I was in Mallorca. The bars played a mixture of music I recognised from my daughter’s chart playlist and Europop my ears had never heard before and wasn’t at all offensive. On the plane home I flicked through SleazyJet’s in-flight magazine and came across an article titled “How To Be Bigger Than Björk” I wasn’t about to let that one pass without reading it. The article is an interview with Icelandic musician, Ásgeir and describes his sound as a mix between Ben Howard and James Blake – so far so good. I had a listen once I was home and over my cycling fatigue. It’s really quite lovely; the journalist’s description is pretty accurate, I would also add a hint of Mumford and Sons too. I can’t say he’ll be a permanent feature of my playlists yet it was an interesting discovery.
It made me realise there must be hundreds of artists doing well in their own nations and territories of Europe that are relatively unknown to listeners outside their homeland. Don’t get me wrong, I know and love plenty of European bands and musicians – because they are played on UK radio. I tend not to seek out musical gems unless it’s made known to me first or recommended by a friend. Call it ignorance or laziness – I also don’t have the time. That’s where you come in! I want you to tell me about European gems you’ve come across that deserve a wider audience outside their homeland.
Yet again ‘Spillers I come to you to fill in the gaps in my musical knowledge. What can you tell me about all this and who else should I be tracking down?