Eurovisionary

Eurovisionary
28
April
2017

France 2017: Alma releases new track from her upcoming album

France 2017: Alma releases new track from her upcoming album

Alma won’t only represent her home country France at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, she is also preparing the release of her first album Ma Peau Aime.

The title of her album is a double entendre title “Ma Peau Aime” which directly translates to My Skin Loves, but also sounds like “My Poem”.

The album will of course include her Eurovision entry Requiem, both the original version fully in French and the one with English lyrics, as well as the song she had released back in 2016 titled La Chute Est Lente (The fall is slow).

On April 21st, Alma released a third song from her upcoming album called A Demi Pardonnée (Half Forgiven). The song speaks of a slowly failing relationship.

Today Alma posted the following clip with her newest song Ivre (Drunk).

Pré-commandez sur @iTunes mon album “Ma peau aime” et recevez aujourd’hui le titre “Ivre” : https://t.co/smBKZGRr1g Sortie le 5 Mai ! pic.twitter.com/9BxFhxQR4R

— Alma (@almaofficiel) April 28, 2017

In the song Ivre, Alma speaks about how she gets herself drunk on many things, getting her to taste the sadness, yet through all this she remains empty. Empty but drunk of herself.

You can pre-purchase Alma’s album on iTunes or listen to the already released tracks on Spotify here:

See alsoListen to Alma & Amir performing Requiem acoustic

Categories: Eurovisionary

28
April
2017

The ultimate Kyiv transport guide

The ultimate Kyiv transport guide

Need to know how to get to downtown Kyiv from the airport? Or which options are best to get from your hotel to the arena? Look no further. We have compiled all of the information you need about transportation in the 2017 Eurovision host city.

Ukrainian public transport is often considered one of the most cheapest and most reliable in Europe. They include Metro (most popular) and are followed by trolleybuses, buses and trains. You can get to practically everywhere in Kyiv using public transport.

I am British, but with relatives in Ukraine, I have been to Kiev several times. Here is my ultimate guide to transport in the city.

Contents

  • 1 Getting from the airport to central Kyiv
  • 2 Getting around in Kyiv
  • 3 Useful words and phrases for using transport in Kyiv

Getting from the airport to central Kyiv

I want to first of all mention that the Ukrainian currency is a closed currency and it can be difficult to purchase before you travel. The first thing that you should do is find a cash point at the airport and withdraw some money or visit the Обмін Балють (bureau de change). I wouldn’t advice you withdrawing/ exchanging all of your money at the airport as the exchange rate won’t be as good as places in Kyiv. But you will need money to use the transport systems, which ever way you decide to travel.

Arriving at Kyiv Boryspil Airport

Kyiv Boryspil is the main international airport in Kyiv. There are different options in getting to central Kyiv from Boryspil airport. It all depends on your budget and your patience.

Taxi is probably the easiest, fastest and most comfortable method, but it is more expensive than the Metro. The price would be anywhere between 350-800 UAH (12-30 euros) depending on whether you get a minibus or regular taxi. The taxi journey will typically take around 35 minutes depending on traffic conditions.

When I was last in Kyiv in 2016, there was a new Taxi stand in the arrivals hall of Boryspil airport. If you are there and tell the kiosk clerk where you are going then he/she will calculate the cost and print you a sales receipt. You then take this to one of taxis that are outside of the terminal and give it to them. You will no doubt be paying more than what a local would, but you will have piece of mind knowing the price before you get in the taxi.

The cheaper way is to get the bus from the airport to the main train station in Kyiv. From there you can get the metro to central Kyiv or to your hotel. The total journey will take around 1.5 hrs.

The Sky buses depart regularly from Terminals B and D and will cost you 60UAH (0.55 Euro) for a single journey. They run 24 hours a day but become less frequent during the night. They are purple in colour so you can’t miss them. Follow the signs in the airport, these are now in English. Once you get to the train station there will be an additional charge for the metro (see below).

Arriving at Kyiv Zhulhany Airport

Kyiv Zhulhany airport is located nearer to downtown Kyiv than Boryspil at about 9km. Again a taxi is the easiest and most comfortable option but is more expensive than using the public transport methods. You can pick up a taxi outside of the terminal buildings. Please see below for more information on using taxis in Kyiv.

The use the public transport you can get either a trolleybus or a mini bus. The bus stop is located 200m from Terminals A and D. Trolleybus number 22 to syrets metro station departs every 10-15 minutes and costs 3 UAH. You will need to get off the bus at Shuliavska metro station. From here you can get the metro to Kreschatyk station (5 stops away) where you will be in central Kyiv. This will cost 4UAH. From here you can change lines to get nearer to your hotel if it is not located near by.

See alsoNew book: The history of modern Europe told through the Eurovision Song Contest

Getting around in Kyiv

Metro

Kyiv Metro Map

Each single journey on the metro costs 4 UAH (0.14€, £0.12). You must purchase a metro token, known locally as a Zheton) at the station by either machine or from the cashier. These tokens are then placed into the turnstile which will then allow you to pass through.

The metro is the most quickest way to get around Kyiv. Personally, I would take this mode of transport over any.

Arsenalna metro station in Kyiv is the deepest station in the world at 105.5 metres deep. The journey from the station to get out to the street is a 5 mile escalator climb. The metro stations in Kyiv usually require a fair climb down some stairs. They do have some wheel chair ramps, but these are very steep!

Taxi

Taxis are also a good way to get round, more specifically to and from the airport. However, this can be a risky business. Never get into an unregistered taxi and if you are unsure, always get your hotel to call a local taxi firm. Another important thing is to always confirm the price with the driver before getting in the car. If you encounter a language barrier say to the driver “Na Pishit'” (Write it down). A couple of years ago, my family of 10 got into 3 taxis, we all departed and arrived at the same place. One driver charged 300 UAH, the second 350 UAH and the third 500 UAH. There was not much we could do as we had already made the journey.

Car

While the roads in Kyiv are great in comparison to the rest of the country, I would advise against any foreigners hiring cars or driving in Kyiv. Unfortunately, what you might have heard about the police in Ukraine is often true and police often pull over cars in the hope of a bribe. The police are good at identifying cars that have been hired, from another country or different region in Ukraine and will waste no time in pulling you over. Usually the police will accept 100UAH bribe, which in the scheme of things is not a lot of money

One time, when I was travelling into Kyiv from another city, we were pulled over by a policeman who was obviously seeking a bribe. Luckily I had my video camera with me and I had my work ID badge still in my handbag. Before he could say anything we told them that were were British journalists filming a documentary corruption in Eastern Europe. After a short pause he told us to have a safe trip and we went on our way. So, maybe if you are press and have your press badges and recording equipment with you in the car then you might get away with it. Hopefully the police will be warned against doing such things during the Eurovision weeks.

Trolleybus

Trolleybuses are essentially buses run by electricity, they are connected to the electricity by overhead wires. They can take you almost anywhere in Kyiv and are frequent and reliable. They run between the hours of 06:00-22:00. Each journey on the trolleybus costs 3 UAH and this is paid to the driver. If the trolleybus is especially full and you get on in the middle of the trolleybus then this is passed down to the driver by each passenger. Good old fashioned team work. Alternatively, you can buy tickets from kiosks and these are punched by the driver.

Walking

Needless to say that, if you are not in a rush to get anywhere then walking is the best transport method for exploring the city. Kyiv has some fairly steep streets so I would advise that you wear sensible shoes. You will see lots of young Ukrainian girls tottering around in sky scraper heels – honestly, I don’t know how they do it!

Kyiv Funicular

Kyiv Funicular

The Funicular in Kyiv is one of only two in the entire country. The second one is located in Odessa. The Funicular is an easy to get from the upper part of the town to the city centre and vice versa. The trip lasts approximately 3 minutes costs 3UAH. You need to buy a token and put this into the turnstile before getting on. The Funicular is perfect if you have walked down Andriy’s Descent and don’t have the energy to walk all the way back up to get to the centre.

If you have any questions about transport in Kyiv please make a comment on the article, and I will try to help as much as I can.

Useful words and phrases for using transport in Kyiv

ВокзалVokzal – Train Station (You can follow this with the name of the station)
МетроMetro – Metro (You can follow this with the name of the station)
КасаKasa – Cashier/Ticket office
Скілький це коштує до …?Skil’ky tse koshtuye do …? – What is the cost to…?
Я б хотів одін квиток до..Ya b khotiv odin kvytok do … – I’d like one ticket to…
МайданMaidan – Independence Square
Міжнародний виставковий центрMizhnarodniy vistavkoviy tsentr – International Exhibition Centre (ESC Venue)
Будь ласка, напишітьBud’ laska, Napishit’ – Please write it down
Bи говорите по Английски?Vy hovorite po Anhliyskiy? – Do you speak English?

See alsoUkrainian culture and customs that you need to know

Categories: Eurovisionary

27
April
2017

Italy 2017: Listen to the alternative versions of Occidentali’s Karma

Italy’s entry had to be cut down to fit within the three minutes rule. The official trimmed version for the Eurovision Song Contest left fans disappointed. Are some of the alternative versions better?

Many fans weren’t pleased when Italy released the official 3 minutes version of Francesco Gabbani’s Occidentali’s Karma. This shorter version will be used for the Eurovision Song Contest. Many thought that the removal of the second verse of the song simply killed the charm of it. Though the bookmakers didn’t react to it, Italy is still top favourite, some fans even saw it as Italy threw away the victory.

In an attempt to show that it could have been done differently, and maybe even wake up the Italian broadcaster RAI, some of the fans even went as far as to make their own edited versions.

See alsoUkrainian culture and customs that you need to know

Carsten Helmig Nilsson from Denmark tells EuroVisionary that he made his version as he thought it should be possible to do without destroying as much as the Italians did. He adds that he thinks that “the new version is sloppy made. There is basically only the chorus left with the bridges in between. The second verse was rather important, in order to keep the good flow in the song which the original one has.”

Listen to Carsten’s version of the song:

Where Carsten has cut out the line “The naked ape dances”, others however found that too important to get rid off. One of them is Dutch Paul Lashmana. When we ask why he made his version, he explains that it was done “in direct reaction to what I perceive a very blunt way of cutting back such a great song“.

He continues, with a direct appeal to RAI: “I think the cuts made in the official version are very audible and also taking away too much of the actual content of the song. I knew staunch fans were always going to be disappointed with whatever version was going to come out, but when the general feeling is that the current edit is actually hurting the song, then maybe it’s time to go back to the drawing board“.

Paul ends with making clear that he however still have high hopes for this song. “Whatever version is performed in Kyiv though, it still will be one of the best songs in the competition. I hope he goes all the way“.

See alsoFan activities scheduled across the city of Kyiv for Eurovision 2017

Listen to Paul’s version of the song:

As we talk to Paul, he did tell us that he after making his version noticed that someone else made basically the same edits as him – before the official version was released.

The French YouTube uploader behind that one, also uploaded a second attempt at trimming the song, similar to the first one, but where he didn’t cut anything on the third verse, but instead slightly increased the speed of the song to make it fit.

Listen to the slightly faster version:

Categories: Eurovisionary

27
April
2017

Ukrainian culture and customs that you need to know

Ukrainian culture and customs that you need to know

Independence Square, Kyiv

You don’t know what to expect in Ukraine? EuroVisionary provides you with a comprehensive guide to the local customs and cultures that you might experience. Here is all that you need to know for your upcoming trip to the 2017 Eurovision host city Kyiv.

Ukraine is a country steeped in rich tradition. Despite only being an independent nation since 1991, Ukraine’s culture and traditions stretch over thousands of years. Apart from cultural differences there are also local customs that you might not expect as a foreigner. I am English, but I have family who still live in Ukraine and whom I visit often. I will tell you what other guides don’t do, to make sure that you are fully prepared for your trip to Kyiv.

 Local Customs

Toilets

Ladies squatting toilets

This is mainly for the ladies. While toilets in the hotels and most restaurants will have traditional western toilets, this isn’t the case everywhere. Train and metro stations along with some shopping malls will have squatting toilets, pretty much posh holes in the floor. Toilet facilities in these places are usually manned by a lady behind a desk. In most places using the toilet is free, but toilet paper can be purchased from the lady at the front desk and when you pay you don’t get very much of it. My advice is to carry your own.

Gifts

If you are staying with a Ukrainian family or renting a room from someone in Kyiv, it is custom to bring a gift to say thank you. Ideally, this should be something from your home town or country. So think of something unique to the country you are from. It doesn’t have to be an expensive gift. When I visit my family in Ukraine I always take with me some good English tea and English chocolates. If you want to buy your host some flowers, only buy in odd numbers. Even numbers of flowers are strictly for funerals and is considered bad luck otherwise.

Church

Ladies should wear a head scarf when entering a Ukrainian Church

There is a certain required dress code when entering a church – even for tourists. Men should take off their hat before entering the church and women should wear a head scarf and skirts should be below the knee in length. I have seen a woman denied entry from a church because her skirt was above the knee.

There are some beautiful and incredible looking churches in Kyiv namely St Sophia and St Michael along with the magnificent Kievo-Pecersk Lavra.

Bank Holidays

There are a couple of bank holidays that are observed in May and depending on when you travel to Kyiv for the upcoming contest, it could affect you.

The 1st and 2nd of May is known as the International Workers’ Day (Labour Day) and most places will be closed. Following on from this is Victory Day which is observed on the 9th. Victory Day was a big celebration until the recent Ukrainian-Russian tension surfaced. I have been in Kyiv on Victory Day and seen a wonderful concert that lasted from early afternoon until late in the evening, notable Eurovision singers such as Ruslana and Tina Karol have performed on Maidan on such events. This year, the 9th May coincides with the first Semi Final of the Eurovision Song Contest so it is extremely unlikely that any special events will take place to commemorate this day this year.

Alcohol & food

Typical Ukrainian Feast

Ukrainians love to treat their hosts to copious amounts of food and alcohol.   Over feeding guests is tradition!

If you are invited to dine with your hosts, be prepared for it – there will be many courses, it is considered rude and disrespectful if you don’t eat so try to make the effort. As well as food, there are many toasts that will be made. Usually each person at the table will give a toast. The refusal to drink alcohol is also considered rude. If you don’t want to get drunk then it is best to say at the start of the meal that you can’t drink alcohol because of medication you are taking. That way, the host will not be offended.

In Ukraine it isn’t common for tea and coffee to be served with milk so it is almost always necessary to ask for it in addition. You can learn how below.

Чай з молоком – Chay z molokom – Tea with milk
Кава з молоком – Kava z molokom – Coffee with milk

Attitudes towards LGBT

LGBT issues are still a taboo subject in Ukraine, however, attitudes are slowly changing for the better. The most recent Equality March that took place in Kyiv at the end of last year went by fairly peacefully. The current Eurovision winner Jamala signed an open letter to Amnesty International calling for the Kyiv government official to protect the parade marchers. This came as a result of Nationalists promising a ‘bloodbath’. The government assigned 5,500 police officers to protect the 1,500 marchers. It was later reported that 57 people were detained but later released. However, earlier on in the year an LGBT march in the western city of L’viv was called off due to fear of violence from the far right.

Homosexuality in Ukraine isn’t prohibited by law. However, I would suggest airing on the side of caution when in Kyiv and avoid any outward public displays of affection.

Disabled Access

Kyiv is not one of the most disability friendly cities, and people with disabilities may find it difficult getting in and out of metro stations. The metro stations are deep underground and in most places you can only get up and down by stairway or escalators. Some of the metro stations have small but very steep ramps and it would be very difficult to negotiate around them safely. Pavements and roads can be littered with pot holes which can also make getting around generally difficult.

Language

The official language of Ukraine is Ukrainian. However, in Kyiv, both Ukrainian and Russian languages are used. In most recent years the Ukrainian language has been used more widely. You would certainly impress people if you tried to speak some Ukrainian while in Kyiv.

Ukrainian alphabet

Useful words and phrases

Привіт – Pryvit – Hi
Як справи? – Yak Spravy? – How are you?
Добре, Дякую. А ви? – Dobre, dyakuyu. A vi? – I’m good, thank you. And you?
Будь ласка -Bud’ laska – Please (Also note, Bud’ laska is also the same word for ‘You’re Welcome’).
Так – Tak – Yes (The Russian ‘Da’ will also be understood)
Ні– Ni – No (The Russian ‘Nyet’ will also be understood)
Дякую – Dyakuyu – Thank you
Мене звати… – Mene Zvaty… – My name is …
Як вас звати? – Yak vas zvaty? – What is your name?
Я – Ya – I (also I am)
Будьмо – Bud’mo – Cheers

Я з – Ya z – I’m from …
Швеції -Shwestiyi (Sweden)
Данії – Daniyi (Denmark)
Англії – Anhliyi (England)
Франції – Frantsiyi (France)
Бельгії – Bel’hiyi (Belgium)
Австралії – Avstraliyi (Australia)
Ісландії – Islandiyi (Iceland)
Німеччини – Nimechchini (Germany)
Греції – Gretsiyi (Greece)
Угорщини – Uhorshchini (Hungary)

If you want to ask someone a question, a common phrase to remember is Скажить будьласка, де? – Skazhit’ bud’laska, de? – Tell me please, where is?

Майдан назалежності – Maidan Nazalezhnosti – Independence Square (or simply say Maidan, they will know where you mean)

Софійский собор – Sofiyskiy sobor – St Sophia’s Cathedral

Станция метро – Stantsiya Metro – Metro Station

Mузей – Musey – Museum

Міжнародний виставковий центр – Mizhnarodniy vistavkoviy tsenter – International Exhibition Centre

Categories: Eurovisionary

26
April
2017

Nathan Trent covers Elhaida Dani’s 2015 Eurovision entry

Nathan Trent covers Elhaida Dani’s 2015 Eurovision entry

“I’m Alive” released today, is the fourth Eurovision cover from Austrian’s Nathan Trent. He has now released the same number of covers as Amir did last year. 

This year’s cover darling, Nathan Trent, is now at four Eurovision covers. Today, he released the Albanian entry from 2015 I’m Alive. Back then it was song by Elhaida Dani who made it to the final on the last spot. In the final she finished 17th with 34 points.

Just like with the previous three covers, Trent once again is joined by Filipino/Austrian musician Lennox on guitar. The song is recorded at 25hours Hotel at MuseumsQuartier.

See alsoThree acoustic Eurovision covers from Nathan Trent

Watch Nathan Trent’s version of the 2015 Albanian Eurovision entry in the video below.

Categories: Eurovisionary

25
April
2017

Oso Zo: Listen to the Greek version of “This Is Love”

Oso Zo: Listen to the Greek version of “This Is Love”

Few days before Demy leaves for Kyiv, she released the Greek version of This Is Love, the Greek entry for the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest. In Greek the song is called Oso Zo (As Long As I Live).

Demy has her first rehearsal on the 1st of May, and we are all curious to see what Fokas Evangelinos has directed this time.

See alsoThree acoustic Eurovision covers from Nathan Trent

Oso Zo is also with Greek lyrics, a love song. The main theme of the lyrics don’t change in the Greek version. The chorus in Greek translates to: “As long as I live, I want you to be here, next to me to say all this, I love you“. The English lyrics used for Eurovision are “This is love, reaching out for the stars, you and me as one everywhere, this is love“.

Do you prefer it in Greek or in English? Let us know in the comments.

Categories: Eurovisionary

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