Music from Ireland / Ceol ó Éirinn

In celebration of St. Patrick’s today, here are ten songs from Ireland (in no particular order).

1. Terminal 3 by Linda Martin (Eurovision 1984)


2. Never Get Old by Sinéad O’Connor


3. Raggle Taggle Gypsy/Tabhair dom do laimh by Planxty


4. Gathering Mushrooms by Clannad


5. Waiting For An Alibi by Thin Lizzy


6. Jiggery Pokery by The Duckworth Lewis Method


7. Lipstick by Jedward (Eurovision 2011)


8. Bullet the Blue Sky by U2


9. Evacuee by Enya


10. Falling Slowly by Glen Hansard w/ Markéta Irglová

New Music from Japan — March 2015

Artist: Kenji Takaoka

Location: Tokyo 東京
Soundcloud
Title: ペンシルロケット (Pencil Rocket)
Genre: pop

Toshihisa Yamada

Location: Osaka 大阪
Soundcloud / Twitter
Title: Sound Diary 2015.3.8
Genre: piano

Artist: Kiyomitsu Miyashita

Location: Tokyo 東京
Soundcloud
Title: Cookies Ear
Genre: electronic

Artist: DJ mijinko3

Location: Tokyo 東京
Soundcloud
Title: 夜明け-dawndaybreak-
Genre: piano

Artist: Mion

Location: Sendai 仙台
Soundcloud / Twitter
Title: Until morning Mion Track by Young beat’s Instrumental
Genre: rap

Previous New Music from Japan entry: Jan 2015

My first SVG website

I recently discovered Scalable Vector Graphics, or SVG for short.  For the non-web-developers out there, SVG is a way to create shapes or images on a webpage without having to use jpgs or gifs.  SVG allows developers to describe these shapes mathematically; it is not unlike plotting points on a Cartesian coordinate system in math.  SVG can be infinitely complex, and thus is not restricted to only the most basic geometric shapes.

In my first attempt to use SVG, I designed a website that had a set of “blocks” arranged in a checkerboard pattern.  But something wasn’t right; despite the fact these blocks were placed side by side, there were odd “fringes” around some of the edges.  Thinking I had miscalculated my coordinates, I checked and doublechecked, to no avail.  I also noticed some fringes would disappear if I resized my browser window, while new fringes would appear.  Since I was also using a considerable amount of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS for short; it’s a method for placing and formatting elements on a webpage) for the first time as well, I just kept thinking I had made a mistake somewhere.

checkerSVG222 checkerSVGzoom

Left: example of the blocks. Right: a closeup showing the “fringes” between the squares.

Finally I realized what was happening.  Because I wanted the set of blocks to appear centered on the browser window, fractional differences were causing these fringes to appear.  Adjacent colors or the webpage’s background color would peek through “gaps” between the blocks.  If a browser window is 1000 pixels wide and the block set is 501 pixels wide, the browser can’t render half a pixel to center the blocks, and so “fringes” would appear as the browser tried to compensate.

The solution seemed obvious; SVG can be programmed to “stack” shapes in order (the “top” appearing “closest” to the viewer’s eye, for example).  All I needed to do was extend the edges of the shapes that were “underneath” others so there would be some overlap, which would at least prevent the background page color from showing through.  Alas, the extensions would peek around the perpendicular edges of the adjacent shapes “above” them.  I still had the same problem.

Finally, I hit upon the idea of using angled extensions; they wouldn’t show around the perpendicular edges of the blocks but would fill in the “gaps” between them.

checkersSVGfix2

The angled extensions eliminate nearly all the fringing between the blocks when they are overlapped.

There are probably other ways to solve this problem (such as a “resist-dyeing” method of stacking shapes), but I’ve already spent several days trying to solve this problem so this solution will do for now.  I’ll know next time to take into account that despite the fact SVG uses exact coordinates, browsers can’t always oblige them.

Here is the finished site!  There are still a few problems with gaps where shapes cannot be overlapped (such as the left side navigational buttons “Main”, “Music”, etc.).  I sure learned a lot about SVG and CSS, though, and feel much more confident in my ability to use both in the future!

 

Eurovision Song Contest 1992

Here are my choices for best songs at the 1992 Eurovision Song Contest, which was held in Malmö, Sweden on May 9. Except for the winning entry from Ireland, I had not heard any of these songs until now.

My Rank Country Title, Artist Eurovision Final Ranking
1 Greece “Olou Tou Kosmou I Elpida”, Cleopatra 5
2 Italy “Rapsodia”, Mia Martini 4
3 Cyprus “Teriazoume” , Evridiki 11
4 Finland “Yamma, yamma”, Pave Maijanen 23
5 France “Monté la riviè”, Kali 8
6 Norway “Visjoner”, Merethe Trøan 18
7 Ireland “Why Me?”, Linda Martin 1
8 Yugoslavia “Ljubim te pesmama”, Extra Nena 13
9 Israel “Ze Rak Sport”, Dafna Dekel 6
10 Denmark “Alt det som ingen ser”, Kenny Lübcke & Lotte Nilsson 12

It was a tough decision between Greece and Italy; both had very good songs, with Italy’s Mia Martini delivering a passionate, heartrending ballad. But I’m a sucker for good modulation, and the unexpected F#m chord in the Greek chorus is what stuck in my head and tipped the scales in its favor.

Cyprus awarded 12 points to Greece, but Greece gave 12 points to Ireland, and 10 to Cyprus.

Winning Eurovision songs ranked by percentage of points

Note: this article does not take into consideration the various voting systems used over the years in the Eurovision Song Contest, nor does it address voting irregularities and disputes, or regional bloc and diasporic voting.

Note: this is an amended version; in calculating the maximum number of points a song could earn, this writer forgot that countries may not give points to themselves. The error has been corrected in this version.

In 2009, Norway’s Alexander Rybak won The Eurovision Song Contest with his entry “Fairytale” and scored a record-breaking 387 points. Sixteen countries awarded Norway the maximum number of twelve points. Three years later, Sweden’s representative Loreen broke this record when eighteen countries awarded twelve points to her song “Euphoria” (her final score, however, was 372).

All very impressive, but it doesn’t take into account the fact that when Eurovision began in 1956 there were only seven countries competing, and now there are usually about forty. There are another twenty or so countries that are either members of the Council of Europe or that fall within the European Broadcasting Area (as defined in the International Telecommunication Union) that are eligible to compete in Eurovision, so there’s the potential that these records may be broken in the future.

Here are the top songs ranked by points only.

Rank Year Country
Song Title, Artist
Points
Awarded
1 2009 Norway
“Fairytale”, Alexander Rybak
387
2 2012 Sweden
“Euphoria”, Loreen
372
3 2006 Finland
“Hard Rock Hallelujah”, Lordi
292
4 2014 Austria
“Rise Like A Phoenix”, Conchita Wurst
290
5 2013 Denmark
“Only Teardrops”, Emmelie de Forest
281
6 2004 Ukraine
“Wild Dances”, Ruslana
280
7 2008 Russia
“Believe”, Dima Bilan
272
8 2007 Serbia
“Molitva”, Marija Šerifović
268
9 2010 Germany
“Satellite”, Lena
246
10 2005 Greece
“My Number One”, Helena Paparizou
230
11 1997 United Kingdom
“Love Shine a Light”, Katrina & The Waves
227
39 1973 Luxembourg
Tu te reconnaîtras, Anne-Marie David
129

The eleventh ranking song (Love Shine A Light) is significant because there were roughly half the number of countries voting in 1997 as there are today and it still managed to acquire points comparable to those of more recent winners.

But in the same way that box office earnings for movies are sometimes adjusted for inflation, I have adjusted the ranking of winning Eurovision songs based on a percentage of maximum points awardable. For example, in a contest where forty countries participate and cast votes based on the current 12-10-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 system, the maximum number of points a song could earn is 468 (39 x 12). If a song earned 351 points in this contest, it would have received 75% of the maximum points awardable.

Here is a complete list of winning Eurovision songs ranked by percentage of points. The voting results of the first contest, held in 1956, have never been officially released; the winner was merely announced, and so there are no points to be calculated.

Rank Year Country
Song Title, Artist
# of voting
countries
Max. Possible Points Points
Awarded
Percentage
1 1973 Luxembourg
Tu te reconnaîtras, Anne-Marie David
17 160 129 80.63
2 1976 United Kingdom
Save Your Kisses for Me, Brotherhood of Man
18 204 164 80.39
3 1982 Germany
Ein bißchen Frieden, Nicole
18 204 161 78.92
4 1997 United Kingdom
Love Shine a Light, Katrina & The Waves
25 288 227 78.82
5 2009 Norway
Fairytale, Alexander Rybak
42 492 387 78.66
6 1994 Ireland
Rock ‘n’ Roll Kids, Paul Harrington and Charlie McGettigan
25 288 226 78.47
7 1986 Belgium
J’aime la vie, Sandra Kim
20 228 176 77.19
8 2012 Sweden
Euphoria, Loreen
42 492 372 75.61
9 1971 Monaco
Un banc, un arbre, une rue, Séverine
18 170 128 75.29
10 1972 Luxembourg
Après toi, Vicky Leandros
18 170 128 75.29
11 2001 Estonia
Everybody, Tanel Padar, Dave Benton, 2XL
23 264 198 75.00
12 2000 Denmark
Fly on the Wings of Love, Olsen Brothers
24 276 195 70.65
13 1975 Netherlands
Ding-a-dong, Teach-In
19 216 152 70.37
14 1978 Israel
A-Ba-Ni-Bi, Izhar Cohen & The Alphabeta
20 228 157 68.86
15 1987 Ireland
Hold Me Now, Johnny Logan
22 252 172 68.25
16 1984 Sweden
Diggi-Loo Diggi-Ley, Herreys
19 216 145 67.13
17 2014 Austria
Rise Like A Phoenix, Conchita Wurst
37 432 290 67.13
18 1977 France
L’oiseau et l’enfant, Marie Myriam
18 204 136 66.67
19 2004 Ukraine
Wild Dances, Ruslana
36 420 280 66.67
20 1980 Ireland
What’s Another Year, Johnny Logan
19 216 143 66.20
21 2006 Finland
Hard Rock Hallelujah, Lordi
38 444 292 65.77
22 1964 Italy
Non ho l’età, Gigliola Cinquetti
16 75 49 65.33
23 1993 Ireland
In Your Eyes, Niamh Kavanagh
25 288 187 64.93
24 2002 Latvia
I Wanna, Marie N
24 276 176 63.77
25 1983 Luxembourg
Si La Vie Est Cadeau, Corinne Hermès
20 228 142 62.28
26 1999 Swedeb
Take Me To Your Heaven, Charlotte Nilsson
23 264 163 61.74
27 2013 Denmark
Only Teardrops, Emmelie de Forest
39 456 281 61.62
28 1996 Ireland
The Voice, Eimear Quinn
23 264 162 61.36
29 1998 Israel
Diva, Dana International
25 288 172 59.72
30 1981 United Kingdom
Making Your Mind Up, Bucks Fizz
20 228 136 59.65
31 1990 Italy
Insieme: 1992, Toto Cutugno
22 252 149 59.13
32 1992 Ireland
Why Me?, Linda Martin
23 264 155 58.71
33 1991 Sweden
Fångad av en stormvind, Carola
22 252 146 57.94
34 1979 Israel
Hellelujah, Gali Atari and Milk and Honey
19 216 125 57.87
35 1962 France
Un premier amour, Isabelle Aubret
16 45 26 57.78
36 1988 Switzerland
Ne partez pas sans moi, Céline Dion
21 240 137 57.08
37 1985 Norway
La det swinge, Bobbysocks!
19 216 123 56.94
38 1995 Norway
Nocturne, Secret Garden
23 264 148 56.06
39 1963 Denmark
Dansevise, Grethe & Jørgen Ingmann
16 75 42 56.00
40 2003 Turkey
Everyway That I Can, Sertab Erener
26 300 167 55.67
41 2007 Serbia
Molitva, Marija Šerifović
42 492 268 54.47
42 1989 Yugoslavia
Rock Me, Riva
22 252 137 54.37
43 2008 Russia
Believe, Dima Bilan
43 504 272 53.97
44 2010 Germany
Satellite, Lena
39 456 246 53.95
45 2005 Greece
My Number One, Helena Paparizou
39 456 230 50.44
46 2011 Azerbaijan
Running Scared, Ell & Nikki
43 504 221 43.85
47 1965 Luxembourg
Poupée de cire, poupée de son, France Gall
18 85 32 37.65
48 1966 Austria
Merci, Chérie, Udo Jürgens
18 85 31 36.47
49 1957 Netherlands
Net als toen, Corry Brokken
10 90 31 34.44
50 1958 France
Dors, mon amour, André Claveau
10 90 27 30.00
51 1967 United Kingdom
Puppet on a String, Sandie Shaw
17 160 47 29.38
52 1970 Ireland
All Kinds of Everything, Dana
12 110 32 29.09
53 1960 France
Tom Pillibi, Jacqueline Boyer
13 120 32 26.67
54 1959 Netherlands
Een beetje, Teddy Scholten
11 100 21 21.00
55 1961 Luxembourg
Nous les amoureux, Jean-Claude Pascal
16 150 31 20.67
56 1968 Spain
La, la, la, Massiel
17 160 29 18.13
57 1974 Sweden
Waterloo, ABBA
17 160 24 15.00
58 1969 Spain
Vivo cantando, Salomé


United Kingdom
Boom Bang-a-Bang, Lulu


Netherlands
De troubadour, Lenny Kuhr


France
Un jour, un enfant, Frida Boccara

16 150 18 12.00
n/a 1956 Switzerland
Refrain, Lys Assia
7 n/a n/a n/a

Luxembourg’s 1973 entry “Tu te reconnaîtras”, the 39th highest song in points alone, now ranks as the highest song.  Only two countries that have competed in contests with the current number of roughly forty countries made the top ten. “Fairytale” has fallen to the fifth position and “Euphoria” has fallen to the eighth. Curiously, what is arguably the most famous song ever to win Eurovision (ABBA’s “Waterloo”, which won for Sweden in 1974) sits nearly at the bottom of the list. There were 17 countries voting that year. Each country had a panel of ten jurors who each cast a single vote for his or her favorite song. This made a total of 160 points a song could earn; out of those 160, “Waterloo” earned 24 points, or a mere 15.00 percent.

New Music from Japan – January 2015

Artist: Himuro Yoshiteru

Location: Tokyo 東京
Soundcloud
Title: Beats Log 20150114
Genre: electronic

Artist: OYMS + Kyosuke Takayasu (Totokoko label)

Location (of Totokoko): Saitama さいたま
Soundcloud / Twitter
Title: Inside of a Wind
Genre: pop
Free Download

Artist: Hizmi (Bunkai-kei label)

Location (of Bunkai-kei): Tokyo 東京
Soundcloud / Twitter
Title: Nue
Genre: electronic
Free Download

Artist: Hidekazu Wakabayashi

Location: Osaka 大阪
Soundcloud / Twitter
Title: No Coward Soul is Minë
Genre: microtuned piano
Video (YouTube)

Artist: Ryuei Kotoge

Location: Kobe 神戸
Soundcloud / Twitter
Title: Life
Genre: electronic
Purchase

Söngvakeppnin 2015 (Icelandic selection for Eurovision)

Iceland has twelve excellent songs competing in Söngvakeppnin 2015 for the honor of going to Eurovision, and much like with the Estonians, there’s a good diversity of music.  My average score for the Icelandic songs was 3.92 (on a 5-point scale), and so it was a difficult task ranking them, especially as I am always debating between the songs I like and the songs I think would do well at Eurovision (not always the same). My guess is a ballad sung by one of the ladies will go to Vienna, but there are a couple of dark horses: the selection of either the offbeat techno of “Fjaðrir” by SUNDAY (somewhat reminiscent of Norway’s 2013 entry, “I Feed You My Love” performed by Margaret Berger) or the irresistable Kylie Minogue-esque dance beat of “Fyrir alla” by CADEM could happen.

My Rank Title, Artist Semifinal Final
1 “Brotið gler” (Shattered glass) , Bjarni Lárus Hall  SF2 – eliminated
2 “Milljón augnablik” (A million moments) , Haukur Heiðar Hauksson SF2 – qualified
3 “Þú leitar líka að mér” (You’re also searching for me) , HINEMOA SF1 – eliminated
4 “Augnablik” (Moment) , Stefanía Svavarsdóttir SF1 – eliminated
5 “Fjaðrir” (Feathers), SUNDAY SF2 – qualified
6 “Myrkrið hljótt” (Silent darkness) , Erna Hrönn Ólafsdóttir SF1 – eliminated
7 “Aldrei of seint” (Never too late) , Regína Ósk SF2 – eliminated
8 “Fyrir alla” (For everyone) , CADEM SF2 – qualified
9 “Piltur og stúlka” (Boys and girls) , Björn og félagar SF1 – qualified
10 “Í kvöld” (Tonight) , Elín Sif Halldórsdóttir SF1 – qualified

There will be two semi-finals held in Iceland on January 31 and February 7; I will update this page with the results on those dates. Good luck and “Gangi þér vel!” to all the participants in Söngvakeppnin 2015.  The 2015 Eurovision Song Contest will take place in Vienna, Austria on May 19, 21, and 23, 2015.

February 16 2015 update: none of my top ten choices were chosen to represent Iceland! Instead, María Ólafsdóttir will perform “Unbroken” (original Icelandic title, “Lítil skref”) at the second semi-final on May 21 in Vienna. Good luck, María!

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