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  • Writer's pictureSteven Garner

Celebrating Latvia's "novelty" Eurovision entries

Today, November 18, is 'Latvijas Republikas proklamēšanas diena' or Proclamation Day of the Republic of Latvia, which commemorates the official declaration of the Baltic nation's independence, with public events taking place across the country.

To mark the day, let's look back at some of Latvia's contributions to a (once) ubiquitous and - in the mind of the general public - still key component of the Eurovision Song Contest: the "novelty" entry.

The Jolly Green Diet

The most recent addition to Latvian entries in the "novelty" genre came courtesy of last year's act Citi Zēni and their homage to all things eco-friendly: 'Eat Your Salad'.

The six-piece boyband - dressed in The Wiggles' style single-tone suits - sang that being green is hot, cool and "sexy as f*ck", but left it to the Turin live audience to shout out the final word of the cheeky opening line.

However, despite the colour, enthusiasm and crowd engagement, the first semi-final's televoters ranked the "other boys" only fifteenth out of seventeen, ultimately meaning that Latvia's fourteenth place overall was not enough for it to make the Grand Final.

'Eat Your Salad' wasn't the first food-related "novelty" entry to come out of Riga though.

The Great Latvian Bake Off

Compared with Poland's infamous butter churners and France's divisive tribute to facial hair, Latvia's entry for Copenhagen 2014 was much subtler, whilst undoubtedly still falling into the "novelty" category.

Aarzemnieki, a four-member Latvian band with German Jöran Steinhauer providing the lead vocals, listed their many achievements (including solving a case for Sherlock Holmes, cleaning Central Park and designing the Great Wall of China) before explaining the unsurmountable challenge that faced them: they had a 'Cake to Bake' (and had "no clue at all"). They should have asked Mary Berry for help!

The cute and catchy ditty was certainly an earworm and both did and does have its fans, but it didn't make the Grand Final cut in a competitive semi-final 1.

Let's now move away from cuisine ... to cutlasses, treasure chests and heavy eye makeup!

"With a hii hii hoo and a hii hii hey ..."

... it was a pirate's life for Latvia in 2008. Latvia's most successful "novelty" entry came thanks to the Pirates of the Sea and their timbers-shivering, tongue-in-cheek plan to hoist the Jolly Roger above the Belgrade stage.

'Wolves of the Sea', the convincing victor at the ninth edition of national final selection show Eirodziesma, didn't quite "steal the show" as they promised, but with their attention-grabbing sea shanty the Pirates did sail through the Eurovision semi-final stage and dropped anchor in twelfth spot in the Grand Final.

So, will we see another novelty song from Latvia in Malmö next May? Well, we'll have to wait until Supernova 2024, the national final scheduled to take place in February, to find out.

Aussievision wishes a happy Proclamation Day to our Latvian readers and supporters.

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