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  • Writer's pictureDale Roberts

Eurovision entries with sign language

Today is the International Day of Sign Languages, a day that marks the millions upon millions of people worldwide who use sign language.

It is not known how many different types of sign languages exist with estimates ranging all the way up to 300. So yes, just like verbal languages, there are differences across the world and someone who knows American Sign Language won't necessarily know British Sign Language and vice versa (actually American is more in the French family of sign languages!).

So what has been the history of sign language in the Eurovision Song Contest? Not much to be honest, but let's honour those who have made the effort to be more inclusive with their entries.

5. Evelina Sašenko - C'est Ma Vie (Lithuania 2011)

Evenlina used signing during the second verse of the song. She finished 19th in the final.

4. SuRie -Storm (United Kingdom 2018)

Although she didn't perform this version in Lisbon, SuRie recorded this after Eurovision fan @signs_tom sent her a version of him signing the song. SuRie was so moved she met up with him and learnt the sign language version within a few hours. A great advocate for inclusivity.

3. Bojana Stamenov - Beauty Never Lies (Serbia 2015)

"Yes, I'm different and it's ok" - those lines were among those signed by Bojana and her backing dancers just before the beat dropped and she made the top 10 with this inclusive Euro banger.

2. Bilal Hassani - Roi (France 2019)

The French 2019 entry is know for being one of the most inclusive in Eurovision. It includes including a backing dancer who is deaf who not only performs, but also signs messages on the screens behind as she does so.

1. Valters & Kaža - The War Is Not Over (Latvia 2005)

The first entry to feature sign language, the young duo signed the final chorus in a memorable performance. It served them well with the song finished in 5th place.

Unfortunately tragedy impacted the entry, the composer Mārtiņš Freimanis died in 2011 aged 32 and one of the singers, Valters Frīdenbergs last year aged just 30.

Finally we must also show appreciation to all those who sign for viewers across Europe for the contest, you do an amazing job and put in douze point worthy performances!

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