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In defence of... Banshee

Words from Alyce Collett

After a positive build up and a magical performance, hopes were high among Irish fans for success at the 2019 Junior Eurovision. Then disaster struck. Not only did Ireland not win, they did not even make the top 10.

True story time, when the Irish televote score came through and I realised my favourite was once again not going to win, the first thing that came out of my mouth was “You suck Europe, you suck”. I am not kidding, I was so shocked. How could such an amazing performance have scored so badly? In my opinion, all that the performance was missing was a Banshee itself.

Side note, kudos to whoever it was who came up with the idea of Linda Martin as the Banshee in the official video. It was a nice touch, and a nice homage to Ireland’s Eurovision past.

After genuinely having no idea why things went so badly for Ireland, I asked the fandom for the reasons they had not voted for Banshee. They came back with a few responses:

  • They liked the song but had other favourites

  • It was not memorable

  • It was boring/dull

The first point I understand. Fair enough, it was a tough year and there were a lot of good entries. But still, to finish so low? Ireland even finished lower than Belarus. Do not get me wrong, I loved that song, but I do not think anyone expected it to finish so high. Ireland even got less televotes than Portugal. Portugal? Yes, apparently there were talks of some fans voting for this song in an attempt to help their favourite, but still.

Anyway, I am here to prove why the second and third points are wrong and to stand up for my favourite song of the 2019 contest.

Firstly, the performance was certainly memorable. It was nothing like any of the other performances on the night. The imagery in the background was absolutely stunning and Anna looked amazing and sung amazingly. The Irish team were really trying to set a scene with the background imagery, whereas some of the others did not even look like they were trying to create any kind of imagery at all (I am looking at you Albania, Portugal and Ukraine). I do not think the camera angles did the scene justice. Some of the angles did not help in the scene setting at all.

I also cannot see how the performance was dull. Yes the camera angles did not help, but there was a magical forest scene, which ties in well with the meaning of the song and the story of the Banshee. Those who do not know the story of the Banshee (which I will elaborate on more in a moment) might not have understood the scenery and appreciate it as much as I did, and combine that with Anna’s angelic singing meant for hardly a boring performance.

One thing that I think let Banshee down was that the meaning of the song may have been lost in translation. As someone who is a third generation Irish person, I grew up knowing a lot about Irish culture, language and history, so I knew what a Banshee is before the song came out, and speaking to my Grandma helped me understand the meaning of the song even more. Not everyone is as lucky as I am, and although other languages in the competition are as uncommon as Gaelic, there was no English lyrics to help convey the meaning of the song. Do not get me wrong, I like the fact that there was not any English lyrics, but it probably did not help Ireland’s victory chances.

For those who do not know, a Banshee is a mythical character from Irish mythology, whose name means Fairy Woman. There were two kinds of Banshees. One type of Banshee falls in love with mortals and lured them away, while the other kind of Banshee came and forecast deaths by wailing. As I end this article, I hope I have convinced the naysayers among the Eurovision fans that Ireland was in fact robbed at this year’s Junior Eurovision Song Contest. I do hope the Irish delegation are not disheartened by the result, and return to next year’s contest. I also hope that Banshee is the kind of song Ireland send to the adult contest in the near future.

I have been saying for quite a while now that Ireland need to go back to their roots more in the adult edition. Send something that is in Gaelic, something like Tir Na Nog by Celtic Woman. But I digress. I hope Ireland continue to experiment with different kinds of songs and that I get to hear Gaelic in the Eurovision sphere for years to come.

Do you agree with Alyce or think Banshee finished where it should? Let us know at @aussievisionnet


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