- 30 Dec 22
“When we say we are not political, what we always should stand up for are the basic and ultimate values of democracy. Everyone is right to be who they are.”
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme guest editor, Abba’s Björn Ulvaeus, Eurovision’s executive supervisor, Martin Österdahl, was questioned on the decision to ban Russia from the singing competition.
“It was [hard], and it still is. How Europe feels very much affects the contest."
“It is also that when you look back in time, you see that the Eurovision song contest is like a logbook of what has happened in Europe, what the trends have been in Europe,” he told the Abba songwriter.
"But, also, what is the kind of mood and sentiment of Europe, and what is the social context of Europe at the time."
“When we say we are not political, what we always should stand up for are the basic and ultimate values of democracy. Everyone is right to be who they are,” Österdahl continued.
Russia did not perform in this year’s Eurovision after the decision was made to ban the country from the contest following its declaration of war on Ukraine.
In a clear show of solidarity with the war-torn country, Ukraine was voted this year’s winner, with the song ‘Stefania’ performed by Kalush Orchestra, having received an overwhelming majority of the public vote.
The UK placed second, and will play host to next year’s contest due to the conflict in the Ukraine. Liverpool- the chosen city to host, had to, in its application, demonstrate how it would reflect Ukrainian culture, music and communities if chosen to host on the nation’s behalf.
Ulvaeus said he may attend the upcoming contest in Liverpool, as he wants to see the Cavern Club where his idols, the Beatles, used to play.
“My idols [over] all the idols, the Beatles, come from there, which is why I am thinking maybe I should go to see the finals. And I have never been to Liverpool. To see the Cavern where the Beatles appeared. They were the reason why Benny Andersson and I started writing music.”
“Before the Beatles, songwriters were kind of anonymous. But suddenly there were these guys who were not only the artist but they wrote their own songs,” he added.
Mr Österdahl replied, stating: “I will try my very best. You are always welcome.”