The Ryde gang, who have kindly absorbed us into their loving social circle over the last couple of years, celebrate Eurovision every year. Last year, it clashed with Amy’s hen do, which left the men enjoying the campest blokes’ night ever, but this year we all gathered at Dave and Rik’s beautiful house to watch the final.

As a music lover, Eurovision doesn’t offer me much to celebrate, but I got the impression that there was more artistic variety this year than last. In particular, I was taken with the Hungarian entry: Origo, by Pápai Joci . It made me think of southern Spanish music, with a heavy Arabic influence, but was also a seamlessly modern pop song.

In fact, Pápai Joci is a Hungarian Romani and part of the lyric is, apparently, in Roma, the rest in Hungarian. There is a discussion, with a translation of the lyric into English, in the comment section here. Look for the comment by Unknown You.

There’s a surprisingly politically insightful interview with Joci here. It’s easy to forget that Eurovision serves as a political and cultural unifier across nations. Fun and frivolous as it is on the surface, it is an artistic meeting between many different cultures and, when a country has the courage to present the best of itself, it can give us outsiders a view of what its culture is made of.

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