Greece to participate in Eurovision contest with refugee-inspired song

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Athens, Feb 14 (IANS) Greece will participate in the 2016 Eurovision song contest in Stockholm, Sweden, in May with a song about the escalating refugee crisis and the six-year debt issue, in an attempt to send a message of solidarity to the world, Greek national broadcaster ERT announced.

“We are the rise of the rising sun, dance with us and have some fun. We are the rise of the rising sun, fight with us for a utopian land,” Greek artists will sing, local news web portal revealed on Saturday, according to Xinhua.

The official presentation of the song is due in early March.

In contrast to previous years, Greece chose for the first time since its debut in 1974 to Europe’s longest running annual TV song competition to assign directly to a music band the representation to the Eurovision instead of running a preliminary contest in Athens for cost saving reasons.

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Greece will be represented in the 61st edition of Eurovision by “Argo”, a hip-hop band with origins from Pontus, a region in northern eastern Turkey where a large Greek community lived until the early 20th century.

The members of the group are descendants of refugees. More than one million Greeks where forced to leave Pontus following Greece’s defeat in the Greek-Turkish War in 1922.

“This year there will be no dancers, no provocative appearances and special effects. These can be presented by other countries. Greece is in a different situation now,” Dionisis Tsaknis, ERT’s president and veteran popular rock music composer and singer, told the media.

“We will participate with an optimistic song with lyrics in Greek and melody that will speak about what Geek people live under the harsh austerity measures and about the struggle of refugees,” he added.

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In an attempt to raise awareness globally, Greece wants to show that where words fail, music speaks.

Greece has won the Eurovision Song Contest once, in 2005. A total of 41 countries will participate this year, according to the European Broadcasting Union organisers.

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