The Eurovison Song Contest takes place tonight in Denmark, as they won the competition last year. Iceland's contribution this year is No Prejudice by Pollapönk. Iceland made it through the semi-finals and competes in the finals tonight with 25 other countries.
Most Icelanders are excited about Eurovision and thousands of Eurovision parties take place all over he country tonight. It is often said that when it comes to Eurovision atmosphere and parties - Iceland goes kind of crazy - winning all other countries with excitement, at least per capita.
Below is Pollapönk's performance from the semi-finals:
Member of Parliament, Óttar Proppé, performs as a backing vocalist for the band on stage in Copenhagen, wearing the purple suit above. This is believed to be the first time a parliamentarian performs in the competition.
This is what The Wire wrote about the Icelandic song:
"No Prejudice" is a perfect Eurovision song, in the sense that it's about bringing people together. In every other sense, it's a pretty bad song. The lyrics sound like something you'd sing to kindergarteners to keep them from becoming racists and fat shamers — "Let’s do away with prejudice/don’t discriminate, tolerance is bliss ... Even if you’re taller/ Or someone who is smaller/ Or perhaps you’re thinner/ Or one who loves his dinner" — which makes sense, since Pollapönk's lead singer was a preschool teacher. It's catchy and memorable, but making it past the semi-finals was probably the best Iceland could hope for this year."
Pollapönk were founded in 2006 by guitarists Haraldur Freyr Gislason and Heidar Orn Kristjansson of the Icelandic post-punk trio Botnledja. They created Pollapönk when graduating as Bachelors of Education from the Icelandic University of Education – in fact the first Pollapönk album was recorded when Haraldur and Heidar were graduating as pre-school teachers: they made an album as a part of their final work and submitted it along with a final paper. The purpose was to write and perform ambitious music that children and adults alike would enjoy and be able to sing along to. The songs are intended to relate to different age groups in an open and illuminating way.
The first Pollapönk album was a major hit in Iceland. In 2007 drummer Arnar Thor Gislason – who is Haraldur‘s brother - and bassplayer Gudni Finnsson both joined Pollapönk, who then became a quartet. Pollapönk have recorded two subsequent albums and played countless gigs for children and adults all over Iceland. In everyday life Haraldur Freyr is chairman of the Association of pre-school Teachers. Heidar Orn is a pre-school teacher and Arnar Thor and Gudni are professional musicians.
No Prejudice in Eurovision
Despite their obvious sense of humour, Pollapönk’s serious aim is to help eradicate prejudice and bullying through the medium of music. The song No Prejudice (Enga fordóma) is typical of this running theme in all their work. It is all about a young person who has a speech impediment and is afraid of being teased or bullied because of it. With this song about celebrating our diversity it is Pollapönk’s aim to help eliminate all forms of discrimination, bullying and prejudice, with the message that every individual has the right to live harmoniously with the rest of the world. Eurovision itself is a uniquely diverse institution and Pollapönk are proud to use this musical stage to send their positive message out across Europe to millions of viewers.
Two additional backing vocalists will join Pollapönk on stage in Copenhagen – Snæbjörn Ragnarsson of metal band Skálmöld and Member of Parliament Óttar Proppé of rock band Dr. Spock. This will be the first time that an Icelandic member of parliament has ever competed in Eurovision.
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