“How on earth could that happen?”
is a question that millions of people watching television on the evening of 13 March 2014 will have asked themselves in astonishment.
Vladimir Putin, Kremlin Czar, seizes the Crimea; Uli Hoeness, President of the Bayern-Munich football club, is sentenced to three
and a half years in jail for tax evasion; and an unknown (!) female pop group is voted to represent Germany in the Eurovision Song Contest in Copenhagen in May.
No one could possibly have foreseen that on this particular evening the fresh and down-to-earth group Elaiza would win a wildcard in
the run-up to the national televoted competition and like a Monopoly player would pass “directly to Go”: many cheered – some were shocked!
Among the rival losers, the favourised group Unheilig and their massive group of fans were made to believe in a musical reincarnation.
Just as short and sweet as their breakthrough is the story of the trio, which was founded by the frontwoman Elzbieta (Ela) Steinmetz who expresses her creativity as a singer-songwriter in the Berlin Valicon Studios. It was here that the singer with Polish-Ukrainian roots met the accordion player Yvonne Gruenwald, and like so many musicians they promised one another that they would get together sometime and make music. Unlike the most they actually did so! Before long the two looked for additional musicians and came across Natalie Ploeger, a string bassist from Detmold.
After initial gigs in Berlin clubs where they performed for a pathetically small wage, they made their very first and (up until now) only record for the prestigious Berlin label Meister Schallplatten. The banal title of the LP, March 28, took on a prophetic and vibratory aspect, full of the joys of spring, after 13 March. In this recording the trio generates a technically perfect, down-to-earth folk sound which the singer Ela likes to call “neo-folk”. The lyrics, which are in English and therefore suitable for international exploitation, are bedded in pleasant melodies with a delightfully lightweight instrumental backing – the human voice is all important. The musicians are highly professional, and no less the recording team and equipment. Instead of capturing sound on a magnetic tape, the direct-to-disc technique employed by the Berlin masters from Meister Schallplatten records the signals directly onto a lacquer disc. This technique does not allow for any corrections; it offers just the one attempt to achieve a perfect result and therefore demands immense discipline from all involved.
In addition to the many great self-composed songs, this LP includes the contest entry „Is It Right“, a sensitive, rustic pop polka with pep and melancholy – just perfect in the eyes of Vladimir Kaminer, a Russian-born short-story-writer who also regularly DJs at his "Russendiskos", during which he exclusively plays music by Russian bands.
Elaiza’s audiophile debut, with the contest hit, is available exclusively available from Speakers Corner. Those who want to experience Elaiza’s fascinating music here and now should take this opportunity to purchase the LP right away and not wait until the fantastic, feisty songs are available in a thinned down version on MP3 via virtual swap shops. Don’t wait until you ask yourself: “How on earth could that happen?”
Elaiza at: Eurovision Song Contest and elaiza.de