Stockholm 2016

Argo to Eurovision – What’s behind the name?

Rumours had been circulating for a while and now ERT have confirmed the news: Argo will represent Greece in the Eurovision Song Contest 2016. The six member band have been selected by ERT internally.
I hear you thinking: Wasn’t Europond the rumour going around the mill for Greece? Yes, they were, but they’ve changed their name to Argo. It’s the same band and a reason for the change in their name has not been given yet.
The six members of the band are Christina Lahana, Maria Venetikidou, Vladimiros Sophianidis, Kostas Topouzis, Alekos Papadopoulos and Ilias Kesidis. They’re known for a traditional Greek sound, mixed with ska and folk elements. Those styles fit with the comments ERT President Dionisis Tsaknis made a while ago:

The song has strong ethnic and Balkan sounds, but not in a traditional way. It’s an exciting song in Greek, bringing the country’s own identity to the contest. The lyrics will refer to the refugee crisis and the financial difficulties we are facing, but the song is really happy and upbeat.

The name Argo is quite interesting, as there’s quite the mythological background to it. Argo means ‘Fast’ or ‘Swift’ and was the name of the ship used by Jason to find the Golden Fleece in Colchis. Jason was the man who was destined to take the throne away from his uncle, Pelias. In order to take over the throne, Jason was sent out to complete what was deemed an impossible task: Fetch the Golden Fleece in Colchis. In order to complete the task, the goddesses Athena and Hera assisted Jason. Argus built the ship, Argo, and in the end, many great mythological heroes, called the Argonauts, joined the ship. Eventually, Jason completed the task and returned home, where his uncle was indeed killed by a trick Medea pulled on the daughters of Pelias. However due to his cousin, Jason could not reclaim the throne. He then settled in Corinth, where he betrayed his wife Medea. That caused him to fall out of favour with Hera. Jason was eventually killed by the Argo: The rotting ship fell down on him, killing him instantly.
If we try to connect the myth of Jason and the Argonauts, sailing the Argo, with the Eurovision story we have here, there’s a few interesting elements. A really basic one would be the connection of Greek mythology with the fact that Greece, according to Tsaknis, wants to show its own identity to Eurovision. There’s nothing more Greek than mythology, feta and Varoufakis. It’s quite likely that this might be the key element: A mythological name shows the Greek identity of the Greek entry before a single note has even been performed.
Secondly, Tsaknis said the song would be upbeat and energetic, fitting in with the reputation the ship Argo had: Fast and, as far as a ship could be, energetic. Also, several authors have claimed Argo was a warship, which would suit the idea of Greece fighting the issues they’re currently facing.
If we take it a step further, you could even suggest that the Argo was built to reclaim what Jason assumed was his, being the throne of Iolcos. With the Greek government in charge, also putting ERT back in business, you could even think of Argo referring to Greece trying to claim back financial independence from Europe – proper speculation there.
Back to Eurovision now,  Argo will present its song ‘soon’. An exact date has not yet been given by ERT. All we know is that it will be in Greek and it’ll probably be incredibly different from what Greece showed us last year with Maria Elena Kyriakou’s One Last Breath.

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