On October 5th of 110 years ago, Bulgaria gained independence from the Ottoman Empire. We are a day early but let’s enjoy a Bulgarian Throwback Thursday! Today we travel back to Helsinki 2007 and look at one of Bulgaria’s most successful entries: Water by Elitsa and Stoyan.
Bulgaria at Eurovision
Bulgaria is a fairly new country at Eurovision having made their debut back in 2005 with Kaffe’s “Lorraine”. So far, they made 12 appearances (missing out in 2014 and 2015) and reached the final on 4 occasions. Prior to their withdrawal, Bulgaria truly struggled to achieve good results, only managing make the final once in 2007. However, their fortunes dramatically changed when they returned in 2016 with Poli Genova and her banger “If love was a crime”. She not only qualified, she also reached an unprecedented 4th place. The following year they went even further with Kristian Kostov’s 2nd place in Kyiv with his iconic entry “Beautiful Mess”. In Lisbon, though not quite as successful as the previous two years, Equinox easily made the final with another fan favourite “Bones”. Considering the high quality of their entries since 2016, Bulgaria has (quite deservedly) gained the reputation of being a Eurovision powerhouse. However, it is easy to forget that Bulgaria was not as lucky before!
Water was an unusual success for Bulgaria..for nearly a decade!
So, for this throwback I wanted to look back at their only success prior to their return, the 5th place achieved in Helsinki in 2007 by Elitsa and Stoyan “Water”. They scored a total of 157 points on the final night, improving their semi-final 6th place. Now, those who know me well in my Eurovision addiction can’t possibly have missed the fact that “If Love Was A Crime” is my favourite Bulgarian entry AND third favourite EVER at Eurovision, only behind Loic and Iveta. I should have picked that song because I love it so much, but I chose this instead. Why? For a few reasons. First of all, because it is a song that leaves me puzzled. I still don’t really know if I like it, if I find it just weird or if I don’t like it. So, I was curious to see how my fellow teammates and readers felt about this song. Second I wanted to see if people preferred this over their 2013 attempt “Samo Shampioni” or not and lastly to refresh the memories of the song that until Poli’s banger was the country’s best and only good result at Eurovision.
Drums and ethnic vibes
As I already mentioned, this song leaves me totally puzzled. I have listened to it repeatedly and I still don’t know if I like it or not. I know that I like the first minute. A lot. The mysterious intro, the ethnic vibes in Elitsa’s voice are really my cup of tea. I also love the part when it picks up the rhythm. However, when she starts going on repeat with the “Mitre le” it starts getting repetitive and I am craving for something more, some diversity maybe? I love it again when they start working those drums and then suddenly the music stops for a few seconds. But then again that “Mitre le”. Why?? (In a “Walk along” kind of way). When Stoyan comes in with the “Tara-tu-ta” I start liking it again but once more I am left craving for something else after a while. So my guess is that I like the song at about 55-60%. Did it deserve to be Bulgaria’s best result for so long? Yes, but only until 2011, when Poli’s “Na Inat” came, 7 years later I still don’t get it how it didn’t make the final. I am totally being that Poli Fan but she is just so great!
What others had to say
Drums, ethnic vibes, hypnotising vocals, mysterious intro, national language. Listening to a description of this song, my instant reaction would be; “Oooo, I think I’m gonna love this!”. “Water”, however, is a perfect example of having all the right boxes ticked, and still hating the result. To my ears this is just painful noise, and I don’t think I have ever, after the 2007 final, been able to listen to it through to the end. I LOVE much of what Bulgaria has done at Eurovision, though. I’m probably the only person in the world (at least that I know of) who really likes “Lorraine”. I love “Na inat”, and “Beautiful Mess” and “Bones” (the a capella version) are also on my playlist. I can’t wait to see what Bulgaria comes up with for Tel Aviv!
Water is without a doubt one of my favourite Bulgarian entries. It came at a time when the contest, in my opinion, was becoming a bit samey, especially in the ethnic pop genre. Elitsa & Stoyan offered a style of music that many hadn’t come by before, incorporating folk, pop and ethnic flavour into an authentic piece of art which also came across on stage
Where would I even begin to describe my feelings towards ‘Water’? The track is certainly unique in its own right and the drum beats certainly draw your attention as well as the hypnotising vocals from Elitsa. I can see why this was Bulgaria’s best result until 2016, it was something that stood out against the crowd and something that the fans would remember. However, if I had to pick against their two Eurovision entries I am sorry to say that I would pick “Samo Shampioni”
I always had mixed feelings about “Water” and my love for the song always depended on my mood. However I always understood why so many people likes it and why it ranked so high. 2007 was a very crazy (or should I say diverse?) year, and Bulgaria was one of those countries who sent an entry completely different from what we had seen at the contest. The show was brilliant and there was so many energy and power on the stage. As I said I don’t have a stable opinion about the song, though. Sometimes I just love all that energy while other times I just get annoyed with the eccentricity. Hope this doesn’t sound too confusing. I knoe this is not a popular opinion, but if I had to choose between “Water” and “Samo Championi”, I would choose the second one easily even though I think “Water” is a better entry. “Samo Championi” was a guilty pleasure back then and still is. I have to agree with Riccardo when he says this was the best Bulgarian entry until 2011, just like I agree with him when he says that “If love was a crime” was their best one ever. Well, maybe my heart is a bit divided between Poli and Equinox.
Now over to you! What do you think of “Water”? Do you like it better than “Samo Shampioni”? Do you think it deserved the 5th place it got? What is your favourite Bulgarian entry at the contest?
Let us know on the comment section below or on all social media @ESCXTRA.
Don’t forget to come back next Thursday for another Throwback! We will be heading to..Croatia!