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Meet the ESCXTRA team! – Damián

Damián Cukierman

Hello! I’m Damian and I’m 28 years old. I was born and raised in Buenos Aires (Argentina) but I’m currently living in Spain (I also happen to be a Polish citizen by descent, cześć!). I’m a Graphic Designer and a passionate traveller and I try to merge both of those passions on my Instagram account: @dmcg.178!

Your first Eurovision memory?

Being raised Jewish means Eurovision will always be present in your life whether you like it or not (I mean, it’s tradition to end weddings and bar mitzvahs with all guests hugging into a circle and singing Hallelujah!). My uncle once brought to a family dinner this DVD he had just got from an Israeli friend that had a compilation of every Israeli appearance at the contest up to that year (it was 2004, so I was 11 years old). It was then that I realized a lot of songs I had been singing at school, community events or Jewish holidays were in fact coming from this thing called Eurovision.

Your Eurovision journey

So I was 13 years old and lazily browsing the web at home when I (can’t remember why or how) ended up on the Eurovision website. It was still themed with the Helsinki 2007 stuff but all of the articles were referring to the next contest in Belgrade. It all fascinated me, I started looking on a still young YouTube for videos from that longly heard of event and, that was it. As mentioned before, I already knew about Eurovision but always imagined it more as a reality show or low-quality tv production than what I was then discovering it was. I heard Molitva from Marija and I instantly knew I had to watch the next contest.

When Belgrade 2008 came, I set up a cinema in our house living room. We had a big roll-up screen over one of the walls and a projector and we (me, my parents and sister, all obliged by me) watched the grand final of the contest and I was as amazed as I had never been. It felt like watching the Olympics opening ceremony, but somehow better. 

Not only did I love listening to music in so many languages, but the scoring part, the postcards!, the whole graphic theme and music, the stage… 

My first ever favorite was Maria from Norway, back then, I hadn’t listened to the songs before the contest so I get to know them all at once watching the semi-finals.

With the following years and contests, I started to watch the national selections and kept becoming more and more a huge fan and Junior Eurovision became a must as well. Everyone around me ended up knowing about Eurovision because I couldn’t help talking about it and showing everyone I had the chance to, how amazing it was. I made many friends and family members, kind of fans too (of what I’m proud of) and I even created a Facebook group (back when they were the thing) to gather Eurovision fans in Argentina (before that I had believed I was the only person down there that knew this thing existed), and gotta say, became more crowded than I ever thought it would!

Why is Eurovision special to you?

Because it merges everything I’m passionate about. Flags, languages, design, big dazzling stages, cultures, weird and new music, spectacular displays… I’ve always liked the countries part of the World Cup or the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympics, but Eurovision gives me all of that and an actual sense of belonging.

What attracted you to ESCXTRA?

Becoming a Eurovision fan in Argentina is tough! You don’t get to meet many people to share the fandom with so the internet is essential! I started looking for Eurovision portals online and found two that I grew fond of, one from Spain and ESCXTRA. They both became part of my daily internet routine. Later on, with social media, I became addicted to following ESCXTRA streams and lives from the host cities during festival times.

And finally, your top 5 Eurovision songs of all time?

My favorite ever song may be an odd choice, but it is, it TOTALLY is. It’s just everything that attracted me of Eurovision back then (and everything I still love about it) in just 3 minutes, I mean, they even simulate an airport-plane situation… just wonderful.

And Chai, from Ofra Haza… It’s hard for me to think of that song as a Eurovision entry. That song has been a part of my life since I was in kindergarten. I love it, it makes me happy, makes me feel like a child in school being happy, and the fact that it came from Eurovision, well, it just makes it perfect (and may you all pay attention to that dance moves?).

1. Scooch – Flying The Flag (United Kingdom) 2007

2. Kalomira – Secret Combination (Greece) 2008

3. Sergey Lazarev – You Are The Only One (Russia) 2016

4. Nelly Ciobanu – Hora Din Moldova (Moldova) 2009

5. Ofra Haza – Chai (Israel) 1983

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