22. Lady sings the blues: Hungary rehearses

by Richard West-Soley 61 views

Hungary's comeback to the contest after a year's break is in the hands of Magdi Rusza, the big blues voice behind the song Unsubstantial Blues. Today, she had her chance to try out the song for the first time on the Hartwall stage.

A bit of the urban blues fills up the hall with the arrival of Magdi to the stage, and set is particularly striking; in front of a rolling street animation, she stands at a bus stop sign with a suitcase, looking every bit the jilted lover with nowhere to go. Against the starlit backdrop, Magdi Rusza plays out a whole story in the hall, and she tells it expertly, helped along by a pianist, guitar player, bassist and drummer. Magdi herself appeared casually dressed in a beige jacket with a stripy headscarf covering her hair.

Gritty performance
With a gritty, emotional voice to fit the genre perfectly, Magdi really feels the music, and you can read it in her face through the whole song. There is something tragically beautiful about the whole presentation, which elevates a song once easily dismissed to the place of possible qualifier.

Musically, it still only seems to kick in the second half, but when it does, Magdi is captivating. Hungary is exceptional as a song with a whole story built around the act on stage, and viewers might just buy it.


Magdi was greeted by warm applause as she and her delegation strode into the conference center to begin her first press conference.

Answering questions in a mix of Hungarian and English (sometimes with the aid of a translator) Magdi talked about her career. She has released two albums and she has helped with the writing duties on four of the songs on her new album.

Unsubstantial Blues is a song she wrote about a painful period in her life when she discovered her boyfriend cheating on her. The idea for running the promo video in reverse order came from the video maker – his suggestion was to show the event that caused all the pain at the end of the video.

Magdi said (through her translator) that she loves rock and is heavily influenced by artists like Janet Joplin (and AC/DC she whispered into the mike when the translator did not mention them).

She also loves seeing older performers on stage – to know that they have been performing their music for so long and are moving on stage.

She's a big fan of Dado Topic and is looking forward to being on the same stage with him.

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Richard West-Soley

Senior Editor

Richard's ESC history began way back in 1992, when he discovered the contest could fuel his passion for music and languages. Since then, it's been there at every corner for him in some way or another. He joined the esctoday.com team back in 2006, and quickly developed a love for writing about the contest. In his other life, he heads the development team at the learning resources company Linguascope, and writes about all aspects of language learning on the site Polyglossic.com.