Another Saturday, another weekend, another ‘Would It Work’ article! Today’s installment in the series concerns the quadri-lingual people of Switzerland and their lack of singing in Romansh in Eurovision. Romansh has only been tried once at Eurovision before, so would the language get the country a better placing in modern times or is Romansh going to fail the Swiss once again?
Switzerland has four national languages: German, French, Italian and Romansh. Of those four languages:
- French has proved to be the most successful language for the Swiss at the Eurovision (‘Refrain’ and ‘Ne partez pas sans moi’, people!) as well as the most frequent, with 24 songs performed in the language.
- German has been performed 12 times,
- Italian is next with nine performances (English also has been performed nine times by the Swiss)
- And Romansh comes last, as it’s only been performed once.
So even though the country has four languages to choose from, it’s clear that they love singing in French and German more than Romansh and Italian. Romansh was first heard in Eurovision (so far, the only time to have been heard) in 1989 on home soil in Laussane, when Furbaz represented the country with the song ‘Viver senza tei’. The Swiss managed to finish in 13th place in a field of 22, which isn’t exactly that bad, but I think it’s safe to say that Romansh isn’t exactly the best language for that song.
So since 1989, Romansh has been forgotten by Switzerland and with the language almost going into decline, people are going to forget that little language exists. In recent years, Romansh has featured very little or even not at all in the national final, and this emphasises my point that it’s going to become a dead language if nobody sings it at Eurovision. Were Switzerland to ever return to an internal selection and the song was in Romansh, the group Liricas Analas would the best choice for the country. The group is one of the most popular Romansh-singing artists of modern times and this song, ‘Miu De’, shows that Romansh can be a musical language… if it’s been rapped.
If anyone has read my article for the possible artists for Germany, ‘Miu De’ has the same sort of beat and feel to it as Cro’s ‘Easy’ does (which is featured in the article). To get back to the titular question; would it work if the Swiss sang in Romansh.. it’s possible that it could go either way. Some people may like the language and how it’s been used in a rap and that it is a pretty catchy song, but others would say that it’s tuneless shit and it shouldn’t be in the Contest. If a song like ‘Miu De’ represented Switzerland, I can see it not doing well: possibly 12th place in the semi-final, but if people haven’t heard the language before, they may like song and vote for it, resulting in qualification for the final. There’s a 50/50 chance it could do well or it flop horribly. If they sang in Romansh, I’d be pretty intrigued to see how well it does, but what do you think?
Do you think it would work if Switzerland sang in Romansh in the future at Eurovision?
Svana Lístí Agnarsdóttir from Iceland: Romansh is a really.. interesting language. I would be surprised if they sang in it because it’s so rare to hear it at Eurovision.
Keith Mills from Ireland: It’s not a very musical language…
Ilias Kozantinos from Cyprus: Switzerland should keep singing in French or German. It’s their main language anyway.
So the majority of fans are saying that Romansh may not the best language for the Swiss to perform in. Some people, such as Keith, say that the language isn’t very music-friendly.. that’s true-ish, if you don’t count the rapping. Others, like Ilias, think that Switzerland should stick to the more successful and frequent languages, as it’s proved to be the best tactic for them. But what do you think? Would Romansh be a good technique to try again or should the Swiss just keep going with what they’re doing? Feel free to let us know what you think by commenting below!