Heavy Metal in Latin: Arxplendida, Swiss Entry to Eurovision Song Contest

Latin nerds and metal heads may clash in the schoolyard, but damn, they rock in combo.

With metal gaining acceptance in the Eurovision Song Contest–Azerbaijan’s debut ESC 2008 entry is legendary, and Latin having been the reigning language back in ye olde olden days, well, it was only a matter of time before some metal band made a Eurovision-centric entry in Latin. Though part of the goal of Eurovision seems to be to not win because the winning country has to host the following year, some countries still take ESC pretty seriously.

The German Swiss entry, Arxplendida, with their song “Mercurii Diei” takes on the absurdity of Eurovision: Dorky national costume jackets and matching neckties;  super square haircuts; soaring metal vocals set against tragic green screen stock footage of farms, forests, and abandoned buildings; and a Eurovision nod in the lyrics. In Latin that looks and sounds super metal, and reflects in translation to German (and then into English) a contemporary slacker ennui. The band sees themselves as underdogs, commenting in the lyrics that they didn’t  do so well on Swiss Idol and were told they had no chance at Eurovision. However fans disagreed, and Arxplendida was voted into ESC.

Mercurii diei

Hebdomada miserrima fuit, nihil bene evenit.
Primum adamata me dimisit.
Tum locator me domo eiecit.
canis crus vicini mordicus paene abstulit.

Nunc est vesper Mercurii diei et nihil animum sollicitat,
Cum ad mensam nostram sedens cum amicis cervesiam poto.
Si mane corpus ad officia explenda non est paratum,
nihil interest. Talis enim est vesper operae pretium.

The week was a scream, it worked absolutely nothing,
At first I was thoroughly polished off [by]my girlfriend.
The landlord has kicked me out on it out of the apartment
And the neighbor’s dog has almost bitten off my left leg.

But today is Wednesday night and I whistle it,
If I on the trunk with my friends a beer sauf.
And if the body in the morning the service denied
That does not matter, such an evening is worth it.

Eurovision Song Contest in Azerbajian Could Hold Clues to Israeli-Iran Conflict


The Eurovision Song Competition semi-finals begin May 22 in Baku, Azerbaijan, climaxing with finals May 26th. And the world should be watching, because Azerbaijan, which shares an open border with Iran, is believed to have opened access to airbases in the secular Moslem nation to Israel, with whom they have a relationship, according to Foreign Policy:

Four senior diplomats and military intelligence officers say that the United States has concluded that Israel has recently been granted access to airbases on Iran’s northern border. To do what, exactly, is not clear. “The Israelis have bought an airfield,” a senior administration official told me in early February, “and the airfield is called Azerbaijan.”

The report of Israel using airbases in Azerbaijan for war planes is discounted by Israel’s Haaretz, citing a number of logistical issues that make the use of the Azeri airfields impractical as launching grounds for F-15 fighter planes:

[T]hey fail to address the problem of where the Israeli warplanes can fly to once they have refueled in Azerbaijan. There is no friendly route to fly back to Israel, except over Iranian or Turkish territory, hardly appealing alternatives once an attack has already been carried out and both countries will be on highest alert…

Since landing in Azerbaijan after a strike on Iran would almost certainly mean that returning these valuable aircraft to Israel would be a lengthy and complicated process, especially at a time when the IAF [Israeli Air Force] would certainly need them for additional missions, this doesn’t seem to make sense. Other uses proposed in the FP feature, using Azeri fields just in the case of emergency landings or using them to base search-and-rescue helicopters or reconnaissance drones, makes more sense.

As part of the European Broadcasting Union, Israel is a participant in Eurovision, despite the contest’s May 26 final falling on Shavuot, an Israeli holiday, which commemorates God giving the Torah to the Jews. (Shavuot is celebrated seven weeks after the second day of Passover). Israel’s entry Izabo will perform on the May 22 semi-final.

Now in its 57th year, Eurovision is held among the active member countries of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) or members of the Council of Europe. Each member country submits a song which is voted on by other countries, and the winner hosts the next year’s contest, providing a chance to promote their nation. Eurovision is such a huge deal that in 2005, host country the Ukraine waived their visa requirements for the summer. This year, 75-year old Englebert Humperdink will be representing for the UK, and Russia has a team of grannies from Urals performing their entry. Sadly this year Armenia withdrew from the competition over tension with Azerbiajan stemming from the 1990s war over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh which killed over 25,000.

Regarding the mounting Israeli/Iranian tension, Haaretz adds:

Meanwhile, it may turn out that the only Israeli attack through Azerbaijan this year will be psychedelic punk-rock band Izabo since according to Haaretz’s senior columnist, Amir Oren, Tuesday night’s announcement that the U.S. Defense Department would be seeking funding for further development of Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile defense system, was a signal that there would be no Israeli strike on Iran this year.

But if for some reason Izabo cancels, duck and cover.