Russian Eurovision Song Contest contender features Finno-Ugric language
Rahvusvahelised uudised 10 Apr 2012  EWR
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Udmurt grandmothers to go to Azerbaijan

Jussi Niemeläinen, Helsingin Sanomat in Brangurt (Buranovo) Udmurt grandmother Galina Konyeva is a busy woman.

She is planting tomato seedlings in flower boxes in her kitchen. Now at six centimetres high, the seedlings need more light. Outside it is still the dead of winter and there’s more snow coming all the time.

If the seedlings are not replanted now, she may have to resort to store-bought tomatoes. In a short time she will have to go to Moscow again.

Koneyeva is one of the singers in the village’s small women’s choir. Brangurt pesjanjos, or Buranovski babushki, as the group is known in Russian, rose to world fame when it won the contest to become Russia’s entry into the Eurovision Song Contest this year.

The name of the song is Party for Everybody, and its refrain is in English. The rest of the song, sung by elderly ladies in national costumes, is in Udmurt, a language that is related to Finnish.

It has not always been possible to speak Udmurt as freely as now, Konyeva says. She sits down and recalls her work at a kindergarten in the 1980s. She was specifically told not to speak Udmurt.

“But I spoke it anyway. The children came from Udmurt families, and couldn’t speak a word of Russian. I simply had to speak Udmurt”, Konyeva says.

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