Home Italian Måneskin, Italy and native languages triumph at Eurovision

Måneskin, Italy and native languages triumph at Eurovision

by Bernard O'Shea

Italian band Måneskin had been hot favourites to win Eurovision 2021 but even so their triumph was startling. Kick-ass rock anthems with attitude are not the contest’s normal fare! Likewise for the SanRemo Music Festival, their entry ticket to the Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam.

The words of their winning song Zitti e Buoni (Shut Up And Behave) come fast and furious from lead singer Damiano David’s mouth. Here’s their grand final performance, and if you want the lyrics, they have been translated into English and 20-plus other languages here.

English dominates numerically, flops artistically

There were 39 countries competing at Eurovision 2021. Three – the UK, Ireland and Australia – would be expected to sing in English, but of the remaining 36, only eight sang in a native or national language (Ukraine, France, Spain, Serbia, Albania, Denmark, Italy and Switzerland, whose entry was in French). Russia and Croatia sang in a mix of their language and English, while the Netherlands used English with snippets of Sranan Tongo.

So 25 countries competed at Eurovision 2021 in a foreign language in the hope that using English would increase their chances of winning. Really? They have so little to show for it. Måneskin did Italian proud in top spot, the two songs in French took second and third places, Ukraine (the most interesting entry, in my opinion) came fifth. But English helped Iceland clinch fourth.

So Romance languages took the top three spots, but there was big disappointment for Spain’s entry, Blas Cantó’s Voy A Quedarme (I’m Going To Stay) coming third last (24th) in the final. I thought it deserved better. 

Portugal and Moldova’s contestants sang in English, coming 12th and 13th respectively, while Romania’s English entry failed to make the final.

More of Måneskin

The band formed in 2016 and already have already had six top 10 hits in the Italian charts, including Torna a casa (Come back home), which made it to No. 1 in 2018. Like much of their material, it’s gentler and slower than Zitti e Buoni.

Måneskin is actually a Danish word meaning “moonlight” – the band’s bassist, Victoria De Angelis, is half-Italian, half-Danish. It will be interesting to see what the band does next.  M5R

Måneskin photo: EBU/Andres Putting

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