Jun 18, 2013

595/917 Lonnie Devantier: Hallo hallo (Denmark 1990)

Telephone in its differents incarnations has inspired Eurovision song writers during the decades. Already in 1957 Margot Hilscher demonstrated with a phone in her hand how this apparatus is used. 40 years later Kølig Kaj had a long distance romance with a switchboard operator. The 595th Eurosong reminds us of two things that today's generation have never used or even hear of.

If you want to find a happy, jolly, uptempo Eurosong and want to avoid gloom and doom, Denmark is always a safe bet. Especially during the 15 years after their long absence in the Eurovision (during 1967-1977) it was very difficult find a non smiling face when Denmark's team was on stage. Coincidence or not, eight of those 15 songs (from 1978 to 1993) had lyrics by Keld Heick.

That was also the case in 1990, when 17 year old Lonnie Devantier was sent to represent Denmark with a song about telephone booth, answering machine and a boyfriend reluctant to answer the damn thing (To my younger readers check Wikipedia for Answering machine and Telephone booth to know what this song is about.)

The song is very much a prototype of all the Danish Eurovision entries from the 1980's with catchy refrain, overtly smiling singer (although her boyfriend stubbornly refuses to return her phone messages) and hysterically whirling backing dancers. And of course, the song being Danish, there is a happy ending as after throwing her last coins into the public telephone the boyfriend finally lifts the receiver.

I was a friend of the jolly Danish tunes in the mid 1980's but by the the change of decade even I thought that enough was enough. Hallo hallo was not one of the better songs from our Scandinavian neighbours and instead of being genuinly happy the smiles and the movements looked to me very forced even then.

Lonnie Devantier made couple of records after her Eurovision debut, but she is mostly known in Denmark as a songwriter using the name Lonnie Kjer. If you want to know what she sounds like today, check her 2008 single Dina/Det bli'r ikke bedre at Spotify. She has really gone far from the telephone booth in 18 years.

My points 2/5.

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