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Eurovision goes eurodance – We Love the 90’s festival in Helsinki

Army of Lovers performing at the We Love the 90's festival, Helsinki, August 2016 | Photo: Riikka Jääskä

We Love the 90’s is a eurodance themed festival in Helsinki, Finland. It was now arranged for the third year in row. It has been crowned the biggest 90’s music festival in Europe, with well-known artists performing during two days, sure to wake up a lot of nostalgy in eurodance lovers.

Many of the artists this year have Eurovision connections, either by representing their country in the contest or taking part in national preselections in the new millennium. The festival took place on the 26th and 27th August in Suvilahti, a former industrial area which has now turned into a popular area for festivals and other cultural activities.

Let’s turn back time!

The first group performing at this year’s festival was the pop group Aikakone (“Time machine”), who had a string of hits in Finland in the mid-90’s. They also participated in the Finnish national preselections twice: in 1996 with ‘Ihan hiljaa’ (placed 6th) and in 2002 with ‘Stay’ (placed 2nd), then using their shorter group name Aika (“Time”).

Waldo’s People, the group that represented Finland at the Eurovision Song Contest in 2009, performed their entry ‘Lose control’ at the festival with lots of pyros!

Many of the popular eurodance artists come from Sweden. On Friday, the festival audience got to hear Dr. Alban, who topped the charts with his 1992 eurodance hit ‘It’s my life’. Dr. Alban had participated in Melodifestivalen in 2014 with ‘Around the world’, together with Jessica Folcker.

Rednex is the country-flavoured Swedish dance pop group, who scored hits with their 1995 album Sex & Violins. Rednex took part in the Romanian preselections in 2008 with the song ‘Railroad, railroad’, together with the band Ro-Mania.

The Danish stars of the evening were the group Daze, who performed a string of their hits. Eurovision fans remember Daze participating in Dansk Melodi Grand Prix in 2013 with the fabulous ‘We own the universe’.

Scooter, the German band, whose music can be described as “happy hardcore”, performed late in the evening. The band had taken part in the German preselections in 2004 with their song ‘Jigga Jigga!’.

90’s eurodance from the 21st century

Saturday afternoon started with another popular Finnish dance group, Movetron. The trio were popular in the mid-90’s, but are still performing regularly. In 2008, they took part in the Finnish preselections with ‘Cupido’.

Not all 90’s eurodance needs to be from the 1990’s! That was proved us by the Swedish singer Günther (real name: Mats Söderlund), who had only started his recording career in 2004. His music both sounds very 90’s and the Sunshine Girls who accompagnied him on stage, also carried on with a very authentic 90’s dance choreography.

In 2006, Günther & the Sunshine Girls participated in Melodifestivalen with ‘Like Fire Tonight’, which they also performed at the festival.

Gods on stage – Army Of Lovers!

Glory, glamour and gold from Sweden were brought onto stage in the form of living legends – Army of Lovers! It felt like they had never been away, such were all their trademark gestures. Alexander Bard thanked the audience for dragging the group out of their retirement homes, Jean-Pierre Barda was sultry as ever and Dominika Peczynski was the definite queen of the night.

Army of Lovers participated in the 2013 Melodifestivalen with ‘Rockin the Ride’ and the same year, the new version of their massive hit ‘Crucified’ (originally from 1991) was selected as the official Copenhagen Pride song. Alexander Bard has been successful in contributing to Melodifestivalen as a songwriter: his entries have been chosen to the contest 11 times in total. His first entry, ‘En dag’, where Bard had written the text and which was performed by Tommy Nilsson, was chosen to represent Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest in 1989. Bard also participated in Melodifestivalen four times with BWO, another pop group he had formed.

Eurodance is still very much alive, proven by E-Type, DJ Bobo and E-Rotic

E-Type (real name: Bo Martin Erik Erikson) was ready to give a spectacular stage show with pyros, smokes and not least, jumping straight to the middle of the audience to greet the fans! He has participated in Melodifestivalen twice: in 2004 with ‘Paradise’ and in 2008 with ‘Line Of Fire’, together with the rock group The Poodles.

DJ Bobo (real name: René Baumann) is a Swiss musician and eurodance artist, who represented his country at the Eurovision Song Contest 2007 with ‘Vampires are alive’. He performed most of his well-known 90’s tunes at the festival.

Both festival evenings had fabulous afterparties. On Friday night, the German group E-Rotic performed many of their hits – all of them with great tunes, true dance beat and pretty daring lyrics. After the 90’s had just ended, in 2000, the group had also participated in the German preselections with ‘Queen of Light’.

Saturday’s afterparty had yet another Swedish artist, Pandora (real name: Anneli Magnusson), who was one of the eurodance pioneers in the 90’s. She has participated in Melodifestivalen in 2003 with ‘You’ and in 2004 with ‘Runaway’.

 

About Riikka Jääskä (19 Articles)
Eurovision and scandipop fan from Helsinki, Finland
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