Nestled in the Pyrenees mountains, Andorra made its debut in the contest in 2004. The tiny state participated five times (2004 – 2009) with a wide variety of music styles. Back in 2004, they chose Marta Roure with the song “Jugarem a Estimar-nos” (We will play we’re loving each other). This catchy tune was penned by Jofre Bardagí and it tells the story of two lovers playing the game of love for a night. It seduced audiences in Andorra and beyond – notably in Catalonia – where it became a major hit. Indeed, this song has been written in Catalan, which is the language of 12 million in Europe and Andorra’s official language. It was the first time Catalan was used in the contest after Joan Manuel Serrat’s unsuccesful attempt in 1968.
Today marks the 10th anniversary of Andorra’s first participation ever. It was in Istanbul’s Abdi Ipeçki which hosted the first semi final and the final of the Eurovision Song Contest. EscUnited has decided to celebrate this occasion and we have talked to Marta Roure. She has been very kind to answer our questions.
Hello Marta and thank you very much for your attention. It’s been 11 years since RTVA (Andorran state television) broadcasted Eurovision for the first time but we had to wait until 2004 for Andorra to take part in the competition. Prior to participation, which were the most popular Eurovision acts in Andorra? What were your personal reasons to enter the national selection in 2004?
I do not think there were any popular Eurovision acts in Andorra but we would gather every year with our families to watch the contest and rate the songs. I remember watching Eurovision 2003 with my family. (Back then, it was public knowledge that Andorra would enter the competition for the first time in 2004). I remember saying “I will be the first Andorran representative in Eurovision” – I was kidding, of course! I would have never imagined that it would come true.
RTVA held its first national final ever – “12 punts” (12 points) – in partnership with Catalan broadcaster TV3. As a result, the Andorran entry reached a wider audience in other Catalan-speaking areas. 12 Punts became the most successful national final in Andorra. This partnership was terminated in 2005 and no other Andorran national final has ever matched the success and popularity of the first. Were you in favour of further cooperation with TV3? Do you also think that international promotion could have given more success and visibility for Andorran entries?
Both parties resumed cooperation and stayed on very bad terms so I assume renewal was never in the plans.
As I said before, there were great songs in the national final that year. If you had to choose one (other than your Eurovision entry), which one would that be? What song suits you more?
Even though “Jugarem a Estimar-nos” was meant to be sung by a female vocalist (due to its register), I do believe that it was THE song since the very beginning. I do not intend to underrate any of the other songs, for they all played an important role in the show.
Live shows, interviews, dance routines, rehearsals… – and you also had a record coming out after the contest – but how was life before Eurovision?
I was living in a bubble for months. I was never aware of the dimension of the show. I have always had a limited circle of friends so I basically stayed there. I think that was a big mistake. I did not really enjoy the promotion. I just remember how nervous I was. Had they explained to me what was going on, I think I would have enjoyed much more. When I understood the dimension of the show, it was over. Eurovision is once in a lifetime, those three minutes are the moment you play all your cards. They were gone.
How would you sum up your feelings before, during and after your performance?
“Camera, pressure, action”
What was the best and worst part of your experience at Eurovision?
The best was the experience itself, the people I met, the preparations… The worst was probably those three minutes on stage. Sometimes three minutes are very unfair.
What were the most important projects in your life after Eurovision?
I worked as an actress in very good projects and I have been a mother since I was young. Being a working mother is the culmination of many personal expectations.
As we all know, Andorra took part in the contest for five years (2004 – 2005) and it has been out of the contest ever since. Andorra’s been severely punished by the financial crisis and Eurovision withdrawal comes in a package of cuts in public expenditure. That is the official reason. What is your opinion on this? Is it possible for Andorra to afford the participation free and other related costs?
It is not for me to answer this question. I have always said that Eurovision was positive for Andorra but I can also understand that there are more important things now.
And I also think that Andorra has only two neighbors: France and Spain. France could not vote (in the semi final of Eurovision 2004) and Spain gave us 12 points. It was the year of the 12 points!
Are you a fan of the contest? What are your favourite songs?
I am very sorry but I have not watched it again it since I took part.
Would you do Eurovision again?
Maybe yes, but this time I would be surrounded by the people I want and I would make my opinion count – which does not mean it would be the ONLY opinion.
Thank you very much for your attention.
On behalf of the ESCunited team, we wish that Andorra join the Eurovision family once more. We would also like to thank Marta for her attention. Moltes gràcies!
For further information on Andorra’s history in Eurovision, check this link (in Catalan): http://www.andorradifusio.ad/eurovisio