1963 Contest Song Reviews: Denmark, Yugoslavia and Switzerland

It turns out all Denmark needed to do to secure their first contest win was send in a duo again: this time, Grethe and Jørgen Ingmann with “Dansevise” (Dance Song). It’s a song where Grethe does the singing, while Jørgen plays a haunting guitar line which trades off with swellings of strings as the song heads towards a chorus. The song is focused and remains both musically and lyrically interesting throughout — the lyrics are about a night walking/dancing in the open, but this is an example of a track where not understanding the language doesn’t make a huge difference because it’s engaging enough in it itself. A worthy winner.

For some reason, Yugoslavia’s entry feels like it has strong Italian influences. Maybe it’s the spoken-word bit at the start, or simply the language of Croatian being most prominently spoken in the part of what was then Yugoslavia closest to Italy. In any case, Vice Vukov’s “Brodovi” (Ships) certainly hits those well-worn notes and general pathos. Lyrically, Vukov’s character explores a metaphysical comparison between ships and people, which is a refreshing change of subject. However, the song in its entirely doesn’t offer much else new.

Esther Ofarim doesn’t mess around in “T’en va pas” (Don’t Leave), starting to sing on her own before the instruments kick in. The musical arrangement is sparse, which of course serves to highlight the vocals. A song about a person begging their lover not to leave them is hardly original, so instead the strength is in the refrain and Ofarim’s skill in delivering her message clearly and having her voice carry most of the melody.