Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Bonnie Tyler believes in the Algarve


 Portugal has dropped out of the Eurovision Song Contest this year, but the UK’s official contender, the legendary Bonnie Tyler, will be flying the flag for Portugal in spirit.
Portugal is like home to me,” says Tyler who will be singing Believe in Me during the contest in Malmo, Sweden, on Saturday night.
Public broadcasters in Portugal, Slovakia and Bosnia-Herzegovina have cited economic reasons for withdrawing, although the 39 participating countries will include debt-ridden Greece, Cyprus and Spain. It is the third time Portugal has been absent since it first took part in the contest in 1964.
Tyler’s fascination with this country – the Algarve in particular -  dates from her first visit in 1976. “I fell in love with the place straight away,” she says.
The Welsh songstress stayed with her then manager, Ronnie Scott, who had a recording studio in his villa at Vilamoura. It was there that she recorded her first album.
Two years later she and her property developer husband, Robert Sullivan, a black-belt European judo champion, bought a villa in Albufeira. Recently they have been staying in an apartment at a nearby marina while having the villa completely rebuilt.
Their summer pleasures include power boating, lunching on clams or prawns with piri-piri chicken and a nice bottle of white wine, and spending the afternoon lying on the beach. Had it not been for her demanding career, Bonnie says she would spend 99% of her time here.
 “I live a very un-showbizzy life. That red carpet stuff... avoid it like the plague, I do,” she told the Daily Mirror last week.
“I love the Algarve. I never get tired of it,” she said in a  interview with Sir Owen Gee on the Algarve’s Kiss FM radio station a few weeks ago.  She has been travelling the world as a professional singer for decades. “But when I come to the Algarve I really feel like I’m coming home.” (For more on this interview, click on the Kiss FM You Tube link below).  
Tyler’s original attraction to southern Portugal had nothing to do with another long-time Algarve homeowner and former Eurovision contender, Sir Cliff Richard, although they meet up from time to time when they are both here.
The Eurovision Song Contest may be the biggest challenge of Tyler’s long musical career as she will be performing in front of an estimated 120 million viewers.
The 61-year-old admitted to the Daily Mail that she doesn’t fancy her chances. “It’s a tricky one the Eurovision Song Contest because it’s not all about the music, is it?”
Cliff Richard singing Congratulations famously lost by just a single point in 1968 after locking himself in the toilet because he was so nervous about the voting. Reuters reported many years later that the dictator Franco had rigged the vote so that the Spanish entry won, thus ensuring the next competition would be held in Spain.
The rules have changed so that no such skulduggery is now possible, but still there is the farce of tactical voting between neighbouring countries.
Tyler has promised “to give this everything I've got.” But is she likely to win?  
“No, of course she won’t,” says Sandy Shaw, Britain’s first Eurovision winner (1967).  “She’s got a terrible song and deserves much better. I don’t know why they do this – why don’t they let the public choose? Bonnie’s a fantastic person and has a fabulous voice but if they don’t get to pick the song or the person it stops people feeling involved.” 
Win or lose, the warm, witty and down-to-earth Bonnie Tyler will leave the “mayhem” of Malmo behind and shortly be back ‘home’ and able to relax.
“As soon as I get off the plane in Faro, I switch off completely,” she says.

·        Bonnie at Kiss FM:
·        Believe in Me


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