It’s another one of those non-Eastern European birthdays in ‘GOTGE-Land’ – that of María Isabel Bárbara Llaudés Santiago, AKA Maribel and the singer, Karina.
She does get a mention in my ‘Wider Context’ introductory ‘sticky’ post, so she should get a mention here, I think, since I have, over the months since the birth of GOTGE, been steadily coming around to the thinking that the female Pop Music coming out of the former Eastern Bloc wasn’t existing in a vacuum (hence the necessity for the aforementioned ‘sticky’) and it was also quite obvious that artists in the former Eastern Bloc were not averse to covering songs coming from the politically diametrically opposite world of Franco’s Spain, indicating that Pop clearly knows no political boundaries.
I also have a keen interest in the aerial portion of the Spanish Civil War, where the aircraft of the Republican-supporting air force were substantially entirely supplied by the Soviet Union and the aircraft of the Nationalist-supporting air force were substantially entirely supplied by Italy and Germany. So, Franco and the Soviet Union – and, by extension, the Soviet Union’s satellite states – had some ‘history’ behind them, making that Pop Music connection all the more remarkable.
If one has read my ‘sticky’ one will be aware of the fact that Karina was the Runner-Up in the Eurovision Song Contest of 1971, in Dublin – something of a ‘classic’, in my opinion, as an aficionado of Female Pop from the Continental Mainland of that period, with the ‘podium’ being occupied by three great ladies: the ‘Gold’ going to Monaco’s Severine, with ‘Un banc, un arbre, une rue’, the ‘Silver’ going to Spain’s Karina, with ‘En un mundo nuevo’ and the ‘Bronze’ going to West Germany’s Katja Ebstein, with ‘Diese Welt’. In one of those strange cases of ‘musical connections’ that seemed to abound in the Europe of the late 1960s/early 1970s, like no other period before or since, Karina and the UK’s entry – the hugely talented, underrated and dare I say stunning Clodagh Rodgers, who that year, as a Northern Irishwoman, risked her life to represent her country, in the teeth of IRA death threats, at the height of the ‘Troubles’, performing ‘Jack In A Box’ – performed the same song; Karina as ‘Colores’ and Clodagh as ‘The Colours Are Changing’, taken from her eponymous LP from 1969, to which I treated myself while down in London back in January to pick up my emergency passport for my trip to Slovakia. The song was composed by Kenny Young.
The ‘Troubles’, the Spanish Civil War, the Cold War – great Pop Music conquers all!