Who is … Birthe Kjær?

A Danish singer and Eurovision diehard.

Where might I know her from?

From the Danish Eurovision qualifying contest, the Melodi Grand Prix, which the 63-year-old has entered five times, but only won once. She has also hosted it several times, most recently in 2009 with Felix Smith (the longhaired dude off ‘Talent’).

 

What did she sing at Eurovision?

The song was called ‘Vi maler byen rød’ (we’re painting the town red) and came an impressive third place in 1989, just 26 points behind the winners, Yugoslavia.

 

Was it any good?

It’s popular on YouTube. “Unashamedly camp, upbeat, a great performance and a cracking melody”, wrote one commenter. “Makes you wanna hug the country in total! If I knew I would not be called ‘black head’ or something, would totally love to live in Denmark … Greetings from Turkey!” wrote another. 

 

Did she sing it in English?

No, it was just before everyone at Eurovision started singing in English. 

 

What does she sing about?

The content’s very Danish. Her most famous song is about a “very red rubber boat” – pretty much everyone knows the lyrics. It’s the closest the Danes have come to a schlager (hit). 

 

Is her music popular among Danes?

It’s a kind of music everybody loves to hate: Danskpop. She has even had some uncomfortable experiences, including one when she was hired by a private event as a joke. But she took it well and just walked around the table handing people the mic to sing along – which they all did of course.

 

Sounds like a tough chick

She is. So tough that’s she never been married, and her longest relationship only lasted two and a half years.

 

Is she still performing?

Yes, and although she wasn’t involved in this year’s Danish Melodi Grand Prix, you just know she’ll be back to paint the town red one last time.




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