|Eurovision Song Contest 1996 entry|
|◄ "Nagu merelaine" (1994)|
|"Keelatud maa" (1997) ►|
"Kaelakee hääl" ("Voice of the necklace") is a song performed by Maarja-Liis Ilus and Ivo Linna that represented Estonia in the Eurovision Song Contest 1996. The composer was Priit Pajusaar and the lyrics were written by Kaari Sillamaa.
In the Estonian preselection Eurolaul, the winner was selected from 13 entries by an international jury. After the voting, "Kaelakee hääl" was tied by points with "Me rõõm ei kao" ("Our happiness won't disappear") by Kadri Hunt, but was declared winner because it had received more top votes of 10 points.
The song was performed eleventh in Eurovision, following Greece's Mariana Efstratiou with "Emis Forame To Himona Anixiatika" and preceding Norway's Elisabeth Andreassen with "I evighet". At the close of voting, it had received 94 points, placing it 5th out of 23.
While not resulting in a win, the performance was the first occasion on which a state previously annexed by the Soviet Union had placed in the top 5.
The female solo had not been written for Maarja-Liis Ilus in the first place but for another popular singer, Evelin Samuel who had to turn the offer down for an upcoming tour in Japan. Priit Pajusaar then asked Maarja-Liis Ilus at short notice. She then recorded her parts whilst Evelin Samuel got her tour cancelled shortly after the replacement.
Ilus and Linna did not meet in person until actually performing the song on stage. Even then, during Eurolaul final, Linna was on a tour and Maarja-Liis Ilus had to mime to Ivo Linna on a big screen.
The song is a love duet, with the singers expressing their heartache at not being able to be with each other all the time. Ilus sings about giving Linna a necklace, from which he is able to hear her voice even if she is away.
Two English versions were made of the song, the first "Away from home", sung by Ilus and Linna, and the second titled "Just a dream away", which was recorded by Maarja and Morgan Johansson in 1997 for Maarja's album "First in line". Maarja also recorded the latter with Greek singer Yiorgos Doukas (Duke), including a version with some Greek lyrics added in, titled "Πάλι εσένα θα ονειρευτώ".
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