Morocco in the Eurovision Song Contest

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Morocco
Morocco
Member stationSNRT
National selection events
Internal selection
  • 1980
Participation summary
Appearances1
First appearance1980
Last appearance1980
Highest placement18th: 1980
External links
Morocco's page at Eurovision.tv

Morocco participated in the Eurovision Song Contest for its first and only time at the 1980 contest. Its selected song "Bitaqat Hub", sung in Arabic and performed by Samira Bensaïd, placed second to last. The country has not returned to the contest since.

Background[edit]

The Eurovision Song Contest is an annual international song competition held by the Eurovision broadcasting organisation since 1956, with participants representing primarily European countries. Each participating country submits an original song to be performed on live television and radio, then casts votes for the other countries' songs to determine the winner. Since its inception, entry to the contest has been open to all members of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), a group also containing countries in North Africa and the Middle East. Before Morocco's 1980 participation, Tunisia (at the 1977 contest) was the only African country that had intended to compete, with it even being drawn to perform fourth, however, it eventually withdrew from the contest.[1]

1980 participation[edit]

Record cover for "Bitaqat Hub", with text noting it as the Moroccan entry at the Eurovision Song Contest 1980.

Morocco's first and only participation in the Eurovision Song Contest was in 1980,[2] when the contest was held in The Hague, Netherlands. Its entry was organized by Moroccan broadcaster and EBU member, Société Nationale de Radiodiffusion et de Télévision (SNRT), which had previously broadcast the contest on Moroccan television in 1966, 1971, 1974, 1976, 1977, and 1978.

The broadcaster selected the song "Bitaqat Hub" ("Love Card"), performed by Moroccan singer Samira Bensaïd. It is a moderately up-tempo number, with clear influences from Western disco and Arabic overtones. Bensaïd sings of the need for peace among the world's nations, taking the role of "the children of the world" to describe a vision of a society free of war and hate. It was interpreted as a message of peace addressed to Israel and the Arab countries.[3] Jean Claudric conducted the orchestra for the entry.[4]

The song was performed fifth on the night. At the close of voting, it had received 7 points, all of them from Italy, placing 18th in a field of 19, and ahead of perennial last-place recipient Finland.[5][2]

The country's second-to-last place was a cruel disappointment for Moroccan public television, which decided never to participate in the contest again. Samira Said's career did not suffer, however, as she went on to become one of the leading Arab recording artists of the 20th century. She recorded a French version of the song "Message d'amour", found on the B-side of the single and in 1980, Filippos Nikolaou released a Greek cover version "Tosi kardia, tosi agapi" (Greek: "Τόση καρδιά, τόση αγάπη").[6]

To this day, Morocco remains the only African country to have participated in the contest, and the song was the first to be sung in Arabic.

Points awarded by Morocco at the Eurovision Song Contest 1980[5]
Score Country
12 points  Turkey
10 points  Germany
8 points  United Kingdom
7 points   Switzerland
6 points  Sweden
5 points  Spain
4 points  Norway
3 points  Austria
2 points  Denmark
1 point  France

Future[edit]

A second Moroccan broadcaster, 2M TV, has expressed their intention to join the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). Should their application be successful, Morocco would be eligible to return to the contest with an alternative broadcaster.[7][8][9][10] In May 2018, Israeli Minister of Communications Ayoob Kara announced that he would invite countries of the Arab world to participate in the 2019 contest in Tel Aviv,[11] but Morocco was not on the list of participating countries released on 7 November 2018.

Following the signing of the normalization agreement between Israel and Morocco on 10 December 2020, Morocco's participation in Eurovision became possible again.[12] Eran Sikurel, a politician and radio host with the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation (IPBC), called on Moroccan broadcaster SNRT to return to the contest on his Twitter account, but no response has been received.[13]

Participation overview[edit]

Year Entrant Song Language Final Points
Samira Bensaïd "Bitaqat Hub" [ar] (بطاقة حب) Arabic
18
7

References[edit]

  1. ^ O'Connor, John Kennedy (2007). The Eurovision Song Contest: The Official History. UK: Carlton Books. p. 68. ISBN 978-1-84442-994-3.
  2. ^ a b "32 years ago today- Morocco's only ever participation". Eurovision.tv. European Broadcasting Union. 19 April 2012. Retrieved 3 April 2020.
  3. ^ "32 years ago today- Morocco's only ever participation". Eurovision.tv. 19 April 2012. Retrieved 19 May 2021.
  4. ^ And the conductor is... Jean Claudric
  5. ^ a b "Results of the Final of The Hague". European Broadcasting Union. Archived from the original on 12 April 2021. Retrieved 12 April 2021.
  6. ^ [1] Eurovision Cover – Bitakat hob (Greek).
  7. ^ "2MTV aims to full EBU membership". Oikotimes. 12 July 2007. Archived from the original on 20 November 2008. Retrieved 17 October 2008.
  8. ^ Kuipers, Michael (12 July 2007). "Morocco to return in the next few years?". ESCToday. Retrieved 5 September 2008.
  9. ^ "Commercial channel interested to join Eurovision Song Contest". Oikotimes. 31 August 2008. Archived from the original on 6 September 2008. Retrieved 6 September 2008.
  10. ^ Akhasvil, Sopon (3 June 2014). "With the IBA in peril, Israel may withdraw in 2015". Wiwibloggs.com. European Broadcasting Union. Retrieved 4 June 2014.
  11. ^ Cobb, Ryan (22 May 2018). "Israeli Minister "to invite" Arabic nations, including Tunisia, to take part in Eurovision 2019". escxtra.com. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
  12. ^ "Morocco: Normalizes diplomatic relations with Israel | First step to return to Eurovision?". Eurovision News | Music | Fun. 11 December 2020. Retrieved 23 May 2021.
  13. ^ Eran Sikurel [@EranCicurel] (11 December 2020). הרשו לי לנצל את ההזדמנות ולפנות לרשות השידור המרוקאית (Tweet) (in Hebrew). Retrieved 23 May 2021 – via Twitter.

External links[edit]