May 16, 2011 – Native Kenyan musician living in Norway Stella Mwangi may not have won the Eurovision Song contest, but Per Ludvig Magnus, Norway’s ambassador to Kenya thinks it was a great victory for both Norway and Kenya.
“This calls for a celebration,” he said, saying STL’s representation of Norway at the contest with the song ‘Haba Haba’ was a true celebration of cultural diversity.
Stella fell away from top spot in the competition during the semi-finals last week, in an annual song contest that is watched by millions of people in Europe and other parts of the world.
Though she was out of that round, her rise to the top saw her become a musical star in Norway.
On Saturday, the Norwegian Embassy in partnership with GoDown Arts Centre and Safaricom hosted an exclusive Eurovision event in Nairobi, broadcasted from Germany. Stella herself had been invited to the Nairobi-event as guest of honour but was unable to make it.
“We will use this opportunity to celebrate what we can achieve together, and highlight the value of performing arts and cultural diversity,” said Magnus.
Referring to “Haba Haba”, the ambassador highlighted the fact that a Norwegian artist with a Kenyan background and lyrics partly performed in Swahili was a strong symbol of the cultural diversity in Norway.
Stella is already well-known in Kenya and around the continent for her innovative mixture of RnB, hip-hop and soul. In 2006 she won the Kisima Awards for best new artist.
The Eurovision Song Contest has taken place since 1956, and this year 43 countries were competing, but Albania emerged tops.
Though Stella was disappointed with the loss, she is looking forward to releasing her upcoming album Kinanda.
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