With hit success in and outside Estonia, Vanilla Ninja is without doubt one of the most successful Estonian bands to date. In 2003, the band took part in the Estonian national final for the Eurovision Song Contest, but didn't manage to qualify for the international contest. In 2005, the Ninja's were invited to represent Switzerland at the Eurovision Song Contest, an offer they gladly accepted. Their Cool Vibes reached the 8th place in the Final, bringing the Swiss the best placing since years. Another attempt to represent their home land at the Eurovision Song Contest, last year, was without success.
So, how is the band doing? Nowadays, Vanilla Ninja features Lenna Kuurmaa, Katrin Siska and Piret Järvis. Although the band is not as active as before, the Ninja's still perform on a regular basis. Meanwhile, Lenna Kuurmaa works for the Estonian radio station SkyPlus, while Piret is showing her presentational skills as VJ at MTV Estonia. Katrin is finishing her study in accountings.
"We had a long thought, asking ourselves if we really wanted to do this. After all, it's still a war zone," Lenna said about the band's Iraq 'mission'. After long consideration, they decided to go for it. They safely returned, along with more than six hours of uncutted video footage and an experience never to forget.
The interest was certainly mutual. Three good-looking, blonde rock chicks from Estonia at a military base in Iraq is nearly a show stopper for the hard working troops. I honestly hope it's a good sign that there is time to put the weapons down, and to pick up the photo cameras in slowly recovering Iraq. After all, I prefer Cool Vibes above Desert Storm...
Sietse Bakker is Project Manager Internet of the Eurovision Song Contest at the European Broadcasting Union.