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Eurovision 2016 to be broadcast with international sign performances

22 April 2016 at 11:11 CEST
SVT, the Host Broadcaster of the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest, has announced that it will offer international sign language for all the songs that are participating in Stockholm to allow people with hearing impairments to experience the songs. 

Sign performers have taken on the songs competing in the Swedish national contest Melodifestivalen since 2010 with great emotion. Several of the songs performed in sign language have been noticed all over the world; the last time being earlier this year when SVT sign performer Romel Blecher ended up in the spotlight when he took off his t-shirt during the sign performance of Bada nakna performed by Samir and Viktor. International signing was used in the Eurovision Song Contest last year and SVT will develop the concept further in 2016.

"We think in a different way than the artists do. Every song contains so much more than just the music, like the dance, the choreography and the lighting. To us it is very important to find sign performers with good knowledge of language but who also beam energy through the TV screen", said Julia Kankkonne, Producer of the international sign performances for the Eurovision Song Contest.

"Our sign performers must understand the music and the songs to be able to translate it into international sign language in a way which is understood, expressive and enjoyable", she added.

International collaboration

SVT will broadcast the two Semi-Finals and the Grand Final with international sign performances and in addition three interpreters will translate the hosts Måns Zelmerlöw and Petra Mede live from a studio at SVT. In total nine performers from Lithuania, Germany, Iceland, Russia and Denmark will perform all participating songs in international sing language. The sign performers recently met for a workshop where they had coaching from a leading sign performer. The recordings of the songs will be done next week.

"I want to give the message behind the song, so that hearing impaired people can also be a part of the show. The Eurovision Song Contest will be my debut as sign performer and I’ve found my talent", said Laith Fathulla, sign performer for the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest

The 2016 Eurovision Song Contest will take place on 10th, 12th and 14th May in the Globe Arena in Stockholm, Sweden.