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Moroccan Magic: Looking back to 1980

24 August 2016 at 17:00 CEST
Morocco is the only country to have participated just once in the Eurovision Song Contest, making its one and only appearance in 1980. It is also the only African country to have entered the competition. The entry, Bitaqat Hub, performed by Samira Said (then Bensaïd), has since gone on to become a firm fan favourite.

Israel hosted the Eurovision Song Contest in Jerusalem in 1979 and won the contest for a second consecutive time. Israel's national broadcaster declined the opportunity to stage the contest again in 1980 and so the Netherlands stepped in. The date set by the EBU clashed with Israel's Day of Remembrance meaning that not only did the winning country from the previous year not host the contest, it would also be absent to defend its title. The 1980 contest is also notable since it is the one and only time that Morocco took part.

Morocco's entry, Bitaqat Hub (Love Card), was an unusual one for the Eurovision Song Contest coming at a time when Arabic and Middle Eastern influences, that had later come to be seen in Turkish entries for example, were far from the norm. Check out a snippet of the song below:

From Failure to Fan Favourite

The Moroccan entry was performed fifth in the running order on the night and received only seven points, all from Italy, meaning that the country would finish second last in 18th place. The song has gone onto be a firm favourite with many fans. Arguably the originality of the entry has something to do with this as well as the fact that Morocco's participation in the contest was so fleeting, leaving many wondering what other musical offerings may be been served over the years.   

Despite the disappointing placing, Samira Said went on to have a huge career in the Arabic music scene and still performs today. Over the course of her career Samira has released more than 30 albums and unofficial reports claim that her record sales top 50 million, showing that a lack of achievement in the Eurovision Song Contest does not necessarily preclude international success.

You can find out more about Samira's work on her official page on Facebook.