LAboy 456

Festival OTI 1977: My opinion on the show…



Festival OTI de la Canción, known internationally as OTI Festival, was an annual singing competition among the members of the Organización de Televisión Iberoamericana (translated as Iberoamerican Television Organisation) and took its inspiration from the Eurovision Song Contest. It started in 1972 and lasted until 2000 (the  1999 edition which was cancelled due to floods in the city that was supposed to host it at the time). For my comeback themed post, I decided to give my opinion on the 1977 edition (an edition TVE had recently uploaded for their archive site. Here’s the link – You can also watch it in here: )

Held in the Centro Cultural de la Villa de Madrid (nowadays known as Fernán Gómez Centro Cultural de la Villa) on Saturday, 12th November 1977, the show was presented by Miguel de los Santos (who would become the spanish commentator for a few ESC editions) and Mari Cruz Soriano (who was later chosen to introduce the spanish entry in ESC 1980)

After a long introduction by the presenters, the parade of songs would begin. 21 countries participated that year, a record at the time – so… here goes my opinion on these songs in their running order:

01: NETHERLANDS ANTILLES – Ced Ride – Gente, eres tú

The first entry of OTI 1977. A good anthemic ballad with semi-contemporary arrangements (despite its constant change of pacing throughout the entry. The waltz-y section drowns it quite a bit for me in this particular case). Ced (who also wrote the entry) gave also a good performance out it

02: BRAZIL – Lolita Rodrigues – Pedindo amor

Before giving my opinion on the song, I must say I didn’t knew she was also a singer as I only knew her work as an actress (she was more famous as such (I’d recommend you to watch, for example, some of her scenes from Rede Globo‘s 1987 hit soap-opera/telenovela “Sassaricando”. in which she plays the role of Aldonza: ). Going back to the most important thing in this post: this strong ballad might sound a bit old-fashioned, but it’s still highly enjoyable. And Lolita gave it all with her confident performance. Kudos to the fact that she also sung in spanish during the last chorus of the song (she’s of spanish descent, by the way – hence the use of spanish in that last chorus)

03: PUERTO RICO – Aquamarina – Piel dormida

The first group in this edition of the contest. A conventional (meaning: something common for its time. I’ll be saying this word quite a few more times throughout this post) and yet great soulful sounding mid-tempo ballad with a really beautiful set of vocal harmonies – overall, a nice contrast from the previous entry

04: URUGUAY – Miguel Bobbio – Quiero vivir

Not really an amazing ballad of its kind, although I liked the begining with that spoken dialogue and the ending of it. Still, it’s quite a nice entry and Miguel gave it justice with his great performance

05: HONDURAS – Tony Morales – El hombre

There’s not much of a diference between this one and the previous entry in terms of melody, although the previous one had at least something interesting + the chorus ruins what could have been a much better anthemic entry. Despite being quite forgettable, Tony managed to give a good performance out of it

06: SPAIN – Trigo Limpio – Rómpeme, mátame

Prolifiic songwriter (as well as the conductor of the orchestra for the entry) Juan Carlos Calderón (the ESC (Eurovision Song Contest) fans might know him due to the fact that he wrote the spanish ESC 1973 and 1975 entries and would later write the ESC 1985 and 1989 entries) hit gold on this one. A beautiful contemporary ballad for its time with great arrangements, as well a great performance from the trio’s part (that would later went to participate in ESC 1980, although without Amaya Saizar (who was replaced in 1979 by the now late Patrícia Hernandez). It also became one of the group’s most known songs. And (reportedly) the commercial hit of that edition of the contest

07: MEXICO – Napoleón – Hombre

Quite anthemic in all its catchiness with a good performance by the singer (who also wrote the entry. A upcoming artist back then, he would later become one of the most famous singer-songwriters in his own country). The problem is that the competition was quite big that year + there were better entries that year

08: DOMINICAN REPUBLIC – Fernando Casado – Al nacer cada enero

The melody of the chorus might be quite conventional in some way (great ending, though), but the verses make up for it with its soft and tender sound (aided by a great piano melody). Fernando also did a really good performance out of it

09: USA – Lissette – Si hay amor, volverá

That was one big “tour-de-force” ballad in several various aspects – a wonderful one, I must say. And Lissette (who also wrote the entry: kudos to her for creating this massive ballad) gave a outstanding performance that elevated the song to a higher level – she really sung her heart out with her raspy vocals. By the way, she also looked stunning (her great hairdo, her magnificent dress… that was quite the good fashion back then)

10: ECUADOR – Marielisa – Sonreír cuando quiero llorar

Nice waltz-y like ballad with really nice arrangements and a good performance from the singer herself. A good effort, although nothing amazing… especially when compared to the  arousing ballad that was performed before Marielisa‘s

11: ARGENTINA – Jerónimo – Jugar a vivir

Really good ballad that builds and builds until reaches its pivotal climax – sometimes, it quite reminds of something that spanish legend Raphael would sing back then. Jerónimo (who also co-wrote the entry) was really expressive, wasn’t he? Nevertheless, he still defended it really well

12: VENEZUELA – Héctor José – Iberoamérica toda

It really tries to be a anthemic hymn the celebrates the  iberoamerican community and it sounded quite promising, but it ends up not being as strong as it should – despite its catchiness. Despite that, the singer still delivered a nice performance

13: NICARAGUA – Guayo González – Quincho Barrilete

One would think: “is this a children song?”. But if you read or hear the lyrics in a deeper analysis, you might find out that it’s actually a protest song (in a time when the country itself was still a military dicatatorship). A triumph on many levels: from its magnificently arranged melody to its clever lyrics (all done by singer-songwriter Carlos Mejía Godoy, back then one of the most famous artists of his own country), from the wonderful performance given by Guayo and by the 5 child backing singers, among other things…

14: CHILE – Capri – Oda a mi guitarra

A really catchy folk-pop entry that sounded quite in sync with what was musically heard back then in that genre (although done in a edgier way, like spanish folk group Jarcha with their 1976 intervention folk-pop hit “Libertad sin ira”). Despite having pretty few shaky moments, I’d say Capri defended it pretty well

15: GUATEMALA – Mildred & Manolo – El verbo amar

It had a promising start, but it ends up becoming… or rather, sounding like a mash-up of ideas that didn’t really blend that nicely. The duo performed it really well (I especially liked Mildred‘s tender vocals), but it’s such a pity they weren’t given a better song to go along with their really good voices

16: COLOMBIA – Ximena – Cantando

Really nice anthemic entry with a wonderful melody in its verses (that guitar-driven solo in the first part of the first verse was lovely) and quite a great performance from the singer’s part. If there’s one negative thing against it, I’d have to say it’s the fact that there were better songs before her with a bigger punch (and there would be some more after her)

17: PANAMA – Leopoldo Hernández – Canta a la vida

The song started out really well with the verses, but then comes what lets it down quite a notch: the chorus (I mean: it’s not bad, but I kinda wanted to be on the same level as the dramatic verses… something that didn’t come true). It’s still really enjoyable, though, and Leopoldo (who also wrote the song) gave a very good performance out of it

18: PORTUGAL – Paulo de Carvalho – Amor sem palavras

First of all, this was one of the very first songs I’ve ever heard without really knowing its connection to the OTI Festival (the other ones being José Cid‘s 1979 effort “Na cabana junto à praia” and Ágata‘s 1997 effort “Abandonada”). As for the song itself, it’s quite a contemporary sweet pop ballad with a good orchestration that gives it a sense of grandeur underneath its lyrical fragility. Paulo (who composed the entry) gave his all in vocal terms (note that there was a problem with the microphone at some point during his performance as he could be barely heard)

19: PERU – Cecilia Bracamonte – Landó

It’s one of those songs you can’t really forget and/or ignore that easily (one way or another). For starters, the song has a whole lot of flavour going on (it really gives a taste of peruvian music with a few aditional arrangements to make it more acessible to the jury), which makes it really interesting already. That performance, though… puts the entry to a whole different level – it’s INSANELY larger than life… in a really good way. By the way, Cecilia did a wonderful vocal job and kudos to her backing instrumentalists for giving so much joy to it

20: COSTA RICA – Manuel Chamorro – Melodía de los amantes

A promising mid-catchy entry that has two faults: the arrangements could have been much better (I mean, had this been a “in your face” retro entry with some jazz-y flavour (like, for example, Angelika Mann‘s “Champus Lied” ), it could have conquered me) and the singer who didn’t sound like the perfect match for the song in question, despite giving a really good performance. A bit disapointing, I’d say…

21: EL SALVADOR – Ana Marcela d’Antonio – Enséñame a vivir

And we come to the last entry of OTI 1977. A really good semi-anthemic ballad with great arrangements (by the way, I love the melody of the verses: it gives some pure tenderness to the song). Good performance from Ana Marcela (who also wrote the entry) as well. By the way, I really dig her styling choice

All the songs had been heard and soon the results would come (well, there’d be a pause in between with no interval acts. In that year, some of the countries publically announced their votes in their own tranmission of the show before announcing them during the announcement of the results). The voting system: each country had a jury composed of three people who each awarded 1 point to their favourite song. In case the country in question didn’t have the necessary telphone line connections or if couldn’t be contacted for a second time, a replacement juror (who’d give its votes to the contest’s supervisor) would have to give 3 points in total (either 1 vote per country… or 2 votes for one and 1 for the remaning one… or all its 3 votes to just one country)

In a pretty close race, Nicaragua won with 12 points – just 4 points over the runner-ups Dominican Republic and USA. The host country, Spain, just missed a top-3 placing by 1 point (4th place, 7 points). On the other, Portugal (my own country) got… a 14th place and one single point together with two other countries (Netherlands Antilles and Colombia)

All in all, a pretty nice show for its standards (although TVE made a better job with the staging back when they first hosted the contest in 1972 (whose edition I might talk about in the future) and a good quality of entries. Good host presenters as well…

By the way, my top-10 of OTI 1977:

03: USA
06: PERU

Before finishing this post, watch the winning song once again:

Thank you,

LAboy 456
(Rui Craveiro)