• The Bard, William Shakespeare and Eurovision icon Conchita Wurst (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
This week marks 400 years since the death of the William Shakespeare and the Eurovision greats are paying tribute the way they know best: through the power of song.
Genevieve Dwyer

20 Apr 2016 - 10:38 AM  UPDATED 20 Apr 2016 - 12:10 PM

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU), the organization behind the annual broadcast of the Eurovision Song Contest, have today released a series of musical video tributes from six of the contest’s participating nations which each pay tribute to a different work by literary icon William Shakespeare.

EBU members Austria, France, Norway, Slovenia, Switzerland and the UK each submitted a musical piece to mark the 400th anniversary of the playwright’s death this week, on 23rd April.

EBU media director Jean Philip De Tender said in a statement: “Shakespeare is one of the pillars of European culture and the richness of his texts is reflected in the wonderful creative responses from EBU members working with some of today’s most imaginative artists.”

The Eurovision broadcasters in each of the participating nations each commissioned songs from some of Europe’s best known musicians, who created works inspired by the poetry of Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets.

France’s contribution from France Télévisions by the legendary Mali-born French hip-hop artist and ‘urban poet’ Oxmo Puccino was inspired by Shakespeare’s Sonnet 94: "They that have power to hurt and will do none“ and features Yaron Herman on piano. Watch below.

The United Kingdom’s contribution from the BBC came from experimental electronic musician Matthew Herbert, whose previous works have featured the sounds of people’s internal organs, vomiting and records released in edible formats – made of tortillas, ham and cheese.  

His piece was entitled ‘Tomorrow, Tomorrow and Tomorrow’ and was inspired by Macbeth. Performed by Rahel Debebe-Dessalegne (vocals) and Nick Ramm (piano). Watch below.

Norwegian songwriter and guitarist Ane Brun both composed and performed her piece inspired by Sonnet 138: 'When my love swears that she is made of truth' for the country’s broadcaster NRK. Watch below.

Austria’s Eva Jantschitsch, better known as Gustav contributed Liebe Ach! from Sonnet 23: 'As an unperfect actor on the stage' by Austrian broadcaster ORF:

Singer Gregor Volk, pianist Trio Rêverie, tuba player Goran Krmac and accordionist Janez Dovč from Slovenia performed a piece inspired by Sonnet 130: 'My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun' for their broadcaster RTVSLO.

Swiss actress Anahì Traversi on vocals, teamed with cellist Zeno Gabaglio to perform their interpretation of Sonnet 146.

Watch the Eurovision Song Contest on SBS’s Eurovision Weekend - Friday 13, Saturday 14 and Grand Final Sunday 15 May, 7.30pm on SBS, with LIVE early morning broadcasts from 5am on Wednesday 11, Friday 13 and Sunday 15 May.

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