Photo: Album cover
Can Bonomo. One of us, sort of
Photo: Album cover

Turkey sends Jewish star to Eurovision

On backdrop of tense relations with Israel, Turks select Jewish singer Can Bonomo as their representative in 2012 European song contest

The Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT) on Monday chose young singer Can Bonomo as the country's representative in the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest, which will be held in May in Baku, Azerbaijan.


What many people do not know is that Bonomo comes from a Jewish family – making his selection somewhat surprising in light of the tense relations between Turkey and Israel.


This year Turkey decided not to hold a pre-Eurovision competition and have a professional committee select the Turkish entry instead. The names of quite a few critically acclaimed local singers were mentioned, but the winner was a young and promising singer who is just at the start of his career.


Announcement on Turkey's 2012 Eurovision entry


Bonomo, 24, a pop singer born in Izmir, began playing guitar at the age of nine. He went on to study music in Istanbul, and at the age of 17 became a musical producer in the port city while studying cinema and television in a local university.


His first album, which he worked on for two years, was only released in January 2011. All of its songs were written by him.


The young singer's songs became increasingly popular on Turkey's radio shows, as well as on international music channels like MTV. He says his music is inspired by different bands, including The Beatles, American indie band The Shins and British rock band The Kinks.


Although 2011 was his first year in the major league, Bonomo won two prestigious awards in the newcomer category.


Can Bonomo in action


The singer responded to the selection on his official Facebook page, which has more than 100,000 fans. He expressed his hope to "represent my country with pride upon receiving this opportunity."


Bonomo added that he was very excited and hoped to gain the support of all of Turkey's residents. "I have my musical style and I'll do everything I can to represent the country in the best way possible."


And what will he sing at the European song contest? According to the Turkish decision, the selected artist will compose his own song.


Bonomo's official website and Facebook page make no mention of the fact that he is Jewish. The issue is absent from many Turkish reports on his selection, but is mentioned in his Wikipedia entry in Turkish and in English as well as in the Eurovision website.


"The fact that he is Jewish is not emphasized, whether intentionally or not, but the Jewish community knows who he is. His family is well known in the Izmir community, and his last name is Jewish as well," Rafael Sadi, spokesman for the association of Turkish immigrants in Israel.


Sadi expressed his pride in the Jewish representation and his hope that one day the countries' main focus would be on music.



פרסום ראשון: 01.12.12, 15:07
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