Why you should give douze points to Eurovision hopefuls
Published 23/02/2013 | 08:00
A musical couple from Northern Ireland and their Turkish bandmates are urging Eurovision fans to get on the phone and vote for them tonight.
Hugh O'Neill (56) and his partner Sinead Bradley (47) will be battling it out tonight on RTE in a bid to represent Ireland in Sweden this year.
The couple have been performing their own material, as Inchequin, since the 1990s.
In 2009, with six albums under their belt, they moved to Turkey and quickly met some kindred spirits in the seaside village of Gumusluk.
"Gumusluk is the one place in Turkey were musicians, artists and poets from Istanbul all retire to," said Hugh, who hails from Lurgan.
"We fell in with some wonderful musicians and last year wrote Son Kez – The Last Time. It wasn't written for the Eurovision, but we felt it was just right for it, so sent it off for consideration."
Hugh and Sinead, who is originally from Maghera, were delighted to receive an email back from songwriter Shay Healy, who penned Ireland's 1980 Eurovision winner, What's Another Year, for Johnny Logan.
Shay loved the song, which is performed in English and Turkish, and is now Inchequin's mentor for the Eurovision Song Contest in Malmo.
"Shay heard over 400 tracks and loved ours," Hugh said.
"People have fallen in love with the song. The big stories in Turkey at the moment are Drogba, the Pope and Inchequin."
Inchequin are one of five musical acts that will battle it out on RTE One's The Late Late Show tonight – and they have asked Belfast Telegraph readers to support them.
Joining the Northern Irish couple will be backing singer Niamh Collins from Co Meath, trumpet and piano player Tevfik Kulak, singer Selin Turkoglu and violinist Ayda Tuncboyac.
"We are hoping everyone will support us," Sinead said.
"If they can get on the phone we would love it. We grew up watching Eurovision and Dana's win and have always been interested."
To vote for Inchequin, watch The Late Late Show on RTE One tonight at 9.35pm.
Ireland's Eurovision glory:
1970 All Kinds of Everything – Dana
1980 What's Another Year – Johnny Logan
1987 Hold Me Now – Johnny Logan
1992 Why Me – Linda Martin
1993 In Your Eyes – Niamh Kavanagh
1994 Rock 'n' Roll Kids – Paul Harrington and Charlie McGettigan
1996 The Voice – Eimear Quinn