Estonia’s first entry
It was the first of january 1993, when several Eastern European countries joined the EBU. Among them Estonia. Finally, this young country (independent again since 1991) was able to participate in the Eurovision Song Contest. Estonian TV (ETV) invited Janika Sillamaa to do the job. Janika was seven years old when she started working in the Childrens Musical Theatre Colombina. She played the main roles in a children’s musical and a children’s opera. In 1992, she played the role of Mary Magdalene in the Andrew Lloyd Webber/Tim Rice musical “Jesus Christ Superstar”. The next step was the preselection for the Eurovision Song Contest. On february 20, Janika presented eight new songs, one of them to be selected as the Estonian entry:
1.Lootus (135 pts., 4th)
2.Ma sule ütlen (129 pts., 6th)
3.Jää hetkeks (111 pts., 7th)
4.Unelaul (133 pts., 5th)
5.Muretut meelt ja südametuld (193 pts., 1st)
6.Laulumaa (100 pts., 8th)
7.Aeg on laul (140 pts., 3rd)
8.Tuhast tõuseb päev (180 pts., 2nd)
So “Muretut meelt ja südametuld” became the first Estonian entry. The song, which translates as “Sorrowless minds and flames of hearts” (the lyrics and translation can be found here), was one of the seven entries in “Kvalifikacija za Millstreet”, the Eastern European preselection for the 1993 Eurovision Song Contest. Janika Sillamaa traveled to the Slovenian capital Ljubljana to do the job. Three of the seven entries would make the step to the Eurovision stage in the Irish town of Millstreet. Unfortunately, Janika’s Estonian adventure ended in Ljubljana: she became 5th.
Most of the songs from the national final can be found on Janika’s debut album “Lootus”. Janika Sillamaa did a second attempt to represent Estonia in 1998, with the song “Viime valge kuu”. The song became 4th. However, the composer of the song, Koit Toome, won the contest as a singer. She was succesful, not only as a singer, but especially for her roles in numerous musicals in Estonia.
Whatever she did after her tiny Eurovision adventure, Janika Sillamaa was the first Estonian representative. Even though she did never reach the Eurovision stage.