Russian grannies in Eurovision bid


A group called the "Buranovo Grannies" will represent Russia in the Eurovision Song Contest, after winning a televised contest in Moscow.

The group, from Russia's Republic of Udmirtia, some 1,300km east of Moscow, have embarked on their hunt for musical glory after having failed to win approval to represent their country in two previous attempts.

Clad in the traditional red headscarfs and long dresses of their region, thumping feet shod in tree bark shoes and urging the audience come and dance, they beat rivals including the 2008 Eurovision winner Dima Bilan and Julia Volkova, a former member of the band Tatu, which topped the UK charts in 2003.

This year's annual Eurovision song contest - an event watched by more than 100 million people - will be held in Baku, capital of former Soviet republic Azerbaijan.

</p> <p>The choice of a folk band will strengthen Russia's quest for the top spot at the competition, said young Muscovite Viktoria. "These are traditions, culture should not be forgotten," she said.</p> <p>Buranovskiye Babushki producer Kseniya Rubtsova said the group will have their work cut out for them if they hope to defeat British entry 75-year-old Engelbert Humperdinck, who is best known for 1960s hit <em>Release Me.</em></p> <p>"He is a very serious contender, well-known both in our country and the world over," Ms Rubtsova said, adding that the group members, the eldest of whom is aged 76, are pinning their hopes on God.</p> <p>"The group is sending their wages to raise the funds for building a church in their Buranovo village," she said. "We are hoping for divine help."</p>