The indie-rock band Izabo will represent Israel in the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest with its song “Time,” the Israel Broadcasting Authority announced on Tuesday. The competition will take place in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, on May 22.
Izabo was founded in 1989 by musician and musical producer Ran Shem-Tov, who provides vocals and guitar for the group. Its other members are Shem-Tov’s partner Shiri Hadar (keyboards ), Jonathan Levy (bass ) and Nir Mantzur (drums ).
The band sings in English, and it has made some inroads on the European music scene. Despite its 20-plus years in existence Izabo has released just two albums, “Fun Makers” (2003 ) and “Super Light” (2008 ). A third album is set for dual release soon by both the Israeli company Anova Music and the British label 100%.
“We were very surprised and happy to hear of the decision,” Shem-Tov said after the IBA announcement, adding, “We definitely intend to prepare and to give the performance of our lives.”
The representative to this year’s song contest was chosen by a committee rather than the traditional pre-Eurovision contest on Israel Television, for budgetary reasons.
“In the name of the committee I would like to congratulate Izabo and the song’s creators,” the chairman of the selection committee, Yaakov Naveh, said on Tuesday. “I have no doubt they will represent the broadcasting authority and the State of Israel with great honor.”
The composition of the committee remained confidential until after its members made their selection. In addition to Naveh it included IBA plenum member Yitzhak Sonnenschein, Channel 1 television Program Division head Rina Hachmon, Channel 1 Entertainment and Culture producer Tal Argaman, the musicians Nimrod Lev, Mira Awad, Gilad Segev and Roni Yedidia, the music editors of a number of popular-music radio stations, the head of Israel’s Eurovision song contest and a representative from the Education Ministry.
Shem-Tov produced the most recent album of Israel’s representative to the 2010 Eurovision Song Contest, Harel Skaat.