Tuesday, December 25, 2007

opening the road for other Romanian bands

STILL MORE: Jokero (I like this combination of English and Spanish; also, Romanian and English)

EVEN MORE: Dragoste de inchiriat/(Romanian version): romantic guy gets dumped... very, very different from the crude English version (Kylie), probably not all that crude compared with what else is out there -- a lot of the rap songs, for instance... I'm not familiar with them so I just don't know how crude songs really get -- anyways, looks like it had plenty of success with the French, the Polish / live and... probably plenty of others

MORE: French kiss / 9 Mai (the Romanian version)/ in concert (in Poland); lyrics-wise, the Romanian and English version are very different

Akcent, for instance, has had some success in Europe: King of Disco/Romanian version (parody) / The Making of King of Disco

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Romanian viral videos

STILL MORE: interesting comments, the Romanians had a very mixed reaction to what Radio 21 came up with: some of them thought it was awful... the thing is that it was as much a parody of those foreign songs as it was a parody of Romanian folk songs (it had the themes, character etc. but the words were off the cuff and bordering on profanity -- something that would never happen in traditional "broadcastable" Romanian folk songs) but most people loved it! -- they thought it was fun and entertaining...

The reaction to learning these were not original songs was also varied: some people though it didn't matter..."their song was good... but ours was delicious!"; others thought it was a lousy thing to do and studio 21 should knock it off! (gives Romanians a bad name by appropriating other peoples' songs)

EVEN MORE: Radio 21's parody of a number of Western hits: Wassabi - Have Some Fun With Radio 21

EVEN MORE: another one: Rita Rita (the term "Rita Rita" is used in this Romanian version as slang for sex -- doesn't really mean that in Romanian but the video makes it obvious; this is actually a "fan response" to the Radio 21 version; the original version... the one that Radio 21 used for its parody was Leva's Polka)

MORE: the original/Russian version was about a love triangle (the Romanian version was about a woman not being satisfied by her lover) D.

interesting story: Radio 21 (Romanian) decided to parody a number of international songs -- Jaja jaga (which appears to be Russian slang for sex) ended up very popular with Romanians, kind of a party/ drinking song...and plenty of people had no clue the song wasn't exactly "Romanian, original" (the interpretation had all the bells and whistles... figuratively AND literally of authentic Romania folk songs)


Crazy Loop on UTube: will it go viral?

there are some "fan videos" already, will it pick up even more to help promote the song on the world market? we'll see...D.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Johanna (Shut Up)

MORE: live performance (but not the singing... couldn't possibly, he appears exhousted from all that jumping around...) D.

another one of Dan's new songs: interesting! was it a good decision to sing falsetto? hard to tell... there were some big successes, such as the Bee Gees but they didn't fare well for the long run -- people ended-up being embarrassed by having *ever* liked them; the lyrics are still... an acquired taste... for Westerners, I would think... D.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Dan Balan: looks like he's done it again!


MORE: #1 in Romania

at least in Romania... looks like Crazy Loop has been received very well... surprise, surprise... or not? I thought it would be cool if it happened but... I didn't exactly see it coming:) ... hmmm... he certainly seems to have done a lot of promotion work!


P.S. we'll see what happens when "The Power of Shower" (The album which includes the single Crazy Loop) is released in Europe, Japan and America in January-February (25 countries! looks likes he's got the business side of this under control...) D.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I suppose it makes for a more perfect rhyme

Radu seems to have maxed out this idea, by using successive repetition: Tu nu/You don't...


P.S. among the three of them, they probably tried all the permutations by now...

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Could the choice of sounds be part of it?

EVEN MORE: "Ciao Bambina!" means "Bye-bye, girl!" in Italian (only Italian words used; well, he also uses "Ciao, bambino!" at one point-- the masculine form of "bambina," as something the girl used to tell him...)

MORE: e.g. "Ciao Bambina!" has sounds added at the end of words (not unusual in Romanian singing) that convey more emotion than the plain words would have: "bambina" --> bambina -aaa; "plec departe" --> plec departe-ehe; "stiu ca ma vei astepta"--> stiu ca ma vei astepta-aaa; "acum e rindul meu" --> acum e rindul me-heu; "voi lipsi in viata ta" --> voi lipsi in viata ta-aaa; "vreau sa-ti spun adio" --> vreau sa-ti spun adio-ho...
there are a lot of expressive sounds in these songs that come across regardless of what language one speaks... D.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Saturday, November 17, 2007

more from the 1st O-zone incarnation (Dan Balan and Petru Jelihovschi)

Nu ma las the limba noastra/ I will never forsake our Romanian language

(old Romanian song; background: parts of Romania have been under foreign control at different times in history, so the official language was not Romanian)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Dar unde esti?

EVEN MORE: this was a prior incarnation of O-zone with Dan Balan and Petru Jelihovschi (as the lead singer)

MORE: backwards

Where *are* you?

key idea: you are haunting my dreams, I keep looking for you but I can't find you...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


MORE: live version

(Believe me)

key idea: believe me you will be the only thing on my mind when I will pass away...

Monday, November 12, 2007

Romanian comments: there are plenty of positive ones...

as far as the negative ones... they are really bad! (it's like curses... English just doesn't have that much detail in this respect... but languages/cultures like French or Romanian... ohhh... it's hard to describe it and probably hard to understand if you didn't grow up with those things) D.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

among the clouds

MORE: similar theme, it's just that it's the Sea this time, long long standing popular Romanian song
basic idea: my love, let's get away from this flawed world: let's go up in the sky and build our own world up there, among the clouds, so we can have the perfect love that we deserve (a very alien idea for Westerners, I would think...) D.

Radu's last name

MORE: for those who need more details on this: aside from the "i" you find in most Latin based languages, Romanian has a variation of it which has a sign that looks like the roof of a house on top instead of the normal little dot; the letter "a" also has such a variation (the "roof top" instead of the dot). To make things even more confusing, what is considered correct spelling (spelled with "i" and roof top versus "a" and "roof top") has changed -- back and forth -- for arbitrary reasons in the past. Romanians are more like the French this way (they don't just allow the language to naturally change and go with it...: there is an Academia Romana -- you can see the "roof-top-a"-spelling on that page -- like there is an Academie Francaise)
He says it's "Sirbu" (means nothing in Romanian). A lot of people (including me) were confused and though it must have been "Sarbu" (which means "the Serb") and may well still be the truth...ultimately... not that Radu is lying -- I'm pretty sure the name in his documents is spelled "Sirbu" but... it's not at all uncommon for mistakes to change one's name in time; actually many of the differences in spelling of words in the different Latin-based languages, for instance, were just that: mistakes that became the norm in a particular part of the world...


Tuesday, November 6, 2007

RandomXBoredom: "Its WAY diferent (and better in my opinion) from the crap we get here in the states...

...this is a real fun-sounding fast-paced song and I LOVE IT!!! none of the singers over here sound like this and its very unique to my ears." (9th comment) D.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Luxor100: "I just love how they look like they are having so much fun..."

Luxor100 (21st comment): "I don't care if they're gay or not (though I doubt it, since Romania's culture is drastically different from America's). I just love how they look like they're having so much fun in that video. It makes me wish I could go dancing on the wing of an airplane with my friends. :-( "


the comments to the O-zone videos

EVEN MORE: the "studio version"
MORE: here's the difference: Sarbatoarea Noptilor de Vara = Summer Nights Celebration (this appears to be sung live -- noticeably lower quality for the sound, rhythm etc...)
seem to give good hints to people's varied reactions to the band...

there are definitely detractors but that's going to happen with pretty much anything... and not all the negative comments are just mean, some of them are valid criticism (e.g. do they lipsing in those videos? Yes! is that bad? again, the cultural standard -- and the implicit value judgment -- seems to play a big role... lipsinging is not seen as a mortal sin in Romania -- it's basically the choice to have the best performance of a song presented even if it's not happening right then...)


Saturday, October 27, 2007

Arsenie deserves props...

... for trying and trying and trying...(he never seems to stop searching for something different...)

Friday, October 26, 2007

language trouble for Radu...

Perfect body

... again, to bring them to Western cultural standards, the lyrics need a lot of work but the bigger problem here is that the poor fan (thestupidcarrie) seems to get disgusted by something that Radu is very likely completely unaware of..."let me feel you tonight..." --> say, what? :(... yeah, that's the normal reaction: how rude! how gross! how horrible..."nasty song," to quote Carrie above: it's just that that phrase never means those things in Romanian and Radu appears to have simply translated from Romanian into English without being aware of such differences...

and it goes both ways: e.g. calling a woman a bitch (in Romanian) is really asking for trouble... (the word means whore in that context, although it means the same thing as in English when talking about dogs)


P.S. Word for word is really a terrible way of translating things (I actually failed a translation test once, because the dummies wanted a word for word translation and I refused to come up with that sort of nonsense... those people should have known better, they were supposed to use that stuff for analysis purposes -- couldn't possibly understand even basic things the way the wanted to go about it...) D.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Again, best of luck...

to Dan! plenty of people seem to like it...so what if it's not "the numa numa thing"... I hope he makes it big! D.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

More from Arsenie...

"My heart is empty" (or something like that)


P.S. he doesn't sound bad at all in English, it's just that he could use some pointers (e.g. the difference in pronunciation between "here" and "hear")

P.P.S. may favorite joke in this line: Berlitz ad

Sunday, October 7, 2007

the lyrics (and pronunciation) are still a bit unusual

but they are easy going about that too: I remember an interview where the French asked O-zone if the lyrics for their then new song (Despre Tine, About you) were... well, better! than those for the numa numa song that made them famous but confused the heck out of foreigners lyrics-wise.

O-zone told the interviewer they were going to let her in on a little secret: the lyrics for the O-zone songs *never* change... only the title does.../joke


Thursday, October 4, 2007

Saturday, September 29, 2007

it appears that Dan wanted to leave the O-zone experience behind

and I think that he lost "the numa numa thing" in the process... Sugar Tunes Numa Numa (part of the album that will be released next year) seems to be his farewell song to those times: you can hear all the songs on that album and see the Balan band live in Washington D.C. on October 3rd but I don't think this new band (which if I remember right features Dan as a soloist and a couple of Moldavian instrument players that, together with Dan, moved to the US shortly after the break up of O-zone and are currently living in LA) has much to do with "the numa numa thing"... Good luck, anyways!


Thursday, September 27, 2007

Yes, they *do* speak Russian...

quite confortably... so why didn't Dan go after the Russian speaking market instead? (much larger than the Romanian speaking one...)? I guess he just didn't! and it may not have turned-out nearly as good for O-zone (Romanian is pretty close to Italian -- it's really the only Latin based language in Eastern Europe --> this may have made the sound of it more appealing to Western Europe).


Monday, September 24, 2007

some of the parodies were hilarious (without even knowing it...)

like this French one that centers on "poulailler" and its video clip features poultry -- all nice and dandy... it's just that... by pure chance in Romanian the sounds used by the French for their cutzy chorus mean: "the dick... the dick it is!" (2.24 time mark)


P.S. I can see the three O-zone guys stifling some serious laughter during that portion of the interview (just watch Arsenie) and graciously not mentioning what it means in Romanian... D.

Arsenie (Arsenium) keeps reinventing himself!

and he remains fairly successful (in Europe) : a "remake" of "Love me, Love me -- actually a blend with the Russian song "Kalinka," Latin-blues-rap "Loca" and ... mostly rap??? "Professional hartbreakers" (so far...)


Saturday, September 22, 2007

more recognizable...

Te-am visat/Radio (I dreamed of you/Radio)


P.S. and no, "radio" has nothing to do with the rest of the song! does it still work? I think so... D.

The video clips for his songs can be quite good!

Doi straini (Two strangers) D.

But he's missing...

... the party atmosphere... D.

Friday, September 21, 2007

after the break...

MORE: A different performance of Dulce/Sweet (interesting comments, in English)
Radu seems to be the one that best continued the happy-happy-and-let-everybody-know-about-it quality of the O-zone songs...


P.S. not that he didn't try something "different" at one point: a somewhat bizarre combination disco-rap song he recorded with a Romanian DJ around the time O-zone was splitting up:Dulce (Sweet)

the spirit of O-zone lives on...

unbelievable how years after it disbanded, so many people are still on U-tube watching it, posting their own videos (whether they are tributes or parodies... who cares... as long as it keeps going on?) posting comments... D.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

why did it only barely make the pops in the US?

errata! the song was not officially released in the US... (from one of Dan's interviews) sorry, sorry...

I think the English version was just not very good...(and you just don't change the version so many people fell in love with on the internet... -- that's always a bad idea but it may have been the price Dan had to pay for getting the song on the US charts and it was there... briefly...) D.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

and numerous versions in *other* languages also did well...

here's the Vietnamese D.

so how did Dan know his song had a chance abroad?

MORE: top 20 live
apparently, he didn't! a different Romanian band, called Haiducii, performed a cover of Dan's song... I think this pretty much proves it was the song, (the presentation may have helped but the Haiducii presentation was very different and it still did very well)


Saturday, September 15, 2007

Are *any* of these unusual for a Romanian song?

No! one of the seemingly strange things about this whole thing is that the song (and O-zone) did much better abroad... (my brother had no idea what I was talking about when I asked him about it...) D.

Alright! time for *the* song...

... and the original clip:"Dragostea din Tei"

things that strike me: off the top of my head

-- upbeat, happy melody
-- fast sustained "dance rhythm"
-- unusual vocals for the chorus

* act out happy engaging presentation


Thursday, September 13, 2007

another "party song"...

Fiesta de la noche (what ends up being the refrain and the only Spanish language words used) : I couldn't find the original on U-tube but may be just as well: a couple of Asians look like they are really enjoying it! (they may know what "Fiesta de la Noche" means but I think that's about it... reminds me of the movie "When Sally met Harry" (the scene when Sally is having an orgasm at the table and the people at the next table tell the waitress they want to have... whatever she was having... -- looks like people just wanted to be as happy as Dan, Arsenie and Radu were, had no idea what got them to that state but... they were going to give it a try...) D.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Dan commenting on a gay classmate... (who showed interest)

...not that you can always trust these things but here it is:

Dan Balan: (11: 32 p.m time stamp; third paragraph from bottom): "When I left Israel I had a big party. In the morning when I was going to leave, a friend of mine from Thailand came to me and gave me a ring with a semicircle on it. He had one just like that, and if you would have put them together they formed a circle. I thought that it was the tradition there. After two years I found out that that guy was gay. The next second I didn't want to see the ring again."


*too* much fun?

some people claimed they were gay... I would think, most likely not... taking the culture into consideration, nothing in their interactions made me think they would be gay (it's quite common for male friends to put their hands on each other's shoulders etc. ... now, if I saw them walk hand in hand on the street... or gaze at a guy the way Craig gazed at Charlie... I would have serious questions, but nothing in this video makes me think they are gay) D.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

one of the O-zone songs was a "remake" of an existing Romanian song

MORE: having what looks like loads of fun ...(on a Romanian TV program)

De ce plang chitarele

a similar theme (long long standing) Romanian popular song

Fara ea (Without her)

and that's not unusual for Romanian music

plenty of times the lyrics are just a means to an end (on this account, my dad had little patience for quite a few of the popular Romanian songs, he is an engineer and used to call then "unsingable melodies") : the thing is that words are primarily used to give general direction to feelings conveyed by the melody and they usually do that well as long as you understand the culture (and go along with it... my father didn't!) and don't expect a very cohesive overall message for songs (that's not really the point...) ; so it's not really a translation issue... it's more of a different culture value emphasis... it is quite acceptable to just suggest things and quite possible that only few people would understand what you really mean and still end-up with something most people love...

a good example of this is one of Dan's ballads: Oriunde ai fi (Wherever you will be): to make the message clear I had to do some "creative translation"(I basically helped out by clarifying things that were just vaguely suggested, dropping things that were extraneous or just plain confusing, keeping the same voice throughout and not worrying whether or not it rhymes -- it doesn't!)

Wherever you will be

I looked her in the eye for the last time,
Tears were rolling down her face and they were so bitter.
She asked me not to forget her -- she somehow knew,
I lightly told her love never dies.
I had no idea it was our last night, that we were so close to the end…
Silly me, I talked to her casually as I looked at her that last night.

I still remember that last look and I can’t forget the disillusion.
(It was all like a dream, like a fairy tale that just ended.)
But wherever she will be, I will always find her.
And I will always love her, wherever she will be,
I will find her, day or night, wherever she will be
My sweet, my bitter,
I will find her inside of me when I will love again,
I will find her in my dreams.

When I go to bed, I listen to her favorite song,
And it makes me feel so good -- so close to her,
It reminds me of us and of our last night,
Of our last kiss: her lips were cold, I was trembling and my mouth was bitter.
I kiss her in my dreams the way I did that summer,
I kiss all night long the ghost of her that summer.

I still remember that last look and I can’t forget the disillusion.
It was all like a dream, like a fairy tale that just ended.
But wherever she will be, I will always find her.
And I will always lover her, wherever she will be,
I will find her, day or night, wherever she will be
My sweet, my bitter,
I will find her inside of me when I will love again,
I will find her.

I will love her when the sky is full of stars, in my dreams where I will find her.
I will imagine holding her in my arms the way I did that last time,
We will always be close -- I will find her inside of me when I will love again.


P.S. this is the song that convinced me Dan can sing... (in most of the U-tube clips he seems to be just yelling) D.

the song... but NOT the lyrics...

I think this is pretty obvious (it did quite well with people that had no idea what the lyrics meant and were actually confused when they found out...) D.

the song! (NOT the syncher)

interesting article but I think the guy is wrong: it was really the song... (the syncher just responded well to it and helped spread it) -- that "silly song" managed to make it and do quite well in Europe and Japan without any help from Gary Brolsma... D.

The original "numa, numa dance": Romanian folk music&dance

incidentally, the expression "numa, numa" is commonly used in Romanian folk music and dance (but Dan did not mean this kind of "numa, numa": in his song, there were really two separate words "nu" and "ma" -- which should have a symbol on top)


P.S. Authentic Romanian folk dance can be very demanding but O-zone just picked some "easy steps" for their clip and you could still tell they were no dancers... (they were mostly having fun...). However, Arsenie did have the potential to dance well -- would have been hard to guess by watching him in the O-zone videos -- and proved it during his participation in the Romanian equivalent to "Dancind with the Stars." D.

Romanian music: happy, happy, happy...

I forget which travel guide it was but one of them talks about Romanians' fondness (still...) for "fell-good 70s music" as odd... I would say that, given what they've been through, it's quite understandable and it shouldn't be difficult for Americans to relate: just think of the "feel-good" movies Hollywood produced and Americans loved during World War Two and of the long standing predilection for a happy ending.


P.S. Of course, today there is more variety (there is even rap, both the "gangster type" and an original blend of rap and oriental music, which seems to have originated around the Back Sea where the Roma and Turkish influence in music is strong) but most Romanians would still agree that, for the most part, a song's primary function is to make you happy... unless it's a sad song -- e.g. Ruga pentru parinti = A prayer for our parents -- (and then it should make you cry...) D.

why the numa numa?

let's say I find the whole story very intriguing and I feel I have the background and the personal interest to try to figure this out ( I'm a native Romanian speaker and I grew up in Romania during Communism -- this last bit may be more important than it first appears: Dan wrote the numa numa song and the other O-zone songs in an attempt to break into the Romanian market (he is a native of the Republic of Moldova, which is a historic province of Old Romania called Basarabia that ended-up being part of the USSR, so he spoke Russian and Romanian)

what's this all about?

just an attempt to figure out what made "the numa numa thing" what it was/is... whatever that may be; this is by no means a "fan blog" -- just an exploration of the extended topic (will look not only at the song itself and at the other O-zone songs but also at the post O-zone songs by Dan Balan, Arsenie Toderas and Radu Sarbu); I plan to do this pretty much the way I write my craigslist criticism blog (more or less, a record of my thoughts on the topic) D.