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.