With the Giddy Goat motto in mind, I was inspired this month to write about something unique that I love: Romanian pop music. Specifically, the band O-Zone.
From the country of Moldova, singers Dan Balan, Radu Sîrbu, and Arsenie Todiraș formed the band O-Zone back in 1998.
You may remember this guy:
I first heard the song Dragostea Din Tei (Numa Numa) after his video went viral sometime in the early 2000’s. The song stuck with me throughout the years in the fact that I fondly remember thinking about how happy he looked jamming out to music in his room, and how upbeat and catchy the song was. That was about as far as my listening went through, until several years later. I certainly loved the song, but I didn’t fall in love with the band as a whole until around 2011. Unfortunately, by the time I started getting into their music, they had already disbanded. However, that didn’t make me love them any less. I spent many nights listening to their music online over and over again and then I quickly bought their cd, Disc O-Zone.
It’s safe to say it was my most listened to cd that summer. I Googled lyrics and translations, diving into what they were singing about and learning key phrases so that I could sing along with them. They even inspired me to go beyond just music and to learn more about the culture over there.
While O-Zone is from Moldova, the official language of their country is Romanian. And, while I haven’t quite learned the language like I wanted, this band is still to this day one that I love to listen to. In times I need something upbeat to boost my mood, or I don’t know what I want to listen to, they are a fun band to play.
I haven’t heard a song by them that I don’t like, but for today I thought I would pick my top five to share with you.
Ah, the song that started it all for me. This is definitely one of my top listened to by them! Something I find very interesting is how different their Romanian version is from their English version. After I first heard this song all those years back, I found the English version and tended to gravitate toward that one since I knew the words. However, when I re-discovered them and translated the Romanian lyrics, I was surprised. In their English version, Picasso (Radu) is professing his love for a girl by saying he’ll paint her name on every wall. In the Romanian version, however, they aren’t singing about graffiti at all. He calls himself an outlaw in the first line, but it isn’t specified like it is in the English version. In the Romanian version, they sing lines like: “You want to leave but you don’t want to take me…” and “Your face and the love from the linden trees, I remember your eyes…” Both versions are upbeat and great, but I’m partial to the Romanian version. I think the lyrics are a little more yearnful.
2) Numai Tu
The beat, the tune. This is another one of my most listened to songs by them. In English Numai Tu means “Only You”, and as I said about the last song, there’s a yearnful kind of sound in their singing. To translate some of the words: “Don’t ask me why the world around me is no more. In my mind now lives only you. In late winters, I will keep you warm. I will whisper to you: Only you are my life.”
3) Despre Tine
I find this song so catchy! It’s hard to decide whether this is my second favorite by them or if Numai Tu is! The chorus catches me every time and even before I looked up the lyrics I had found myself trying to sing along – despite having no idea what I was singing. The lyrics are poetic and it has a great tune and beat. I love this song! Here are some of the words:
“Ma inec in ochii tai, lal-la-lei/Plange lumea dupa ei, lal-la-lei/Esti un inger pe Pamant /Despre tine cant si zi si zi noapte, lal-la-lei”
“I’m drowning in your eyes la la la la lei/The world cries for them la la la la lei/You’re an angel on the earth/I sing about you, both day and night la la lei”
4) Ciao Bambina
Here’s a break-up song with a good beat, saying that while he loved her, she did nothing but offend him and he’s had enough. He won’t love her anymore, he’s saying goodbye. Ciao!
And last, but certainly not least, this is a fun party song, so to speak. The song is sung in Romanian, but the title is Spanish and it means, “Party of the night”. This is how they kick off their cd and it sets a good mood for the album. The lyrics are as if you really are at a concert with them. They greet their audience, they sing about the noise, the energy, and the music being heard from across the border (I think they’re talking about Romania, their neighboring country). You can tell that they are a group of guys having fun as they sing!
Well, I hope that I have been able to expand your world of music a little bit today!