Dan Balan

Dan Balan is a Moldovan singer who records music in Romanian, Russian, and English.

Balan was born in Chișinău, Moldova’s capital. His father, Mihai Balan, was a Moldovan diplomat and is now the head of Moldova’s security service. Balan’s interest in music arose when he was a child. He received his first accordion when he was eleven. He went to music school and later started law school, but dropped out to play music with his band Inferialis. Inferialis was a heavy-metal band, though, and Balan’s personal style leaned more toward pop.

In 1998 Inferialis broke up, and Balan Petru Jelihovschi, another Inferialis member, formed O-Zone, a commercial pop group. The two of them released a Romanian album, Dar unde esti? (“But where are you?”), in 1999, which became popular in Moldova. The band’s makeup shifted soon after, with Arsenie Todiraş and Radi Sirbu taking Jelihovschi’s place. The albums the group released under its new membership became popular as well, despite being more experimental and less commercial and quite different from other popular Romanian-language music from the time. The group won awards and popular success in both Romania and Moldova.

Balan’s career reached a whole new level in 2003, when the group released “Dragostea Din Tei” (“Love from the Lindens”), also known as “The Numa Numa Song,” which became enormously popular all around the world. Despite being in Romanian, a language few speak outside of Romania, the lyrics are slow, simple, and catchy. Combined with a rather over-the-top video, the song went viral on the Internet and was soon accompanied by thousands of videos of people filming themselves trying to sing “The Numa Numa Song.”

After O-Zone’s breakup in 2005, Balan continued performing with several different groups and under several different personas, including Crazy Loop, his “crazy” alter ego. He also cowrote “Live Your Life,” Rihanna and T.I.’s hit single, and was nominated for a Grammy for it in 2009—he was the first Moldovan to achieve that honor. He also began recording songs in Russian around this time, first in collaboration with the singer Vera Brezhneva, and then on his own. He has won several Golden Gramophones (Золотой граммофон) for his Russian songs and was named a Master of Arts by the president of Moldova in 2009. His solo career is ongoing and ever changing.

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“Dragostea Din Tei,” O-Zone’s and Balan’s biggest hit, from 2003:

Lyrics for “Dragostea Din Tei”:

Ma-ia hii
Ma-ia huu
Ma-ia hoo
Ma-ia haha (x4)

Hallo, salut, sunt eu, un haiduc
Și te rog, iubirea mea, primește fericirea.
Alo, alo,
Sunt eu, Picasso,
Ți-am dat bip
și sunt voinic,
dar să știi, nu-ți cer nimic.

Vrei să pleci, dar nu mă, nu mă iei,
Nu mă, nu mă iei,
Nu mă, nu mă, nu mă iei ,
Chipul tău și dragostea din tei
Mi-amintesc de ochii tăi (x2)

Te sun să-ți spun
ce simt acum,
Alo, iubirea mea, sunt eu, fericirea.
Alo, alo,
sunt iarăși eu, Picasso,
Ți-am dat bip, și sunt voinic
Dar să știi nu-ți cer nimic.

Vrei să pleci, dar nu mă, nu mă iei,
Nu mă, nu mă iei,
Nu mă, nu mă, nu mă iei,
Chipul tău și dragostea din tei
Mi-amintesc de ochii tăi. (x2)

Mai-ha-hi
Mai-ha-hu
Mai-ha-ha
Mai-ha-ha-ha (x2)

Vrei să pleci, dar nu mă, nu mă iei
Nu mă, nu mă iei
Nu mă, nu mă, nu mă iei,
Chipul tău și dragostea din tei,
Mi-amintesc de ochii tăi. (x2)

 

“Home” (“Домой”), one of his Russian hits and the first single from his new album of the same name, representing a dramatic stylistic switch:

Lyrics for “Домой”:

Как резвятся крылья в новой луне где-то
Так я, как по нотам, брожу по свету
И чертят гномы сущность мою – вечность
А мне бы, как дым, в этот сон беспечный

Идти по небу вниз, идти, пока ты спишь
И вернуться в те места, где ещё горят сердца
Лети по небу вдаль, лети, немного жаль
Только юная любовь вернёт меня домой

Пролетят столетия, нам бы спасти веру
Сойдутся планеты, вернутся стрелы
А всплеск Урана в розовой тьме гаснет
Мне, значит, пора в этот сон ненастный

Идти по небу вниз, идти, пока ты спишь
И вернуться в те места, где ещё горят сердца
Лети по небу вдаль, лети, немного жаль
Только юная любовь вернёт меня домой

И свежая любовь цветёт
Где-то льются капли роз
И снова всё, что есть, пройдёт
А надеюсь, не пройдёт

Идти по небу вниз, идти, пока ты спишь
И вернуться в те места, где ещё горят сердца
Лети по небу вдаль, лети, немного жаль
Только юная любовь вернёт меня домой

Домой

Вернёт меня домой

Домой

Вернёт меня домой

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Julie is currently studying Russian as a Second Language in Irkutsk (and before that, Bishkek) with SRAS's Home and Abroad Scholarship program, with the goal of someday having some sort of Russia/Eurasia-related career. She recently got her master’s degree from the University of Glasgow and the University of Tartu, where she studied women’s dissent in Soviet Russia. She also has a bachelor’s degree in literature from Yale. Some of her favorite Russian authors are Sorokin, Shishkin, Il’f and Petrov, and Akhmatova. In her spare time Julie cautiously practices martial arts, reads feminist websites, and taste-tests instant coffee for her blog.