Zdob și Zdub

Zdob și Zdub (English rendering: Zdob shi Zdub) is a Moldovan band that combines elements of hip-hop, hardcore punk, and Romanian folk music. Often referred to as ZSZ by fans, Zdob și Zdub is onomatopoeia for the sound of a drum beat. The group represented Moldova in the 2005 Eurovision Song Contest, finishing sixth, and again in 2011, when they finished 12th.

Zdob și Zdub started in 1994 in the town of Chisinau, Moldova, with Roman Yagupov on vocals, Mihai Gincu on bass, and Anatol Pugach on drums. The trio had attended the same high school, and they sought out the other necessary band members at the Chisinau Sports College. During their early period, the band’s lineup constantly changed in terms of both membership and instrumentation.

Zdob și Zdub’s first break came when they were able to open for the seminal Moldovan band Cuibul. As a result of the attention garnered from this concert, the group recorded their first demo in a professional studio. Shortly thereafter, Zdob și Zdub was invited to play Moscow’s Learn to Swim fest, where they quickly gained a following in Moscow youth music culture. Two years later, in 1996, the group played the same festival again, this time onstage with Rage Against the Machine. That same year they released one of their most popular singles to date, “Hardcore Moldovenesc,” which was sung in Romanian. In 1997 Zdob și Zdub had two additional important gigs, opening for Rollins Band and later Biohazard in Moscow, followed by a tour with Moscow’s Tequilajazzz.

This early success paved the way for a slew of tours and appearances at major music festivals. Keeping an extremely tight touring schedule, in 2001 Zdob și Zdub played 110 concerts in 34 cities across 7 countries, meanwhile releasing two music videos: “Good Morning!” (“Buna dimineata!”) and “Gypsy and UFO” (“Tigan i NLO””).

In 2004 Zdob și Zdub celebrated its 10-year anniversary with a greatest-hits album of sorts, which contained what they felt were the 10 best songs from their 10 years of performing. That same year, the video for “Nunta Extremala” won first place in a Ukrainian TV music competition.

More recently, in 2015 Zdob și Zdub celebrated their 15-year anniversary with two massive concerts in Moscow and St. Petersburg, and performed “They Saw the Night” (“Видели ночь”), a tribute to Kino’s Viktor Tsoi. This song came to be quite popular in most post-Soviet countries.

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Here is the 2010 track “Zdubii bateti tare”:

 

Lyrics for “Zdubii bateti tare”:

Hai Zdob Si Zdub
Bate doba de la Prut
Patru feti – frumosi flacai
Dau foiala cu scantei
Hai, Zdub Si Zdob
Polobocul n-are dop
Patru lautari holtei

Sunt nebunii lumii ei
Hai Zdob Si Zdub
Ei bat doba pan’ o rup
Hartuiala pan’ la culme
Oboseala multa-n trup
Hai Zdub Si Zdob
Vinului nu-i sunt un rob

N-am crescut chiar in bordei
Hai strigati odata, hai !
Luni, marti, mercuri, joi
Trag in jug ca niste boi
Voce, bas, chitara,toba
Noi cantam doar pentru voi
Vara, primavara

Chiar din zori si pana-n seara
Timpul trece prin cutremuri
Ce moravuri si ce vremuri
Melodiile nu latra
Dinga face must la Vatra
‘Vantul bate, frunza zboara
Viata lunga se strecoara’

Nunta si cumatrie
Tot in jur e bucurie
Nu-s parale, este foc
Impreuna hai la joc !
Slamul ca valtoare
Imbulzeala mare
De colo colo colo
Zdubii, bateti tare !

Hai, Zdob Si Zdub, patru feti frumosi flacai!
Hai, Zdob Si Zdub, bat in doba pan’ o rup
Hai, Zdob Si Zdub, da foiala cu scantei
Hai, Zdob Si Zdub, sunt nebunii lumii ei!
Melodiile nu latra…

 

Here is “The Moldovans Were Born” (“Moldovenii s-au născut”):

 

Lyrics for “Moldovenii s-au născut”:

La o margine de lume,
Unde Dumnezeu a vrut,
Într-o zi cu voie bună,
Moldovenii s-au născut
Printre codri și coline,
Lângă Nistru, lângă Prut,
Într-o zi cu voie bună,
Moldovenii…

La o margine de lume,
Unde Dumnezeu a vrut,
Într-o zi cu voie bună,
Moldovenii s-au născut
Unde soarele răsare,
Unde grâul e crescut,
Lângă udături de poame,
Moldovenii s-au născut
Unde păsările cântă,
Unde peștele nu-i mut,
Lângă turma de oi dalbe,
Moldovenii…

La o margine de lume,
Unde Dumnezeu a vrut,
Într-o zi cu voie bună,
Moldovenii s-au născut
Moldovenii s-au născut
Unde Dumnezeu a vrut,
Într-o zi cu voie bună,
Moldovenii s-au născut
Moldovenii s-au născut
La-la-la-la-la…

Unde doina-i auzită,
Unde jocul e văzut,
Într-o zi cu voie bună,
Moldovenii s-au născut
Unde pâinea e cinstită,
Unde omul е crezut,
Într-o zi cu voie bună,
Moldovenii…

La o margine de lume,
Unde Dumnezeu a vrut,
Într-o zi cu voie bună,
Moldovenii s-au născut
Moldovenii s-au născut,
Moldovenii s-au născut…
Moldovenii s-au născut.

 

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Zach Hicks is a PhD student in Comparative Literature at the University of Oregon. He is currently participating in SRAS's Home and Abroad scholarship program. His main areas of interest are twentieth-century Russian and Soviet literature, socialist modernism, and critical theory. Outside of academics his major interests are martial arts, the outdoors, and music. In Russia, he plans to continue to increase his language proficiency, to learn as much as possible about the Russian underground music scene, its tattoo culture, and to become a student of Russia’s native martial art, SAMBO.