The Best Romanian Pop Song Ever

It’s not over until the fat lady sings. But if it’s a fat dude, and he’s lip-synching to an Eastern European pop song with lyrics about linden trees and Picasso, “over” will likely turn into “over-and-over.”

Case-in-point: After discovering the lip-synching fat dude on an Internet video stream, Jason Chu ’08 and his roommates can’t get the damn song out of their heads. So Chu does what any obsessed person would — he sets up speakers facing Old Campus and jumps up and down to a play-list of his own compilation: the fat dude’s song, eight times in a row. Thus, the freshman class is introduced to “Dragostea Din Tei,” a Romanian pop ditty that has invaded U.S. soil via a rather unusual route.

Its chorus sounds like a cross between yodeling and an aria, and it’s relentlessly catchy. The “Ma-ia-hii Song” (to the uninitiated), or, alternatively, the “Numa Numa Song,” has infected college kids and internet surfers across America. The song, by the group O-Zone, inspires seemingly sane students to pump their fists in the air and mouth nonsensical words from the hinterland of Europe. Even the most staunch European-discotheque haters find themselves singing along: “Numa numa yea, numa numa numa yea!”

O-Zone — a trio of tight-pants wearing Moldovan lads (they speak Romanian) — took the European music charts by storm in the summer of 2004. America held strong for a solid six months. But then came the fat dude: 19-year-old New Jersey audiophile Gary Brolsma who decided to make a home video of himself lip-synching to “Dragostea.” In the video, Brolsma, a chubby blond kid with round glasses, lets his inner Euro-Trash fiend free, unselfconsciously throwing his arms around and wiggling his eyebrows in time to the beeps. Internet gold.

Brolsma’s euphoric dance inspired, among others, Chu, who staged a mobile version of the video at Yale. Chu borrowed a friend’s boom box and set out with 20 fellow converts to indoctrinate the campus in the joys of “Numa Numa.” They danced their way to a party in Farnam, where, to the horror of the hosts, they cranked up “Dragostea.” They yodeled all the way to Cross Campus, frolicking in the snow drifts, and then bounded off to Silliman and TD before crashing Morse’s happy hour.

But fans like Chu are quick to defend O-Zone against comparisons with Euro-pop groups that found fleeting success in the United States, like t.A.T.u. or Gunther and the Sunshine Girls. “‘Dragostea Din Tei’ has so much staying power,” Chu said.

For now, it appears that Chu has nothing to worry about. The fat dude’s video continues to make news, and “Dragostea” continues to spread. It’s just a matter of when “Dragostea” overstays its welcome.

“I’m trying to get it out of my head right now,” Levan Naidibaize ’07 said. “It’s been there too long.”

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