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ZDOB SI ZDUB: The battle will be hot...

Finally, Zdob si Zdub got a feel of the Ukrainian public and now they are visiting us with any comfortable occasion. Good is always waiting them here and insufficiency of solicitors to come to their concerts is already history. This time, the musician's arrival in Kiev concerns "Eurovision" - on May 19, Zdob si Zdub will be competing in the semi-finals for the right to represent Moldova in this contest. Promo-visits made before the contest allow the artists to make themselves heard once again to the public, but the journalists - for another time to test artists' patience concerning standard questions: "what for "Eurovision"?". So:

- Guys, what for "Eurovision"? It is said that this contest is for housewives. Most musicians consider that participating in this contest is below their dignity.

Roman Iagupov: But we want to make those housewives to dance Moldavian hard-core. If seriously, not many people would refuse the chance to get acquainted whole Europe with the culture of his people. Only in the recent past, "Eurovision" became the housewives' contest. But it was thought that every contestant must represent his country, the culture of his country. And the contest of European song had to show the diversity of European cultures. In the end, it happened the other way. But thanks to Ruslana, the primary aim of the contest is coming back - more and more ethnic is appearing. I think we'll harmonize.
Mihai Gincu: In fact, we participate in all contests where it is possible to do it.
R.I.: "I fight, because I fight!"
M.G.: Yes. We are driven by the sport interest.

- How did you get on the list of participants of the pre-selection tour?

R.I.: We were automatically included. And we thought and decided that if you don't participate, people won't understand us. Our country is small, there are not many collectives.

- This year, Moldova is participating for the first time in "Eurovision" and this became known pretty late. How much time did you have for preparing the song? Did you have any prefab of the song or it was composed especially for "Eurovision"?

R.I.: We found out that a new song is needed for "Eurovision" just a month and a half before the national contest.
M.G.: The point is that we were preparing a totally different project - to release our first compilation. And there had to appear this song, which we present now in the contest ("Boonika Bate Doba"). By that time, the song didn't have lyrics and because we were in a tour regime, actually now we are, too, we didn't have time for it. "Eurovision" made us seriously begin the work upon it. In a month and a half we could've not manage physically to write a totally new song. We never write song that fast. Each of our songs has to travel a pretty long way, in order to become a real song - half a year, a year. We have to live with it, try it on the stage. If it really succeeds, then it lives. If no - then no. "Boonika Bate Doba" is time-tested and "Eurovision" only helped finishing it more quickly.

- Could you give some more details about the song? Who is this "grandma that beats the drum"?

M.G.: Grandma is a very positive character. She is the wife of :mmm:grandpa that made the "doba" (this is a kind of Moldavian drum) for us. We got acquainted with him thanks to our friend that lives in the South of Moldova. He told us that there is a village, where lives a good handicraftsman. And so we went there. Grandpa was showing us how his doba sounds and when he went in the cellar to get a jug of wine, he asked grandma to continue the "master-class" instead of him. Grandma calmly took the mallet in her hands and how she started :.! Such a drum'n'bass! With such a rhythm, with such a tempo! Our jaw simply dropped from surprise. This is where our story about the grandma beating the doba begun.
R.I.: This grandma is a working woman of the southern fields, with a golden smile. Her name is Lidia Bejenaru.

- How do you appreciate your chances concerning winning in "Eurovision"?

M.G.: Well, we already won - in our national contest. We can say that "Eurovision" in Moldova already took place.
R.I: In principle, we are already sick and tired of this contest. What will follow - we will see. We already rejoiced a lot, satisfied our ambitions.
M.G.: Especially because the experience we got from "Eurovision" is a creative exchange among the collectives of all participant countries and it is very valuable. Now, theoretically, we can even not participate in "Eurovision", but just perform here and there. We sent our demos to all the countries; they know about us, we know about them, now we can calmly travel through Europe with friendly visits and promote our culture.

- So, that means you accomplished your minimum-program?

M.G.: Yes, but in order to accomplish it we had to participate in "Eurovision".
R.I.: Participation is important to us. Not to win, but to participate.
M.G.: :also the organizers of "Eurovision" have their ways of spreading the information. They sent the recordings of all the participants to all the countries. For example, we have proposals to go to Norway, Bulgaria, Greece, Turkey, and Portugal:
R.I.: :there are many Moldavian immigrant workers:

- And where are you planning to go first?

R.I.: I think will go for sure in Portugal. And Bulgaria - it is close.

- How was the selection tour in Moldova? Was there a viewer's voting or a professional jury? Or both?

R.I: Both of them. It was a tough fight and insufficient organizational possibilities - because everything was happening on the national television, but the national television isn't in its better situation, now. But they fulfilled all the minimum obligations and yet the contest took place. There was voting, there was the spirit of competition, there were sub-aquatic stones, disappointments, winning and losing, too. That was a battle - the most real one.
M.G.: Yes, we were not expecting that it would be for real necessary to fight, because we won with a difference of 109 votes. One of the juries gave us 4 points out of 10 possible - a classic composer, by the way. So the professional jury gave us second place. Obviously, they have a conservative point of view concerning music.
R.I: :but we have a sport one.
M.G.: But the viewers situated us on first place. This decided the deal.

- Now you have the preparing for "Eurovision", all these promo-visits are priority for you, but what about the other projects? Roma, you had to participate in a TV-show "Stars before my eyes" and perform on the box ring, in front of the viewers, isn't it?

R.I: This was in Romania and the action is called "Green stars". When you get a punch in your nose, they look exactly like this. Here, do you see, I have a black eye?

- I don't see it.

R.I.: They did a good make-up: And so. I saw personally those stars.

- What is the point of this show?

R.I.: Who beats who.

- But who are the fighters?

R.I: Different well-known people from sports, show-business etc. But my opponent was a guy from a popular Romanian band. We finished at a draw. We beat each other, satisfied the public, everybody liked it a lot.
M.G.: :but it was very cruel. With blood, as box supposes. The warming up was very powerful. The audience was supporting the other one. And for real it was a moment when Roman hit him so well, I even got scared.
R.I: But he hit me too! In the beginning I missed several knocks, because I didn't expect that he would attack that way.
M.G.: :but before the show this guy agreed with Roman about fighting very calmly, not seriously, in the end, it's just a show. And so, Roman calmly was getting on the ring, when that guy soooo attacked him.
R.I.: If it wasn't that, I would've not let him get to me - I have a very good reaction. I was simply relaxed and not expecting that he would throw himself at me like that. I was thinking - "as we agreed, jokingly".

- Not long ago in Moldova took place parliamentary elections and Zdob si Zdub had an active participation in political concerts. Is it so necessary for the musicians to get involved in politics?

R.I.: Ukrainian musicians were not sitting outside when you had elections. Very simple, everybody has his priorities and everybody has the right to vote. And everybody chooses those people that really can change the life in the better directions (or it seems that can change).

- Did you choose the invitation according to your political believes?

R.I: Yes, of course.
M.G.: We are friends with those people, who have a wise thinking, to our opinion; and we accepted with pleasure their invitation.
R.I.: Utopia - it is not a communist party.

- What stage is the preparation of your compilation-album in?

M.G.: Well, if "Eurovision" takes place more frequently and we work in the same rhythm, then we finish the album very fast. In the beginning of summer, probably, it will be ready.
R.I.: More probably, towards fall. We are doing everything simultaneously and this is very difficult. No time to concentrate.

- What songs will be on it?

R.I.: There will be new ones and there will be old ones - this is for sure.
M.G.: But before the album a CD-Single will be released. Maxi-single. "Eurovision" and the necessity of writing different versions of the song gave us the possibility to make at least five versions of this song: "let's do it like this, but let's do it like this, too - this way is even better". The single will contain five different versions of "Boonika bate Doba" plus DJ mixes, which were made by friendly to us DJs. Besides this, the song "Miorita", which Roman likes very much, but it wasn't included in the Moldavian version of the album - only in the Russia and Ukraine ome.

- What is the percentage of new songs on "The Best of"?

R.I.: 15,2%

- How is this - two-three song out of 15?

R.I.: Approximately. We ourselves didn't get to count them exactly.
M.G.: Actually the old songs will be interesting, too, because they are re-recorded in a new way. Yes, we re-recorded all the old song and they sound different. "Zdubii bateti tare", for example, is recorded in a new version with the winds, but "Sirba" will become much heavier. We included in the compilation the songs that we like, but now we would record differently.
R.I.: And we wouldn't like to call this compilation "The Best of". We are still thinking, maybe it will be something like "ethno-mechanics". But in general we are already dealing too long with this compilation: It would be better to start working on the new album already: But first of all we will finish this project, and then we'll think about the other one.

- So, we'll meet in Kiev on May 19? We will support you.

R.I.: And by the way, we want to take advantage of the situation and wish good luck to all "Eurovision" participants. We already got acquainted with the songs of other contestants - this year will be a strong "Eurovision" and the battle for the trophy will be very hot.
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