Stunning Danube scenery in short film linked to Romania’s Eurovision song

When you watch the original videoclip to Voltaj’s song De la Capăt (subsequently chosen as Romania’s Eurovision 2015 entry) you can’t help being impressed by the cinematography and the spectacular riverside setting. The imagery is taken from a short film (scurt metraj in Romanian) entitled Calea Dunarii (Way of the Danube, in English). It was filmed near Orșova, very close to the magnificent “Iron Gates” – the narrow gorge between Serbia and Romania which is probably the most striking part of a river cruise along the length of the Danube.

The film – shown here with English subtitles – is well worth a look if you have 12 minutes to spare. It features a well-known Romanian actor Constantin Dinulescu as “Bunicul” (the grandfather), while the little kid playing Ion – the local equivalent of John – Razvan Schinteie, is superb too. Great actors are those who can convey meaning and emotion when the script asks for silence.

The aim of both the film and the song is to raise awareness of the loneliness of the “orphans of the economy“. Here is the music clip.

Of course, it is easy for professional musicians to sound good on disc after hours in a recording studio, but some are caught short badly in live performances. So how do Voltaj rate? Check them out live in Radio Zu’s cramped studios.

I can’t get enough of this song, so here for good measure is another performance, this time in the studios of another popular Romanian music station, Kiss FM.

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Romanian verbs (present tense, Bernardo funky non-extended remix)

brain-494152_1280Recently in two different publications I came across articles on how learning languages is good for the brain and keeps you youthful etc. No wonder I am looking so good in the mirror!

Well, I feel obliged to add some more elixir of youth, so I am about to pour myself a strong coffee, and get stuck into revision on Romanian verbs. I might make it an Irish coffee, because drinking in many languages keeps you youthful too.

Now, exactly how many conjugation groups there are with Romanian verbs is a matter of … well, let’s call it learned speculation. It all depends how you most efficiently categorise the many slightly irregular verbs, and different teachers do it in different ways. For example,

  1. Romanian, An Essential Grammar by Ramona Gönczöl (published in 2008 by Routledge) says there were traditionally four, but now there are eleven sets of conjugations.
  2. Conjugarea Verbelor Româneşti by Ana-Maria Barbu (2013, eDidactica) divides the verbs into the following:
  • question-mark-460868_1280Conjugation I (split into 12 groups)
  • Conjugation II-a (split into four groups)
  • Conjugation III-a (split into eight groups)
  • Conjugation IV-a (split into 13 groups)

 

When I did my summer language course in Romania in 2013 our excellent teacher tried to keep it simple for us, so rather than go into 11 conjugations, or four conjugations and 37 groups (!!!), I will use my revision notes from the course.

VERB CONJUGATION, PRESENT TENSE

In Romanian, verbs in their infinitive form end in one of three letters – a, e or i – and each one has two possible conjugations so all up you have to learn by heart six sequences of endings for the present tense. (Then I added, somewhat optimistically: Plus, of course, there will be irregular ones). Some examples of infinitives are:

  • a lucra, to work; a spune, to say; a vorbi, to speak

letters-565096_640 1) Verbs ending in -A

These verbs take either the -EZ set of endings or what we might call the  or zero suffix. There are no particular clues as to which verb takes which ending. The –a of the infinitive is dropped to form a stem and the following suffixes are added to it.

 

PRONOUN               EZ ENDINGS            ∅  ENDINGS

eu (I)                            –ez                         -∅ (no suffix)

tu (you)                         –ezi                         –i

el/ea (he/she)               –ează                      –ă

noi (we)                        –ăm                         –ăm 

voi (you)                       –aţi                           –aţi

ei/ele (they)                  –ează                       –ă

  • Note how with -a verbs the endings for the third persons singular (el/ea) and plural (ei/ele) are the same.
  • Where you see the t with a curl under it as in –aţi it is hissed and the i after it is silent (so it sounds a bit like the last bit of “psssst!” in English).

Examples

Let’s conjugate a lucra, (to work, which is lucrative for some) and a cânta, to sing. Our stems are lucr– and cânt

eu (I)                            lucrez                         cânt

tu (you)                         lucrezi                        cânti

el/ea (he/she)               lucrează                     cântă

noi (we)                        lucrăm                        cântăm 

voi (you)                       lucraţi                         cântaţi

ei/ele (they)                  lucrează                      cântă

letters-565117_640 2) Verbs ending in -E

This group of verbs appears to be much simpler. They all take the ∅ endings except for a scrie (to write) which has a -u component – the u is inserted where normally there is no suffix.

 

PRONOUN               -U ENDINGS            ∅ ENDINGS

eu (I)                            –u                         -∅ (no suffix)

tu (you)                         -i                         –i

el/ea (he/she)               –e                        –e

noi (we)                        –em                     -em 

voi (you)                       -eţi                       -eţi

ei/ele (they)                  -u                       -∅ (no suffix)

  • Note, with -e verbs,the first person singular and third person plural endings are the same.

Examples 

Let’s put this into practice now comparing a scrie with the verbs a face, (to do or make), so our stems are scri– and fac

eu (I)                            scriu                         fac

tu (you)                        scrii                          faci

el/ea (he/she)              scrie                         face

noi (we)                       scriem                      facem 

voi (you)                      scrieţi                       faceţi

ei/ele (they)                 scriu                        fac

letters-565103_6403) Verbs ending in -i

These verbs either take the ∅ endings or -esc endings, and again there are no discernible patterns as to which of the two options it might be, you just have to learn by heart which takes what.

 

PRONOUN               –ESC ENDINGS            ∅ ENDINGS

eu (I)                             -esc                               ∅

tu (you)                         -eşti                                -i

el/ea (he/she)               -eşte                               -e

noi (we)                         -im                                 -im

voi (you)                        -iţi                                  -iţi

ei/ele (they)                   -esc                                ∅

  • Note, as with -e verbs, with -i verbs, the first person singular and third person plural endings are the same.

Examples 

Let’s have a go using a vorbi (to speak) and a fugi, (to run), so our stems are vorb– and fug

eu (I)                             vorbesc                               fug

tu (you)                         vorbeşti                               fugi

el/ea (he/she)               vorbeşte                              fuge

noi (we)                         vorbim                                 fugim

voi (you)                        vorbiţi                                  fugiţi

ei/ele (they)                   vorbesc                                fug

question-mark-460868_1280 IT’S NOT AS COMPLICATED AS IT LOOKS!

While this may seem a lot to learn, the first and second persons plural (noi şi voi) are very easy to remember.

  • With -a verbs, the respective noi and voi endings are –ăm and –aţi
  • With -e verbs, the respective noi and voi endings are –em and –eţi 
  • With -i verbs, the respective noi and voi endings are –im and –iţi

You will notice, too, that the ∅ endings are pretty similar across the –a, –e or –i verbs, apart from the change of vowel.

conclusion

So, how was that, eh? I bet you feel rejuvenated and mentally alert after digesting all that brain fodder. You may even be craving more Romanian verbs, in which case you’ll find a fi (to be) and a avea (to have) up there in my Verbs drop-down menu.

Noapte bună – good night!

Is life good or bad ‘fără tine’? Let these musicians sway you

Fără is an important word in Romanian and I learnt it by trial and error on the first day of my language course in Sibiu in the summer of 2013: outside the classroom was a big coffee machine and the first time I used it I hit the fără zahăr (“without sugar”) button. Yuck! Thereafter it was cu zahăr mereu (with sugar always).

Just as “without you” is fairly common in English song titles, so is fără tine in Romanian music. Usually it is an expression of sadness and doleful longing. Take this example, from highly rated band DJ Project (a couple of musicians/DJs from Timişoara who have used a number of female vocalists over the years): the lyrics include: fără tine nu sunt eu, am stiut asta mereu, nu mai vreau sa plang, dar doare, doare, doarefără tine n-am nimic (without you I am not myself, I knew it all along, I don’t want to cry anymore, but it hurts, without you I have nothing..)

In a similar vein, musically and lyrically, is this effort from Anda Allexa, who says that fără tine her life is drab and colourless, and she has no sun or moon!

Now it’s Dana Nălbaru‘s turn with this gentle ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’ type of song, which illustrates the beauty of the Romanian language)…

It’s not only women who get morose with the fără tines. Here’s Voltaj (Romania’s representatives at Eurovision this year) with Mi-e greu fără tine (It’s hard without you).

You’ll also hear the line n-am nimic in this lovely song Alături de îngeri (Near or Among the Angels) by 3 Sud Est, but in this case is is followed by în afară de tine which means “apart from you” or “except for you”. I really like this song.

But it’s not all bad news!

Sometimes breaking up isn’t so hard to do. Here’s a big hit from the summer of 2013. It’s the band Vama (formerly Vama Veche) and the song is Perfect Fără Tine – I don’t particularly like it but found myself humming and singing along to the jaunty chorus whenever I heard it played. And why not? It’s a happy song … perfect fără tine, e mai bine, am timp şi pentru mine … perfect without you, it’s better, I have time for me….

Sorry, everyone, the Eurovision 2015 winner has already been decided…

Great news! OMG! OMG! Exclamation mark extravaganza!

Much to my joy, much to my excitement, much to my exaltation, much to my relief, my favourite song of the moment is going to be in the Eurovision 2015 final!

Yes, De La Capăt by Voltaj beat 11 other contenders in the Romanian play-off, including a number of Johnny-come-lately reality TV talent show winners, to earn the well-credentialled Voltaj a spot in the final in Vienna from May 19-23. Encouragingly, the band got top points from both the musical jury and the televoting public. Incidentally, out of the 12, it and only one other song were in the local language – the rest were in English.

Let’s have a look at the winning performance.

If you were wondering why it started off strangely with a woman putting a teddy bear to bed and kissing her sleeping child goodnight (goodbye, actually) – and why the stage was covered in suitcases – it’s because the song aims to raise awareness of the loneliness of what I call the orphans of the economy.

While Voltaj will sing in Romanian in Vienna, an English version of the song, titled All Over Again, has just been released. I hope it charts somewhere in the English-speaking world. Hello, Australian music stations, put this on your playlist.

 

Multilingual portals that can fast-track your language learning: try Deutsche Welle

Hello, here is another look at how international broadcasters and their websites can help you with your language learning, with a focus on my five Romance languages. In the first instalment, we looked at the BBC with its online coverage in French, Spanish and Portuguese. In the second part of the series, we found Radio France Internationale went one better by adding Romanian to the above. But alas, no Italian.

Now we will look at the German international broadcaster, Deutsche Welle. As you will see (if you have good eyesight!) from the screen grab below, taken from its English website here, its languages component is pretty impressive: 30 all up, including French, Romanian, Spanish, and both Portuguese for Brazil and Portuguese for Africa. When you go to the DW site, you have to click on the “DW.DE IN 30 LANGUAGES” on the far right of the thin light grey panel at the top of the page, and then the language options will appear as a pop-up above that.

DW languages

OK, let’s have a look at what stories DW is running on the weekend beginning February 28, and bearing in mind that sometimes these broadcasters’ websites are not so much news services but more of a platform to promote their radio or television features.

(I will switch to different coloured text from now on to distinguish my writing from DW’s. Otherwise you will get long slabs of black on white.)

Let’s start with French: the lead story on the home page (the Africa section) looks back at how 130 years ago the superpowers partitioned Africa – with little or no consideration of the needs of the Africans themselves. 

dw french newsOn the “International” page the lead story is how Islamic State militants are destroying archaeological treasures. 

dw french news2

DW’s Spanish site has a strong focus on Latin America. One of its main stories is the capture of a Mexican drug baron.

dw espagnol

On the Português do Brasil website, the assassination in Russia of former Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov is given the most prominence. 

DW portuguese brasil

But Brasil does get a mention, at least via the front cover (“capa“) of The Economist

dw portuguese brasil 2um atoleiro = a quagmire, mire, marshy place, puddle, embarrassment, mess, difficulty, pickle, immorality or degradation. 

On the Português para África website, the lead story is Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s controversial and opulent 91st birthday party or “festa“.

dw portuguese port

Finally, to the Romanian page. As you would expect, much of the focus was on new Romanian President Klaus Iohannis’s recent visit to Berlin and meetings with Chancellor Angela Merkel to discuss, among other things, Romania’s desire to enter the 26-nation Schengen Area, the security situation and possible Russian aggression in Moldova (which is between Ukraine and Romania). The Schengen talks also brought up the controversial issue of the emigration of Romanians to other parts of Europe, and whether this migration was good (buna) or bad (rea), and for whom, depending on whether they were skilled or unskilled workers. 

dw romanian

To read a report in English on Merkel’s and Iohannis’s meeting, go here.

More about that ‘oral sex/ tomorrow’ business

One of the most popular posts written on this blog is Useful expressions in Romanian, like oral sex tomorrow, perhaps. I am surprised – I didn’t think there were that many enthusiastic students of Romanian out there. Or maybe it’s the oral sex that attracts them, although I’m sure most would prefer it today rather than tomorrow.

As noted in that post, mâine means tomorrow in Romanian, but the combination of vowels makes it very difficult to pronounce (there is no exact equivalent in English), and Romanians often laugh when they hear a foreigner say it, because they often mispronounce it as muie, which means oral sex, to put it politely.

For those who would like to practise correct prim and proper Romanian, here’s a native speaker using the word in a positive song about things being better tomorrow entitled Mâine. It’s by Mellina (an excellent singer whose latest hit Poza de Album is still in the top five in Romania, along with Indila’s S.O.S – you can hear both here). The actual song starts about half a minute in. Mâine is the first word of the chorus. Try to say it – let me assure you, even if you think you are doing it correctly, there’s a good chance Romanians will snigger at your attempts.

Now all I have to do is find a song about muie so that you can compare the two. If anyone knows of one, please share the link 🙂

Incidentally, the video clip starts off at the railway station in Sinaia, a pleasant resort up in the Carpathian mountains, where the beautiful Peleş Castle is to be found, as well as the Sinaia Monastery and many grand historic buildings. Here is a gallery of photos I took there last year.

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Drag out your inner îndrăgostit

Voltaj concert at Disco Ring

Voltaj in concert. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the post D is for devious virgins, which I am sure many people latched on to in the hope of delving into deviousness themselves, haha, I mentioned that dragoste was the Romanian word for love. A related word, one which you will often come across in music, is îndrăgostit (îndrăgostită in the feminine form), which is an adjective meaning “in love with”. The verb is a se îndrăgosti (de cineva), “to fall in love (with someone)”. A related adjective is îndrăgit or îndrăgită in the feminine, meaning “loved, beloved”. This weekend, if you follow my instructions, you are going to use the language of love and have a nice meal to boot. Language can’t be all theoretical, it has to be put into practice.

Here are some musical examples of this word from songs that I quite like.

Flower photo

Flowers can get very perky when their mistresses have big boobs.  (Photot: @Doug88888)

The first is a recent hit, Pic Pic, by Voltaj. I find this song a little bit annoying in the verses but very catchy in the chorus, which I hum to myself quite often. I might even dance to it if no one is looking. There is a melodic la la la la-la bit near the end too. In other words, don’t judge this song by the first few (dozen) bars, let it grow on you. The chorus is simple: Sunt un pic pic, îndrăgostit  (repeated four times). Sing along with it and after playing it once or twice you will at least have thoroughly mastered four words in Romanian – un pic means “a little, a pinch, or slightly”, and sunt is “I am”. The video clip is clever in parts and has an amusing, unexpected ending. In the beginning, though, it just looks like another band is using a buxom woman to parade around in low-cut clothing to help sell the song, but if big boobs are your thing you will enjoy this part of the video too. Another verb meaning “to love” in Romanian is a iubi…in the videoclip you will see “iubi” appearing on the model’s computer and phone, which is why the pot plant gets jealous.

Moving along to the second example, a popular song from a very boyish former winner of the Romanian version of the X Factor talent contest, Andrei Leonte. I think he has a great voice. The word appears in the first line of the song: Nu pot să cred că sunt îndrăgostit (“I can’t believe I’m in love”). I have pasted two versions, the first was the original pop/dance release (nice tune, silly video though, see my comments at bottom) and the second is an acoustic version for more mature audiences haha. The song title is Te iubesc căt doi, which means something like “I love you as much as two”.

Now for the more acoustic version, which shows that he can sing really well “live” … and also that this song when pared back is so much more than just a pop ditty. The second half of this clip includes an interview with Andre in Romanian.

YOUR ROMANCE LANGUAGE PRACTICAL HOMEWORK THIS WEEKEND:

  1. Line up a hot date and organise a romantic, candlelit dinner.
  2. During the main course whisper Sunt  îndrăgostit (if you are a woman use the feminine form îndrăgostită). Better not say un pic îndrăgostit because that could be deemed insulting (“What do you mean – you’re just a little bit in love?” Slap!). 
  3. During dessert lick some cream off your spoon then murmur Te iubesc in your most seductive purr. This should sends shivers down your loved one’s spine. If not, it means you are not licking your spoon correctly.

Back to the real world: An English version of the Andre Leonte song was also released. The video to it is the same as the Romanian version, except instead of prancing around in the fields and miming in the latter, he mimes in the former. The video looks like it was shot at one of the more secluded spots on the Black Sea. I don’t think much of Andrei’s bush tucker scavenging skills: if I was camping with him and all he could come up with for breakfast was a few berries and leaves and a slab of honey that looks suspiciously like it had been carved from a packet, I would send him away, saying “I don’t do herbal teas, go hunt the eggs and bacon and sausages please”.

For what it’s worth, here is the English version, Love Another Day.

Finally, forgive me for harping on a bit about Romanian at the expense of the other languages. I guess I am just trying to consolidate what I learned on my summer language course there, or am trying to cling on to it before I forget it all completely. It’s scary how quickly you lose a language all once you are out of its natural environment. I will try to add a bit more linguistic variety in the coming weeks. Till then, cheers

For immediate results, wait

Sala_de_asteptareOne Romanian word that soon became a favourite among my classmates doing a summer language course in Sibu, Transylvania, was “imediat“. Look it up in a Romanian-English dictionary and you will find that it is both an adjective meaning “immediate”, and an adverb meaning “immediately”. In Romanian, as a general rule, each syllable is given equal stress, so when someone says “imediat” it does sound punchy and emphatic, like they mean it. I can imagine a Romanian sergeant-major bellowing out that word to a terrified subordinate, whereas I can’t really picture an English sergeant-major yelling “immediately”, to the same effect. The English word seems a little lame next to its Romanian counterpart.

However, in practice, as we discovered, “imediat” can have many subtle meanings, depending on the situation. Let’s look at its application in Romanian restaurants, for example.

  • Ask for a menu, and when the waiter (chelner) or waitress (chelneriţă) says “imediat“, this means they will bring it in about five minutes.
  • Having finally been given the menu, you study it and make your choice. Then comes the game of spot the chelner or chelneriţă. They seem to have vanished! Finally one appears in the distance. You wave energetically to indicate that you are ready to give your order. The chelner/ chelneriţă nods and says “imediat” and scurries off to another table. This means they will come back to take your order in about 10 minutes.
  • You are in a hurry and need to eat something quickly. You ask the chelner/ chelneriţă how long it will take to bring a salată or salad. The answer is “imediat“. This means it will take about 15 minutes. Yes, that’s right, 15 minutes to shred some lettuce and chuck some tomatoes and cucumber and maybe some cheese on top of it.
  • Now you are in a real hurry. You have wolfed down your salată and want to pay the notă de plată (bill). You play spot the chelneriţă once again. There she is, scurrying to every other table but yours! You wave once, you wave twice, but she is as blind as un liliac (a bat). Eventually you accost her. You’ve gotta go, you need the bill. Yes, yes, she understands, imediat! This means she will rush over with your bill in about eight minutes.

cartoon-chefI might be exaggerating, I might not. In Romania, like everywhere else, in some places you get great service, in others you don’t. Sibiu is one of Romania’s top tourist destinations, in summer it holds many festivals and more often than not it is packed. In the fortnight I was there, there was a huge international folkloric dance festival and a gothic rock festival, and the place was teeming with tourists. Every night the restaurants and cafes were crowded, and the poor staff were rushed off their feet. Well, most of them, not all. I remember waiting in one restaurant (I was the customer, not a staff member on duty!) for what seemed like an awfully long time for the food to arrive. Our table had a good view of the kitchen and we could see the solitary bucătar (cook) or bucătar-şef (chef) in action. We soon understood why things were a little bit slow. Every now and then when the chelneriţă came in with an order, the bucătar would down tools and gave her a good snog. That’s right, he dropped his tongs and gave her tongue! He lowered his splatter guard and splattered her! He couldn’t keep his oven mitts off her! Still, they do say that food made with love is the tastiest, and that all things come to those who wait…  

To wait in Romanian, you should know, since you might be doing a lot of it, is a aştepta, and a aştepta cu nerăbdare means to look forward to, as in I can hardly wait… although literally it means “to wait with impatience” (răbdare is patience, and răbdător is the adjective meaning patient). From this you should guess that the sala de aşteptare sign at the top of the post is the hospital/doctor waiting room.

To hurry or hurry up is a se grăbi, and if you want to say ‘I am in a hurry’ it is Mă grăbesc. (An easy way to remember this, perhaps, is when you are in a hurry you just grab a bite to eat.)

The moral of the story, I think, is never be in a hurry or impatient in Romania, or anywhere else for that matter. Just sit back, relax and enjoy the moment. And the next moment. The many moments. Say to yourself, Nu pot să mă plăngI can’t complain.

Here’s a song for you. It is has got nothing to do with Romance languages, it just came to mind while I was writing this post.

Pa pa (bye bye)

Useful expressions in Romanian, like oral sex tomorrow, perhaps

View of Sibiu

A view of Sibiu (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am currently in Sibiu, a picturesque city in Transylvania, doing a two-week language course and really enjoying it. Because the pupils come from all parts of the world, our teacher and text books explain the finer points of Romanian (and believe me, it needs a lot of explaining) in both English and French, and there are Italian and Spanish people in the class as well, so four of my five Romances languages are getting a good airing. I am trying to chip in with a bit of Portuguese too.

I am supposed to be doing homework daily, but of course one has to explore the city as well in the cool of the evening and then one has to eat … I have just had a “Transylvanian Pork Feast” washed down with a glass of nice Romanian red wine, countered by a “cafea” – coffee – and it has just gone midnight, so I don’t know how much I can do before my attention wanes. We will see. I will jot down some of the things I have found most useful since my arrival in this country on Saturday.

Romanian has some accents that are difficult to locate on a non-Romanian computer, namely s and t with commas underneath them – ş ţ – to give a hissing sound – and little hats sometimes on a and i –  ă â î  – giving them more of an “uh” sound, a bit like a groan which you might utter if you are punched in the stomach. However, often Romanian themselves don’t use these accents (more out of laziness in informal contexts, such as when sending an SMS or an email) and some text books, I note, use an ă where others use an â, so expect a lot of confusion and frustration with these.

I have already covered the verbs to be and to have (a fi şi a avea) here in the post “Being Romanian gets the knees up…” and have given some of the common greetings here in the post “Limber up for the limbă română”, where I seem to have got my accents wrong. Or, more accurately, the text book that I had in front of me then had different accents than the ones I have in front of me now.

Here, in no particular order, are some other useful sayings:

  • Habar n-am = I haven’t a clue/I have no idea. Great for when people ask you for directions, or when your Romanian teacher asks you something.
  • (Eu) aş vrea o bere I would like a beer.
  • Aş vrea încă o bereI would like another beer.
  • Ceai cu laptetea with milk.
  • Scuzaţi-mă / iertaţi-mă, nu vorbesc românăExcuse me / pardon me, I don’t speak Romanian.
  • Vorbesc engleză, vorbiţi engleză? I speak English, do you speak English?
  • O zi bună / o seară bunăHave a nice day / have a good evening.
  • Nu face nimic / nu-i mimic / pentru nimicThat’s OK, it’s nothing, no problem, etc etc.
  • Bine v-am găsit!Nice to see you again. (Literally, so good I found you).

Lastly, something you should be aware of. Mâine means tomorrow, but the combination of vowels makes it very difficult to pronounce (there is no exact equivalent in English, it’s a bit like “muh-weeny”), and Romanians often laugh when they hear a foreigner say it, because foreigners (străini) often mispronounce it as muie, which means oral sex. Once you are told this, you become so nervous and self-conscious about getting the former right, you try too hard to say it correctly, that it inevitably comes out wrong. All I can suggest is if you are talking about tomorrow, do it discreetly in hushed tones.

Pe mâine – see you tomorrow!

What do you see when a shooting star goes by?

Shooting Star?

Shooting Star? (Photo credit: deltaMike)

How often do you look up at the stars? Until recently, I used to work night shifts. I would get home sometimes at one or two o’clock in the morning, when it seemed like everyone else in the quiet, semi-rural suburb that I live in was fast asleep. Most lights were off, our street is not very well lit anyway, and as I walked up the side of the house, which is bathed in darkness, I couldn’t help noticing the night sky. I would stop, look up and be dazzled by what I saw. The stars are always so impressive away from the bright lights of a big city. In some big cities, apparently, there are children who have never seen a star.

The reason why I am blabbing on about stars is because recently I have been listening a lot to the song O Stea (A Star) by Deepcentral … if you are not familiar with them, here is an entry from ro.wikipedia.org, which is the Romanian version of Wikipedia:

Deepcentral (uneori scris DeepCentral sau Deep Central este o formație românească de muzică house și pop, înființată în anul 2009. Cel mai de succes single al lor este piesa „In Love”, ce s-a clasat pe locul 1 în Romanian Top 100.

The computer then asks if I want it to translate, and offers two options “Translate” or “Nope”. It’s funny that “nope” is used instead of a simple “no”, but there we go. I suppose the next generation of English speakers will say “nope” a lot. OK, let’s see the translation.

Deepcentral (sometimes spelled Deepcentral or Deep Central) is a band Romanian music house and pop , founded in 2009 . The most successful single of their song “In Love” , which was ranked No. 1 in Romanian Top 100 .

DeepcentralWell, that is not a very good translation, is it? But you get the gist. So, they are a Romanian band, but their first few singles were all in English. They had four Top 10 hits in Romania from 2009 to 2011, including the above-mentioned number one, In Love, which is here if you want to listen to it (I don’t care much for their English stuff because it sounds so much other English house/pop manufactured material). However, last year they changed direction somewhat with the release the lovely, solemn O Stea, sung in Romanian. Although it only made number 35 on the local chart, it got decent enough airplay. Here is a version from YouTube with the Romanian lyrics on it appearing as they are sung (there is also a translation at bottom of the post, plus a very nice piano cover and an acoustic guitar cover).

And here is the official video if you want to see Deepcentral in action…

For anyone who is interested in languages, here are the Romanian lyrics and an (awkward) English  translation from the website http://www.versuri.ro

Strofa 1:
Caut pe cer o stea, una doar a mea,
O cometă ce să-mi umple lipsa ta,
Numele tău să-i pun,
Să-i urez drum bun aşa cum n-am reuşit ţie să-ţi spun.

Verse 1:
Looking in the sky a star, one of my own,
a comet fills me your absence,
your name to ask,
to wish farewell as I failed to tell you.

Refren:
Te caut printre stele, alunec printre ele,
Aşteptând să te revăd până în zori,
De ce nu mi-ai spus oare că eşti stea căzătoare?
Pe al cui cer vei răsări, pe al meu sunt nori?

Chorus:
I’m looking for the stars, slip through them,
Waiting to see you until dawn
Why do not you tell me you’re really shooting star?
On whose heaven will rise, mine are clouds?

Post-refren:
Du ru ru ru ru ru ru, o stea,
Du ru ru ru ru ru ru, a mea,
Du ru ru ru ru ru ru, o stea,
Du ru ru ru ru ru ru, a mea,
A mea.

Post-chorus:
Du ru ru ru ru ru ru, a star,
Du ru ru ru ru ru ru, mine,
Du ru ru ru ru ru ru, a star,
Du ru ru ru ru ru ru, mine, mine.

Strofa 2:
Norii vin rând pe rând,
Rămân aşteptând cu speranţa că te voi zări cândva,
Fără tine am rămas, nu mai am nici glas,
Merg tăcut printre străini, maï fac un pas.

Verse 2:
Clouds come in turn,
Remain waiting in the hope that someday I will behold,
Without you I was, I have no voice,
I go silent among foreigners, a step.

This song has inspired a number of people to do covers of it on YouTube. Some of these people should have known better. But I rather like this one by a cool young pianist called Andrei Nastase.

This chap Marinel E also makes a decent fist of it on acoustic guitar, his vocals are on a par with the original, and he has even gone to the trouble of putting a big star on the screen of his computer.

Damn, I wish I had musical talent! I always come last in karaoke competitions. 🙂

Finally, here is something a bit more upbeat by Deepcentral, also in Romanian. It’s more in keeping with their usual style, I guess, but I like it too.