Sing: “Mai-ia-hii, mai-ia-huu, mai-ia-ha, mai-ia-haha”. That one. Where are they now?

Moldovan friends Dan Balan (born 1979) and Petru Jelihovsch came together in 1998 to form the duo O-Zone and released their debut album “Dar, Unde Ești…” (“But Where Are You…”). But no sooner had they arrived, Jelihovsch got cold feet and decided it wasn’t for him, so Dan Balan held auditions for his replacement. However, out of the many applicants, he was so impressed with Arsenie Todiraş (born 1983) and Radu Sîrbu (born 1978) that he asked them to join and form a trio.

The group moved to Romania the following year in the hope that this would bring them greater exposure and began writing and recording for their second album, releasing the first single “Numai Tu” (“Only You”) in the late Spring of 2002. Despite the fact that the song failed to chart, the boys released “Number 1” that August and followed this with the single “Despre Tine” (“Only You”) the following month. This time they got a hit as the song charted top ten across Europe and topped the singles chart in Norway and in Romania.

Flushed with this success and releasing no further songs from “Number 1”, O-Zone began writing and recording for a third album straight away, releasing “Dragostea Din Tei” (“Words Of Love”) in July 2003. The song received huge media exposure and MTV plays, so much so that it went on to top the charts in seventeen countries around the world including the US Pop chart and making No.3 in the UK and has, to date, sold over seven million copies worldwide to make it one of the biggest selling singles of the twenty first century!

A second single “De Ce Plâng Chitarele” (“Why Do The Guitar’s Cry?”) followed in May 2004 prior to the release of O-Zone’s third album “DiscO-Zone” the following month. The album proved a sensation, selling over twelve million copies globally and yielding three further singles, which mostly became hits in Japan, who lapped up “DiscO-Zone”. The album has gained a triple Platinum certification there for sales of 600,000 copies (actual sales exceed 800,000 copies!).

But as O-Zone had the world in the palm of their hands, the boys announced they were parting company in January 2005, citing “personal reasons”. Nothing was heard of the three boys until 2017, when they reformed for two concerts. One in Romania and the second in their home country, Moldova. Since then, there has been no further indications of live performances or of the group recording again.

After O-Zone, Radu Sîrbu formed the duo MR.&MRS. with his wife Ana releasing an album in 2008. In 2010 he formed the production team DJ Layla and released a number of club tracks. He wrote and produced “Dynamite” for Russian singer Liza Fox in 2014 which hit the UK singles chart and made the top ten on the US dance chart.

Arsenie Todiraș represented Moldova at the 2006 Eurovision Song Contest with the song “Loca”, which ended twentieth that year. He released his debut album “The 33rd Element” later that year and has released a substantial number of singles since then including the German chart hit “Rumadai” in 2008. His most recent was “Unearthly You” in 2017.

Dan Balan has also gone on to have a successful solo career, but perhaps more so than all of the O-Zone boys, racking up three Russian chart toppers including “Chica Bomb” in 2009 which was also a big hit across Europe as well as in the UK. He has released three solo albums, the most recent of these was “Freedom Part 1” in 2012. He has won a number of awards, particularly for his videos and tours across Europe and Russia to huge audiences. In 2018 he released two duets, “Allegro Ventigo” with Matteo and “Numa Numa 2” with Marley Waters, which topped the Japanese singles chart, his first since “Dragostea Din Tei” reached the top there fourteen years earlier.

O-Zone 2017

Remind yourself of the awesome music and also remember O-Zone at the official fan FACEBOOK page

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Written by Christopher Smith

So perhaps you’ve read an article or two that I’ve written and wondered “just who is this character?”! Well I thought maybe it would be time to introduce myself and what I’m all about. Well it’s all about the music! Having been born in the late 1970’s I was heavily influenced by my parent’s love of ‘popular’ music and rock and roll of the 1950’s and 60’s. My Mother always said she should of married Elvis and my father was, and is still, in love with Sandie Shaw! But while my Dad’s tastes stopped in about 1967, my Mum carried on loving music throughout the 70’s, 80’s and beyond. My first memory was playing on the floor whilst my Mother was ironing one day with the radio on, and hearing ABBA’s “Super Trouper” dancing my nappy off to it! Maybe that’s where it all went wrong…?! Having been subjected to all and sundry in my infant years, I finally found my feet in the mid-1980’s and began ‘partying’ to the likes of Culture Club, Stevie Wonder(!), Elkie Brooks and Bananarama to name but a few! The year 1987 would have a profound effect on my listening tastes and from thereon in my life would be dominated with buying and listening to music. Any number of outstanding songs were released and listened to that year, most notably “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now”, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” and “La Isla Bonita”. That Summer my mind was completely taken over with music and sounds I’d never heard before and I was totally taken in by it all. My father would say “whaaar rubbish you got on naaaaao?” (I’m from Norfolk!) but I was hooked. And it continued so for the rest of the decade and the next. At the beginning of 1988 I ‘met’ my true love and the singer I’ve worshipped more than any other artist or group. You may know of her. She’s from Australia…! Aside from pop music, my tastes are many and varied and continues to grow and expand as I ‘mature’ in age. I’ve always been heavily interested in films and in particular the mechanics of film making and of course film music, so scores and subsequently orchestral music takes up a lot of my tastes and collection. 90’s dance and club tunes also takes up much of the space in my head and I’m surprised my brain has stopped shaking from the years of abuse it took being dragged to nightclubs, often three times a week in my 20’s! I find with each year that passes I regress back to my youth and of course the 1980’s. 80’s music dominates and the lust to see as many 80’s acts and singers play live now is insatiable. I’m still getting into the groove as much as every breath I take, but I’m never gonna give up listening to my heart and pumping up the volume, simply because I LOVE MUSIC…any kind of music!
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