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O-Zone was a Moldovanmarker pop music trio that gained global popularity for their song "Dragostea din tei." Its members were Dan Bălan, Radu Sîrbu, and Arsenie "Arsenium" Todiraş.

Music career

Originally a duo of Dan Bălan and Petru Jelihovschi, O-Zone was formed in 1999. They released their first album, Dar, unde eşti..., in 2000, and were a major success in Romaniamarker. However, Jelihovschi had not intended to make music his career, so he split from Bălan. Undaunted, Bălan held open auditions for new band members. At one such audition, he met Arsenie "Arsenium" Todiraş, who eventually won over the initially skeptical Bălan with his version of Elvis Presley's "Love Me Tender." Bălan and Arsenium were going to proceed as a duo until Bălan received a call from Radu Sîrbu, who wanted a chance to audition for the group, despite missing the auditions the first time around. Bălan agreed, and after a successful audition by Sîrbu, O-Zone officially became a trio.

O-Zone is best known for their hit single "Dragostea din tei," a notable summer hit from the album DiscO-Zone. "Dragostea din tei" reached Number One on the singles charts of many European countries in 2003 and 2004, and was Number Three in the United Kingdommarker. Another single called "Despre tine" from the same album had similar success across Europe.

In contrast to their multi-platinum status in Europe, O-Zone never entered the charts in the United Statesmarker. The viral video Numa Numa Dance helped to slightly boost awareness of "Dragostea din tei" in the United States, but while the song received moderate to major airplay, most Americans knew it simply as "Numa Numa" and never knew the name of the original song or the group that performed it. "Dragostea din tei" was sampled in the song "Live Your Life" by T.I. and Rihanna, which topped the Billboard Hot 100 in late 2008.

In January 2005, the trio split, though they reunited briefly to tour Japan, where "Dragostea din tei" was very popular.

Rise to success

O-Zone became an instant hit band in Romania with their melodious upbeat song "Despre tine" ("About you").Their second hit "Dragostea din tei" ("The love from/within the tilia", "tei" meaning "tilia", a tree consecrated in Mihai Eminescu poetry work as the tree of love thanks to its mystical scent, heart-shaped leaves and imposing and protecting branches).

The very catchy chorus made it a hit in Italy where Romanians air-played it and even made the Italians enjoy it thanks to an Italian cover by Haiducii.

The worldwide coverage of the song was made possible by the World Wide Web. Gary Brolsma made a YouTube video acting and lip-syncing to the song, which triggered an internet meme around it, "Numa Numa". Three American students, who made an elaborated video to the song, have even inspired the official O-Zone video. The song was a worldwide meme thanks to the web, and back in Romania this was widely covered with a news show covering the story and trying to explain with a psychologist's help the "catchiness" of the song.

Parodies and covers

"Dragostea din tei" was a big hit not only in Europe, but in Asia, North America, and South America, as well. New versions, including a good number of parody covers, were recorded by various artists worldwide, in over 12 languages.

Alina covered "Dragostea" under the title "When You Leave (Numa Numa)."

"Dragostea din tei" was sampled on T.I. and Rihanna's "Live Your Life", a US number one and worldwide hit in late 2008.

One of the actors from the German TV show "Switch Reloaded" covered the song as Osama bin Laden.




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