When TVP announced that Donatan and Cleo would sing “My Slowianie” at Eurovision, they were quick to point out that the song is not a joke. Their press release included comment from a noted Polish cultural critic who described it as “a really smart parody”. We’ve now read the lyrics to “Slavic Girls”, the English-language version of the song, and we have to agree. Donatan and Cleo are master satirists, and their song is a clever rebuke to xenophobes who want to keep Poland in a box.

The opening scene of the video shows Donatan—lazy and clearly oversexed—struggling to get out of bed. His antiquated mobile phone and rural farmhouse smack of a man—indeed, a nation—behind the times. The suggestion that Warsaw is stuck in the dark ages continues with the video’s depiction of women, who churn butter while men rate their performance. Milk running down their cheeks and over their thrusting cleavage isn’t just there to titilate. It plays on the supposed role of women in traditional society: to be angels in the kitchen and wantons in the bedroom.

In Britain, where I’m writing this post from, Poles (and Romanians and Bulgarians and any other immigrant from Eastern Europe) are too often portrayed as scroungers who come to live on benefits. It’s a tired storyline born of fear and xenophobia, and frustration over Britain’s own economic shortcomings. In fact, in recent years Poles have actually been fleeing Britain and returning home in search of better opportunities. Poland 2014 is not the Poland of ten years ago. Much of the world already knows this: Businessweek recently described Poland as “Europe’s most dynamic economy” and Poland is among the nation’s leading the economic recovery in Eastern Europe.

That puts a different slant on Donatan and Cleo’s clever video. It’s slick, colourful and well-choreographed. And the song, produced to perfection, gets stuck in your head, regardless of whether you’re into hip-hop or not.

Given all that, the strongest message is an implicit one. You can’t call a nation backwards when it produces something as strong as this.

Donatan feat. Cleo – Slavic Girls lyrics

[Chorus: Cleo] x2
We’re Slavic girls
We know how to use our charming beauty
Now, shake what your mama gave, ya!
Clap your hands to this music
This is our nature
This is our call
This is our hot Slavic blood

[Verse 1]
The special thing we have in our genes
Makes us proud of our natural shapes
On our lips you have everything you need

Cream and butter tastes so good
We prepare for you delicious food
Our beauty’s famous all over the world
You’ve got to see it for yourself and then you will know…

[Chorus: Cleo] x2
We’re Slavic girls
We know how to use our charming beauty
Now, shake what your mama gave, ya!
Clap your hands to this music
This is our nature
This is our call
This is our hot Slavic blood

Just clap your hands with us and move your beat
Clap your hands with us and feel the beat
Clap your hands with us and move your hips
Clap your hands with us and feel the beat

[Verse 2]
Slavic girls are wicked and also smart
Look at this if you search for the one
‘Cause beautiful ladies look as a cake
You better try them before it’s too late
Bring out a bottle to make her feel good
If you don’t believe us we can give you sweet proof
Our beauty will always take your breathe away
We show you bake and you understand

[Chorus: Cleo] x2
We’re Slavic girls
We know how to use our charming beauty
Now, shake what your mama gave, ya!
Clap your hands to this music
This is our nature
This is our call
This is our hot Slavic blood

Just clap your hands with us and move your beat
Clap your hands with us and feel the beat
Clap your hands with us and move your hips
Clap your hands with us and feel the beat

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[…] performance and performativity. This year alone saw such blatant and tired appeals as Poland’s ‘Slavic Girls’, who are ‘proud of their natural shapes’, whose ‘lips have everything you need’, and […]

Játvarður Russellsson
Guest
Játvarður Russellsson

“frustration over Britain’s own economic shortcomings”. I disagree. In my experience of the kind of people who hold these views, there is a result of a simple lack of education or, unfortunately, miseducation from certain sources. Poland, I’m afraid to say, is in as much economic misery as Britain, if not greater.

Ani Meshorer
Guest
You can call this a statement against stereotypes, swamped in irony and sarcasm. I fear though that a lot of men will completely ignore this and just get horny while watching the “natural shapes” of these girls. Also, Polish and Eastern European women in general, are often seen as sluts and easy-to-get-into-your-bed, one of those many stupid stereotypes here in Western Europe. Rejecting such a stereotype is great, but I’m afraid many people will miss the point and that this will actually just re-enforced the wrong stereotypes about Eastern European women. I hope I’m wrong because I do like the… Read more »
manuel
Guest

it´s a total fail of common sense: Girls have to feel shamed because they are beautiful, men have to feel shamed because they like them, and others can be proud changing its sex and being in regret with itself for have born men, and ITS win euroshit!

Lulia
Guest
it supposted to be thing that you look at with a distance and a kind of humor, eurovision shows that some people in Europe don’t have any. It’s about being proud of natural, slavic beauty and playing with culture. We – woman from Poland don’t see it as something sexist, but smt to smile at and be proud that someone have brought an interest in our beautiful traditions and culture in kind of funny, distant way… and really it is not that vulgar in polish, lyrics are changed to fit into music. And message of this song is ‘have fun… Read more »
Adam
Guest
Hey, can’t Poland be just in Europe? Where that need to put PL in the Easter Europe comes from? Poland is not a promised land – that’s clear – and I would not be so sure about PL being some sort of economic paradise – the unemplyment rate – the main factor which pushed 2 mln Poles abroad since 2004 – is still high and reaches approx. 10%, but still i have no idea what drives all these hateful comments on Poland and Poland in Britain. Believe me or not – but we don’t really treat swans as delicacy –… Read more »
tina
Guest

WHENN WILL YOU PEOPLE LEARN THAT POLAND IS A CENTRAL EUROPE?!?!?!?!

PCScorpio
Guest

Sorry to burst your bubble there, but Donatan is a conservatist, not of Catholic but pagan flavor (yes we have some of these in Poland, too). On his album there are lyrics degrading the ‘lefties’ and in his interviews he goes on about Slavic culture which was rooted out by Christianity.
I’m afraid that the song is definitely meant seriously. Either that, or it’s the Poe’s law (it is impossible to create a parody of extremism or fundamentalism that someone won’t mistake for the real thing); but we have every reason to believe that it’s not.

Juby
Guest

This is not hip hop!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Howard Wachtel
Guest

I hate hip hop and this song in particular. Perhaps Britain has an antiquated view of Poland, but that does not mean that most of the countries in this competition hold that view. I think that it is arrogant and not a parody, but evidently the voters disagreed since they voted it through to the final.

bob
Guest

I didn’t like the song. Though claiming to be a parody its nothing of the sort. Its completely sexist and offensive to women. Poland is ashamed.

Mia
Guest

I can’t believe this didn’t win!

I am always right
Guest

Polish lyrics is completely different
Where is my favourite “vodka is better than whisky and gin”?

Beata
Guest

Author clearly foes not understand message of video. Basically it brings Polish culture and how if used to be. In every country in feudal society woman was subordinated. And lastly it just presents hardworking caring slovak woman that indeed is our nature 🙂

Aleksandra
Guest

I’m so very happy that my country choose this hip-hop song. In the end all appreciate Cleo & Donatan. Maybe we winner… ;))

Sorry for mistakes… ;D
Pozdrawiam! ;D

mag
Guest

LOVE THIS SONG! SHOULD WIN

Berry
Guest

You lyrics have errors in them.

“Cream and butter tastes so good
We prepare for you a delicious food”

should be

“Cream and butter taste so good
We prepare for you delicious food”

The s in so makes it seem like they’re saying tastes but they’re not, she’s just singing rather fast…and we all know English isn’t meant to be spoken fast. As for the second line, she puts heavy emphasis on del in “delicious” which makes it seem like she’s saying a delicious.

beccaboo1212
Guest

Warsaw 2015!!!!!!!!!!!

Paige
Guest

My favorite song so far!!

Priam
Guest

I’ m very happy that Poland choice this song!

Artur
Guest

Only Donatan and Cleo knows what is a correct version of the lyrics.
Part of verse 1 might be also understand in that way:
“On our lands you have everything you need
So for the vodka straight [?] no need to mix”
😉

Easpag
Guest

My favourite song so far. I really hope this does well, if it doesn’t ill be so disappointed.

Simon
Guest

One of the most interesting songs this year in the contest so far

Katja
Guest

I love Poland for coming back and coming back with a BANG! It’s bold and brave. Let’s hope they make the final!!

Stacey
Guest

I love this song. I worry it’s too clever for Europe though (like Montenegro) 🙁