It all started with a man in a striped tuxedo vest and bright blue trousers, wielding a saxophone like it was about to blow the roof off the packed-out arena. When the Moldovan musician Sergey Stepanov started playing that iconic hook, the Epic Sax Guy (as this legend later became known) thrusted his way into the Eurovision history books. Since then little Moldova has entered everything from fairies on unicycles to power ballads that actually lift you up. We just can’t get enough of these eccentric Eurovision maniacs.
There’s more to Moldova than the Epic Sax Guy, but he’s a good place to start. YouTube has an even greater selection of their finest moments, which you can enjoy any time you’re in need of a glittery pick-me-up. But in case you’re on a packed train and don’t want to frighten your fellow passengers, we’ve done the hard work for you…
2011: Zdob şi Zdub
Take yourself back to 2011, and the contest has come to Düsseldorf. Zdob şi Zdub, Moldova’s first ever entrants when they joined the contest in 2005, are once again taking centre stage for their country. The men and women in the tall, pointy hats shout the song’s refrain – “SO LUCKY!” – before the guitars pump up and the gaudy background illuminates the stage. Theirs is a performance filled with colourful (albeit slightly threatening) whimsy. To this day, nobody has ever worked out why they were dressed as punk garden gnomes.
2012: Pasha Parfeny
Along came Pasha Parfeny in 2012, with his folk-sounding track and trippy backing dancers. Dressed as a charming, rural musician (or lăutar in Romanian), the song had an unusual obsession with trumpets and spoke of beautiful women coming down on helicopters which “belonged to [their] daddy”. We just couldn’t get enough of his psychedelic costumes and quirky dance routines.
2013: Aliona Moon
So in 2013, one of Pasha’s backing singers, Aliona Moon, would get her chance in the spotlight. Her song ‘O Mie’ was a departure from Moldova’s usual upbeat style, but true to form it was gimmicks galore. She had a long white dress that doubled as a projector, fake fire, and a platform that literally raised Aliona up to towering new heights.
2017: Sunstroke Project
After a bit of a lull, Epic Sax Guy burst back onto the stage in 2017 in glorious form, this time with a better suit and more screen time. Sunstroke Project brought the party with ‘Hey Mamma’, and backing singers dressed as brides (complete with microphone bouquets) danced to the song’s catchy riff. Moldova was announcing to Eurovision fans that it was back with a bang, and voters simply adored their oh-so-Eurovision performance. The country came third that year, their highest ever position.
This year, DoReDos rejuvenated the folksy flavour of the past and combined it with a colour scheme entirely made up of primary colours, some super circusy staging, plus totally cringeworthy acting. Twitter went wild for such shameless cheese. The group became the living incarnation of the Jealous Boyfriend meme, and Moldova once again cracked the top ten.
We’re really excited to see what the small European nation will bring next to the Eurovision stage. You go, Moldova!
What’s your favourite act from Moldova? Which acts made your jaw drop? Let us know down below!
2012 and 2013 are my favourite entries after 2010! Great songs! Of course in 2017 and 2018 Moldova gave us 2 more amazing songs! Keep going Moldova!
What about crazy Boonika Bate Toba? 😀
Moldova brings the fun and craziness indeed! Glad they started doing that again last year and it paid off.
2015 is also a big guilty pleasure of mine, even though it wasn’t so successful.
2007 was the best year for Moldova. Stunning entry.
if it weren’t for moldova eurovision would be more boring every year XD
Moldova have sent consistently good entries (and left some good ones at home in their national finals, too – Sunstroke and Doredos did not even send their best songs!).
O Mie is still my favourite (should have won Eurovision) and Hora Din was amazing, too!
They know how to have fun more than any other country in the game right now. I wish more countries could see that sometimes all that matters is having fun. That’s what Latvia used to be like.
Thank you for the article !
As many comments have pointed out, Moldova also had great entries before 2010. Their debut with Zdob si Zdub was much better than their return in 2011, they were even mentioned in “Love Love Peace Peace”.
“Hora din Moldova” in 2009 was also great, but my favorite from Moldova is the amazing “Fight” by Natalia Barbu ! I really love this song and I feel it is often (and unfairly) forgotten by many ESC fans. I’d love to see Natalia back in Eurovision !
Hora din Moldova is hands-down my favorite of theirs, though Hey Mamma is close.
For me Moldova was most mind blowing in 2005, amazing debut.
I don’t think a country has so efficiently set up every single entry they’ve ever sent the way Moldova did.
Moldova is one of my fave countries in the contest, because they know how to be original, and the songs are usually quite good.
However, Moldova 2018 falls flat to me. Great stage performance, very entertaining…but it’s still a copycat of 2017, trying to replicate de formula. Hopefully they will send something great again next year.
DoReDoS are more like Nelly and Pasha, nothing to do with Suntroke.
Watch some of the previous national finals. Doredos are consistent in the type of music they produce and the dynamic of their staging. Definitely do not think that you can accuse them of copying anyone!
It should be 7 acts because Nelly Ciobanu from Moldova 2009 also did a great job. That song is so beautiful and magical!
hey loca give me your boca
Thank you for the great article, Wiwibloggs! Moldova has always been obsessed with Eurovision, and as conservative as we may be as a nation, Eurovision has always been the place to express our artists’ creativity and love for something different. I love that people have been paying more attention to our acts lately, especially loved the fact that Deban came to Chisinau to our National Final this year to report about everything happening, great meeting him in my homecountry.
Moldova is just such a joy to watch. 2011, 2014, 2015 and 2016 were really bad, but apart from that, Moldova is one of my fave ESC countries and they alway seem to bring creative staging to the contest. DoReDoS’ staging was just so great and fun and Aliona Moons dress blew me away.
Moldova is the cherry on Esc cake. For me the best was Doredos.
Hora Din Moldova and O Mie
Also Fight – 2007, so great!
I think Aliona Moon even deserved to win back in 2013, she was fantastic!
I really love Moldova in the contest, always excited to see what they bring next 🙂
Better than forgettable “Only Teardrops”, that’s for sure.
Moldova is really the party country of the contest! I would have liked to see 2009’s Hora din Moldova here as well.
One of the ESC countries to watch, although can they afford hosting the event? “Hey Mamma” would have been a great winner, Salvador in the mix or not.
Shout-out to their 2007 and 2009 efforts, especially “Hora din Moldova” is worthy of our attention.