Go_A’s song selection saga seemed to end as soon as UA:PBC confirmed that a five-person jury had chosen “SHUM” for Eurovision 2021.

Can “SHUM” go to Eurovision 2021?

However, the tale doesn’t appear to be over just yet. On 4 February, Kyiv-based magazine Focus wrote that Go_A themselves said that “SHUM” couldn’t be their Eurovision entry. The publication writes:

“However, as the musicians explained themselves, “SHUM’ can’t represent Ukraine in Rotterdam, because the work is folklore, and not original. Though it is the title song of their new album SHUM.”

Shortly after the announcement of the results of the internal selection, Ukrainian Eurovision YouTuber Vanya Rassel stated that “SHUM” (and also “Tserkovka”) in fact contained lines from existing Ukrainian folk songs. And, in the case of “SHUM”, it’s more than just a few lines.

Although the official Eurovision Song Contest rules do not state anything explicitly about the use of already existing lyrics, the rules of the internal selection of the Ukrainian broadcaster UA:PBC say that songs are not allowed to take lyrics from already existing material.

Traditional folk songs generally do not contain copyright as the authors are generally unknown or died centuries ago. Nevertheless, Vanya points to the fact that the rules of the internal selection state that all parts of the song, both text and music, have to be original. Point 3.1. of the internal selection rules reads:

“[E]ach of the Songs is original (created without the use of other works), (…) not available to the public, for example (but not limited to) on online video platforms, social networks or semi-open / public databases data, and / or not performed publicly, in whole or in part (including lyrics separately from music or vice versa), for example (but not limited to) during concerts (…).”

Eurovision.tv writes that “an updated version of the song that meets the requirements of the competition will be presented in early March, so stay tuned!”. Could this mean that they are already looking into the lyrics?

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Go_A (@go_a_band)

How do Go_A’s “SHUM” lyrics resemble Ukrainian folk songs?

After some research, it becomes clear that bar a few words, most of the lyrics of “SHUM” have been taken from a Ukrainian folk song that has many different names and versions throughout the country. Most academics and folklorists have either titled the song “A v nashoho shuma” (А в нашого шума) to its starting lyrics or just simply “Shum” (Шум).

We will dissect Go_A’s “SHUM” and compare to them to known versions of the song that we could find to see how far “SHUM” resembles existing folk songs.

“A v nashoho shuma” (version known in Rozumivka)

There is a known version of the song from the Ukrainian village of Rozumivka called “A v nashoho shuma” that has the lyrics:

“А в нашого Шума зеленая шуба,
Дівки гуляли, шубу порвали,
Сію-вію, сію-вію конопелечки,
Сію-вію, сію-вію невеличенькі”

Go_A’s “SHUM” starts with strikingly similar lyrics:

“А в нашого Шума зеленая шуба
Дівки гуляли, шубу порвали
Сію-вію, сію-вію конопелечки
Сію-вію, сію-вію зеленесеньки”

You don’t have to be a Ukrainian-speaker to see that the only difference between the two versions is the last word, which has been replaced with “зеленесеньки”.

“Гей нумо-нумо заплетемо Шума” (version known in Central Ukraine)

The next two lines in the song, “Гей нумо-нумо заплетемо Шума/ Шума заплетемо, гуляти підемо”, can also be found in folklore and have been noted down by several academics to be part of existing folk songs that in some cases also contain the lines such as “А в нашого Шума зеленая шуба”.

In 2013, Inna Tereshenko, a teacher of choreography and artistic culture at the Pavlo Tychyna Uman State Pedagogical University, wrote an academic article titled “Народна весняна гра «Шум»: часопросторовий вимір”.

In this article, Tereshenko discussed the different versions of songs with regards to a Spring ritual in Ukraine. Here, she quotes a version of the song as known by three elderly women in the village of Vishponil that contains the following lyrics:

“Ой, нумо, нумо, заплітати Шума
Шума заплетемо, гуляти підемо”

Meanwhile, Go_A’s lyrics go:

“Гей нумо-нумо заплетемо Шума
Шума заплетемо, гуляти підемо”

“Гей заплетися, Шуме, заплетися” (version documented in Kyiv)

The song then mostly consists of the set of the six previous lines we have now discussed repeated in different orders. The only two other lines that remain in the song are: “Гей заплетися, Шуме, заплетися/ Зеленим барвінком та й застелися”.

Although there seems to be no version of the song that has these exact lyrics, a document held by the City Library of Kyiv shows a version of the folk song that contains these lines:

“Розплетися, шуме, Розплетися,
Хрещатий барвiнку, Розстелися.”

While Go_A’s lines go:

“Гей заплетися, Шуме,заплетися
Зеленим барвінком та й застелися”

Although these lines seem quite different from the original to a non-speaker of the Ukrainian language, they have the same meaning. The lines by Go_A are a more standard Ukrainian version of the lines. The only real difference between the lines is the exchange for the word “Хрещатий” for “Зеленим”.

Will “SHUM” be disqualified?

In the past, songwriters had to change their song lyrics as they contained references to brands and already existing songs.

On the popular lyrics site pisni.org.ua, the lyrics of the song are noted to be written by “народнi” (narodni) and Kateryna Pavlenko, Go_A’s frontwoman. “Narodni” tells here that the song lyrics were taken from Ukrainian folklore.

To Focus, Kateryna Pavlenko stated that the group had many songs prepared for an album:

“We will unequivocally sing in Ukrainian. We have received proposals from production companies, but their most important condition was: to sing in English. And we principally wanted to sing in our native language. Therefore, we didn’t sign a contract with any of these record companies. And we have already finished a few songs for the album “SHUM”. There, there will a whole conceptual story.”

What do you think about this? Should “SHUM” be allowed to go to Eurovision? Let us known in the comments below!

Read all our Ukraine Eurovision 2021 news here.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
82 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Hellooooo
Hellooooo
9 months ago

Right now, they can’t participate, the song is almost 4 mins!!

Loin dici
9 months ago
Reply to  Hellooooo

They’ll revamp.

Serhii
Serhii
9 months ago

It’s general question: is it ok to expell all folk-based groups from ESC because the essence of their work is to make elements of ancient folklore sound modernly. Answer “Yes” exludes extremely interesting branch of music from ESC. For me it is deep mistake. The reason for originality of lyrics was to exlude existing hits of concrete artist, but not to stop artist to use elements of folklore wich by definition had no authors.

Friedenau
Friedenau
9 months ago

They can rework the “conflictive” parts and they should be good. Anyway, they need to cut down the official version to 3 minutes, so there’s still work to do. The good thing is, they can now work on an already amazing song to come up with a total masterpiece (and possible Eurovision winner). I’m super excited about Ukraine this year!

Last edited 9 months ago by Friedenau
Oleh
Oleh
10 months ago

This song wasn’t written for Eurovision, Go_A wrote this song just like a song for album. But when they released it many people asked them to sand SHUM for Eurovision. EBU wrote that Eurovision version of this song will be released in March. I guess, they not only will cut it for 3 minutes but also change some lyrics if it’s need. Keep calm and listen this masterpiece)

Anders N. Sandvik
Anders N. Sandvik
10 months ago

Hey.

Well, you see this song is from what I have seen on Tidal is copyrighted in 2021 by ROCKSOULANA MUSIC and released on 3th of July 2019.

So I’m (in my opinion and meaning) unsure if this song can participate in Eurovision Song Contest 2021.

BUT I hope they can anyway find a good solution to this situation as we see.

With sincerely from Anders from Norway.

Stephanie
Stephanie
10 months ago

This is not the kind of music I normally listen to. Solovay was great, at least in my opinion, but this…. is even better!!! Well done Ukraine, really… WOW!!!

Richard
Richard
10 months ago

Love this so much and the review video is delicious, go Ukraine!

Loin dici
10 months ago

Go_A probably haven’t though of sending SHUM and know there are parts of it written from folklore, which made me believe the intervention that allows SHUM to be selected mainly comes from PBC. I believe PBC will defend the entry amidst all allegations, and since Go_A have agreed to release a version appropriate for Eurovision, I don’t think we should blow this out of proportion.

Purple Mask
Purple Mask
10 months ago

Okay, so it is potentially quite silly if the composer-winner of the Eurovision Song Contest in 2021 turns out to be someone from centuries ago who is long dead. Just imagine the world’s press having fun with that. However, it is quite an easy fix, potentially, to either write new lyrics or pull a “Belgium 2003” and just invent your own ancient language that means whatever you want it to mean. 😀

Samuel
Samuel
10 months ago

I am certain we’ve had songs at Eurovision that have sampled parts of folk songs or taken lyrics from them before. I can’t recall a specific entry off the top of my head but I am sure this isn’t a new thing. Can anyone help me remember such entries or am I just making it up? xD

Bella
Bella
10 months ago

They can change the lyrics if they want to, like most people I don’t speak Ukrainian so I don’t understand them anyway… Still love the current version of the song and will keep listening to it, whatever goes to Eurovision.

Music
Music
10 months ago

They pretty much need to write a whole new song now

Jonas
Jonas
10 months ago

People like this song, and are not familiar with the original. That’s the reason nobody cares. If James Newman enters with a song called Amazing Grace, very like the one that everybody knows, I think people would feel differently.

Andrii
Andrii
10 months ago

Frankly, I don’t see a problem with all these versions. They all differ in lyrics and music. And, of course, you can easily recognize and classify them into “songs about Shum”. But this is like a very specific sub-jenre of folk songs. (Similar to how sea shanties can be very similar, but still different, for example. Or the Russian chastushka songs, which can be sung to the same music, varying only in lyrics.)

Moreover, these “songs about Shum” are not even widely known in Ukraine. So, personally, I find them all interesting.

Thorula
Thorula
10 months ago

BBC having no problem with “Freaks” in their national final… Pachelbel is most known than ukrainian folk songs I think but non one thought “What are we going to do if they win?”. I mean, these guys are aware of the rules…

Jimmy Smit
Jimmy Smit
10 months ago
Reply to  Thorula

Urgh, ‘Freaks’. It was offensive drivel, not worth bringing up here again.

Bobby Crush
Bobby Crush
10 months ago
Reply to  Thorula

There’s a lot more the BBC should’ve been worried about by selecting ‘Freaks’ than just its similarities to Pachelbel lol

David
David
10 months ago

The rule on Eurovision songs being original is more to avoid countries having an unfair advantage by sending songs that have already been international hits. Like the UK sending a cover of Adele’s Hello. No one outside of Ukraine will know the folk song Shum is based on, so the fact that Shum isn’t ‘original’ doesn’t give Ukraine any advantage in the competition.

Raussen
Raussen
10 months ago

I told you the same thing and you disliked me, now you see that it is true, stupid people

Alfonso Moreno Domínguez
Alfonso Moreno Domínguez
10 months ago

Would anybody from outside of Ukraine notice the changes?

Sabrina
Sabrina
10 months ago

The rule is there to avoid someone cheating by using existent material and pretending it’s original content. The situation here is more complex. As far as I know, Go_A never tried to hide what inspired them. On the contrary, they even kept the title to let their intentions clear. There’s also an obvious effort to completely reshape it as a modern piece of music. I would even argue that there’s more work here than in many original songs that recycle trends and clichés. Just in case, I would change the lyrics. But I personally don’t see a big deal.

Justin
Justin
10 months ago
Reply to  Sabrina

Yeah, I understand, the matter is that if it can be considered as a “revamp” (even if the work from Go_A is much more complex than a simple revamp), then there is legitimaly a debate over that, because it’s not totally an original song.

No matter what will be the decision from either the EBU or the broadcaster, it will be a good decision because both sides are right 🙂

Sabrina
Sabrina
10 months ago
Reply to  Justin

The fact both sides have a point makes me believe EBU won’t feel comfortable on judging about it and will trust whatever the Ukrainian broadcaster decides. After all, it’s probably hard to affirm if Go_A’s song is different enough from the original folk one without being a folklorist with good knowledge about the region’s culture.

Colin
Colin
10 months ago
Reply to  Sabrina

I agree. If No me avete fato niente, 1944 and Replay were able to compete, each with their duplicate issue, I see no problems why Shum wouldn’t be as well. I mean, we can debate over whether ESC songs should have completely original (or at least, not directly borrowed) content, but either it is a rule or it’s not. And judging by the previous songs able to compete, unless it’s an unauthorized plagiarism, it’s not. I mean, if Go_A literally took a folk song, revamped it and made it into this, it might be an issue, but as I see… Read more »

Sabrina
Sabrina
10 months ago
Reply to  Colin

I agree. I just don’t know if EBU gets more clear about what they mean by “created without the use of other works”. I looked for the rules on Eurovision’s website and couldn’t found any specifics about it. They should probably elaborate a little more on it. Though some cases are very peculiar, like the “Non mi aveto fatto niente” one.

Jonas
Jonas
10 months ago
Reply to  Colin

This article says that Go_A themselves say that this song can not represent Ukraine, because it is not original. I think they know better than anyone else.

Anita
Anita
10 months ago
Reply to  Sabrina

It would just be a crime to the song to change it – I love it, that they used the traditional lyrics.

Last edited 10 months ago by Anita
Sabrina
Sabrina
10 months ago
Reply to  Anita

Well, it would be better to change the lyrics (most of us would barely notice the difference) than the melody. I wouldn’t mind if they haven’t changed either though. Let’s see if EBU has a problem with it.

Jonas
Jonas
10 months ago
Reply to  Sabrina

What do you think the songwriting credits should say?

Sabrina
Sabrina
10 months ago
Reply to  Jonas

To answer your question, I’ve searched for how people deal with the credits of “The House of Rising Sun”, which was the first traditional folk song with multiple recordings that crossed my mind. Joan Baez’s version is credited as “Traditional, arr. Joan Baez”. Bob Dylan’s does the same: “Traditional arranged by Dave Van Ronk”. Dolly Parton’s? Same pattern: “traditional; arranged by Dolly Parton and Mike Post”. That’s how I would do it then, recognizing it has an origin without a known author, but adding credits to those who arranged and included different elements. About your example on “Amazing Grace” from… Read more »

Jonas
Jonas
10 months ago
Reply to  Sabrina

That is a very reasonable answer, one that I agree with. To me, it shows exactly why this song is unsuitable. People seem to forget that this is a song contest – a songwriting contest for songwriters. If this won, we wouldn’t even know who to give the trophy to.

Ashton Schier
Ashton Schier
10 months ago
Reply to  Jonas

A song isn’t made just by songwriters. It’s a song contest, not a songwriting contest. All parts of the song should be rewarded: singer, songwriter, producer/composer, lyricist, and so on.?

Jonas
Jonas
10 months ago
Reply to  Ashton Schier

No.

Sabrina
Sabrina
10 months ago
Reply to  Jonas

I actually agree with both of you. When Eurovision was born, it was supposed to be a song contest, but I guess by now this train already left the station, for reasons that can be considered good (now one can do much more on the stage) and bad (one can use visual aids to hide songs’ and even performers’ weaknesses). Nowadays, it’s a competition between songs, but with presentation counting a lot. Maybe excessively. To the point that sometimes great/creative songs are left behind bad/formulaic songs with great staging. And the worst thing is that the juries do that all… Read more »

Jonas
Jonas
10 months ago
Reply to  Sabrina

Amazing Grace is from the 1700s, maybe even older than Shum. We know who wrote the words, but we’re not sure where the music came from. I don’t really see the difference, other than fame.

Sabrina
Sabrina
10 months ago
Reply to  Jonas

But fame is already a big difference. One thing is to use a famous song to appeal to viewers that already know and like it, other is presenting a not very known (in some cases, folk songs are even threatened of disappearing if they aren’t getting to newer generations, though I obviously can’t say if this is the case) song to a global audience. Just to be clear, I’m not saying you’re wrong about this issue. I just think we aren’t in a “rules were made to be followed” situation, but in a very specific grey area. I bet Law… Read more »

Leif Christensen
Leif Christensen
10 months ago
Reply to  Sabrina

You could also argue that the folk parts of the song also have not been “widely released”, similar to songs having been performed at concerts or leaked online.

I would just change the lyrics though, so there’s no ground for allegations. Seems and easy fix.

Sabrina
Sabrina
9 months ago

I would probably do that too. Some changes on the lyrics without taking away the meaning of the original. But I guess we’ll have to wait until March to find out what they’ll decide.

Kateryna
9 months ago
Reply to  Jonas

It won’t change anything but all that “shum-related story” is definitely much older than 1700s. It’s wery archaic pagan traditions. Like, we were turned to Christianity in 988, so it should be earlier than the end of tenth century.
Considering the fact that nobody except Ukrainians are able to understand the lyrics, and the music is different I don’t really see why this is even a problem.

Whisker
Whisker
10 months ago

I’m smelling something uncomfortable in the state of Ukraine. Is this a publicity stunt?

James
James
10 months ago

This is a non-issue if the original single, that is 4-minutes long, is due to have some major trimming for March. I think it’s very likely that the band already has something ready in the event “Shum” was selected or else UA:PBC wouldn’t have allowed them to have it put into consideration in the first place.

Max
Max
10 months ago

First of all, thank you David for the amount of research that you put on this article, absolutely wonderful.

Secondly, I personally LOVE how Go_A use traditional Ukrainian lyrics on their songs, that’s the essence of eurovision, bringing old traditional sounds and modernice them. Brilliant!

BadWoolfGirl
BadWoolfGirl
10 months ago

I thought it would only need to be shorter. The lyrics might have to be changed as well.

Polegend Godgarina
10 months ago

they know what they’re doing lol. this is a non-problem

mhmm
mhmm
10 months ago

Leave it to Wiwibloggs that is sponsored by Kirkorov (who is connected to Kremlin and Putin) to constantly spread trash on Ukraine… Zzzz

Dent
Dent
10 months ago
Reply to  mhmm

Where on earth do you get this information?

T.J.
T.J.
10 months ago
Reply to  Dent

From nowhere. Nowadays, something is true for some people when it feels true for them. #post-factual

Robyn Gallagher
Admin
10 months ago
Reply to  mhmm

It probably goes without saying that this sponsorship claim is fake news. Wiwibloggers are free to write posts about any country. 🙂

waitaminuteholdon
waitaminuteholdon
10 months ago

We didn’t do it Joe, we didn’t.

Last edited 10 months ago by waitaminuteholdon
Una
Una
10 months ago

I would think the artists, jury and broadcaster know what they’re doing. Not the first time doing it. And Ukraine have won twice. I’ll wait for the developments.

On the side, kudos to the author of this article. To make this research and analysis and even quote a source with an article from 201 in about 24 hours since the song was confirmed publicly. Impressive!!

Jonas
Jonas
10 months ago
Reply to  Una

I agree. The problem is more than just the lyrics, though.

Jonas
Jonas
10 months ago

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with what the band have done. It’s a great song. Just not right for Rotterdam.

Sav001
Sav001
10 months ago
Reply to  Jonas

It is perfect for Rotterdam, what do you mean? The majority of fans love it.

Jonas
Jonas
10 months ago
Reply to  Sav001

Read the article.

Srdjan Savic
9 months ago
Reply to  Jonas

I did and for me it’s a non issue as no copyright rules have been breached.

Last edited 9 months ago by Srdjan Savic
Dent
Dent
10 months ago

It’s a bit more complicated than just a few lines. The chorus seems to be a complete cover of an old folk song. Just listen to this recording from 2016 https://youtu.be/x_H_Uzq2RVk

phone but on laptop
phone but on laptop
10 months ago
Reply to  Dent

But as the article says, Eurovision rules have nothing against using old folk songs. Folk songs do not have any copyright, so there should not be an issue with EBU. It is up to Ukrainian broadcaster

Rasmus Bording Irlind
Rasmus Bording Irlind
10 months ago

maybe this is why go_a intially said that shum wouldn’t be their entry for eurovision

Last edited 10 months ago by Rasmus Bording Irlind
Kosey
Kosey
10 months ago

Seems like a bit of an overreaction – you could say virtually every song written nowadays takes elements from other songs. If they need to change the lyrics and even the melody, so be it, the raw energy and vibe of the song still remains the same. I don’t speak Ukrainian so it makes no difference to me – I just want it to feel subversive and I’m sure they could retain that with some small tweaks, if required.

Dent
Dent
10 months ago
Reply to  Kosey

SHUM however is more than just a few elements. It’s a complete cover https://youtu.be/x_H_Uzq2RVk

Jonas
Jonas
10 months ago
Reply to  Kosey

You are wrong – it’s the same song, not original. As the article says, even Go_A disagree with you.

Kosey
Kosey
10 months ago
Reply to  Jonas

It’s really not the same song – the last time I checked folk songs don’t have an early 90s inspired techno beat. For me, it follows the trend of other early 90s tracks like “Charly”, “Trip to Trumpton” and “Sesame’s Treat”. I don’t see the problem but if it has broken some boring rule somewhere, I’m sure they could easily fix it.

Jonas
Jonas
10 months ago
Reply to  Kosey

You’re confusing production with songwriting. It’s the same song.

Kosey
Kosey
10 months ago
Reply to  Jonas

Yes, I remember those classic folk songs with their several seconds of electronic guitar in the middle of them – give me a break, there are a finite amount of notes in the world, they’ve all been done in different orders before. We’re not going to agree on this, which is fine. I just think it is a big overreaction – Go_A’s song bears very little resemblance in character or ethos to the traditional folk songs on which it is based.

Jonas
Jonas
10 months ago
Reply to  Kosey

The band would be very disappointed to hear you say that, because that’s the exact opposite of what they were trying to achieve.

Una
Una
10 months ago
Reply to  Kosey

I am loving the use of the word “subversive”! That’s the feeling I had when I first listened to the song but could not find a word for it.

Chessguy99
10 months ago

They have almost two months to sort this out. Best they submit it right now to the Reference Group for a ruling. I’m sure the Russian delegation will ask that the song be disqualified, just because it’s Ukraine.

Ant
Ant
10 months ago

Ofc it’ll be better to rework the lyrics to avoid controversy altogether. However, the idea of the rules in place is to a. protect intellectual property & b. to ensure fair competition (you can’t use something that has been widely known for a long time). I don’t think that using a folk motif that is only known (not that widely even) in your own country really offends these principles

Jonas
Jonas
10 months ago
Reply to  Ant

It gave them the advantage of not having to write a song.

phone but on laptop
phone but on laptop
10 months ago
Reply to  Jonas

SHUM is more original and creative than a lot of other songs being written from scratch but following the same template

Ana
Ana
10 months ago
Reply to  Jonas

You can say that about all the countries who buy songs from those Swedish producers, that sound like they been written by an algorythm. Also, the work been done with this folk song to turn it into this techno track is much more than an avarage Swedish “hit maker” puts into his another “Fuego”.

Justin
Justin
10 months ago

I’m quite puzzled after reading this article ^^’ I haven’t heard to Shum because I decided to wait until May for hearing about all the songs (for the first time hihi). But in 2018, Italy sent “Non Mi Avete Fatto Niente”, with the chorus being replicated from another song edited in 2016 for newscomers’ edition of San Remo. Eurovision is about music and discovering other cultures, so taking inspiration and including quotes or little lyrics is not important for me and may act like a mirror that reflects Ukraine folklore. If Go_A copied actually some parts of another known and… Read more »

puma
puma
10 months ago
Reply to  Justin

I don’t have problem with text but even melody is the same.

Justin
Justin
10 months ago
Reply to  puma

Ok thanks for the information 😀

phone but on laptop
phone but on laptop
10 months ago
Reply to  puma

melody of a lot of Ukrainian folk songs is very similar

Frisian esc
Frisian esc
10 months ago

Didn’t jamala’s 1944 have the same problem with it’s chorus? I thought it was took from some already existing poem/song about the tatar deportations and that was allowed to stay the same.

Ant
Ant
10 months ago
Reply to  Frisian esc

Yes, she had two lines from an existing Crimean song in changed order, the melody was completely different though

Una
Una
10 months ago
Reply to  Frisian esc

I had no idea about that. But considering what Jamala has said about the song, I guess the lyricist used those words to express someone else’s feelings as in a quotation. A quotation in a song if that makes sense.

puma
puma
10 months ago
Reply to  Jose

Their entry is a blatant copy of other song, no way that EBU will allow it.

Btw, here is another song. God knows how many versions we can find.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SPmqPKBwPFM&feature=emb_title

Jose
Jose
10 months ago
Reply to  puma

yes, the first one is even more similar. Not original indeed.