With “SHUM”, Go_A have released a massive hit. Within the space of a few weeks, its music video has racked up over a million views. So it’s no surprise that of the three songs in Ukraine’s internal selection, “SHUM” was chosen to represent the country at Eurovision 2021.
However, there is one small obstacle on the song’s road to the contest. “SHUM” borrows heavily from existing Ukrainian folklore. In fact, the song is a re-arrangement of different versions of the traditional Ukrainian folk song “A v nashoho shuma”.
Vikna, the main news programme of broadcaster STB, which itself is one of the broadcasters of the Ukrainian Eurovision selection show Vidbir, has reported that “SHUM” will get a revamp. STB also reports that the group will release a new version in early March alongside a music video.
These revelations came during an exclusive interview with the band, during which STB filmed the group watching reaction videos to “SHUM” — including one from wiwibloggs’ own William and Deban reacting in our YouTube channel. You can watch the report below.
Previously, when speaking to the Kyiv-based magazine Focus, the group told a similar story. Here’s how the magazine reported it.
“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.”
Did “SHUM” violate any of the current Eurovision rules?
Eurovision.tv reported that the song needed reworking to fit the contest’s requirements. Besides the extensive borrowing of folklore, the song is one minute too long in its current form.
The current Eurovision rules do not state anything explicitly about the use of already-existing folklore. They do state, however, that broadcasters must inform the Reference Group if the melody or lyrics were published before 1 September.
In any case, it’s become a point of heated debate among Eurovision fans over the past few weeks as people debate whether “SHUM” is too close to the folk song “A v nashoho shuma” to be considered an original composition.
Regardless of Eurovision rules, Go_A’s use of folklore does not violate any copyright law. The lyrics and melody of “A nashoho shuma” are considered public domain as the authors remain unknown. This means song components can be reworked and re-used as much as people like to without having to pay the respectable creator a share of their revenue.
What are you expecting from Go_A’s “SHUM” revamp? Do you think the song will benefit from a revamp? Let us know in the comments down below!
Some people say that it’s not “original” enough, but who who sets the threshold for originality? In my opinion – only viewer and the copyright law. If the performers are not breaching the law, it’s up to them to choose either classical or folklore melodies (like it happened in Eurovision 1965). I’d actually love it if this was a trend and many countries sent their modern versions of ancient melodies to Eurovision.
Revamp it all you want, but if this gets put in English I will be so upset. The song will be completely ruined.
This track slaps. I started using it in my post-workout running routine. Never ran faster than during the final minute.
The song is horrible anyway. If I could be granted a wish, it would be for Go_A to withdraw and never have to listen to anything white-voice related again
No, you got it all wrong. The horrible one is called “Voila”.
In the video they didn’t say “it will be revamped because of its folklore-inspired melody and lyrics”. They only said “revamp will not be major”. I assume the song will be cut down to 3 minutes and that’s it, nothing else will be changed.
If Ukrainian is similar to Serbo-Croatian, then ”shuma” and ”shum” have different meanings entirely, with the first meaning ”forest” and the second one ”noise”. I totally get them taking from folklore raising questions (which should be raised), but EBU should be more explicit in guidelines. They might brush-up these rules for 2022 onward. Their main concern are lawsuits regarding plagiarism and rightfully so, but cases of public domain takeovers and auto-plagiarism (or should we call them ”replays”, lol) do fall into the gray area. I think that both claims that it should or shouldn’t be okay have some gravitas behind… Read more »
Copyright laws are not their main concern – it wouldn’t be the EBU that gets sued, it would be the performer or the supposed songwriter. That’s not why the rule exists. It’s a contest for original songs. Fairness is the main concern. Just like I can’t enter a poetry contest with an Emily Dickinson poem, or a short story contest with James Joyce’s The Dead. Changing one word is not enough.
Fairness allows for modern retellings though. Just like Shakespeare In Love leant on Romeo and Juliet, or Will Self’s Dorian retold Oscar Wilde’s Picture of Dorian Grey, or Bridget Jones’ Diary with Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.
Go_A haven’t proposed to simply turn up and do a traditional performance of a well-known folk song. I see the argument that they’ve taken a few lines and crafted them into a modern retelling of the folklore.
Those examples are far more loosely based on the originals, though. I don’t know the Will Self book. West Side Story could be another example…or Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. I do see your point, but still disagree in this case.
I agree with you that those examples are more loosely based on the originals — that might also be due to the form of those works, as novels and films. A modern retelling that’s original enough to be distinct from its source material is obviously harder to achieve in a 3-4 minute song.
Do you think the original creator/s of the folk piece would arrive to 2021, however many decades/centuries after they created it, and think that SHUM was distinct or an exact plagiarism of their work? I think it’s probably the former.
I think they would recognize their work, yes. Let’s try a musical example. Rich Girl by Gwen Stefani – would you let that enter?
It’s a really good question, Jonas. I wouldn’t have a problem with Louchie Lou & Michie One’s ‘Rich Girl’ entering, as I would say it’s sufficiently distinct from ‘If I Were A Rich Man’ from Fiddler on the Roof. As for Gwen Stefani’s ‘Rich Girl’, it’s definitely as close to the ‘fine line’ as a song can be in relation to originality/plagiarism. It obviously shares some lyric content with the other two songs but it is largely rewritten, is in a different key, is a different genre of music, and has a distinct sound. It’s not a direct cover in… Read more »
Like you say, there is a fine line – such a fine line, that I’m not sure that anybody could agree just where it is, or how the EBU could even determine or articulate where to look. Rich Girl would be out for me. I’d be afraid it would encourage others to follow, and soon half the songs would be trying to do something similar. Maybe some getting it right, but others going too far.
I don’t disagree with you Jonas—and now you have me imagining ESC 2013 full of Euphoria variations—dancing cows to Moophoria, flower-themed ballad Eufloria, indie relationship song Whophoria, Montaigne-esque identity questioning song Disphoria, it could go on…
That is absolutely correct. Having an original (in however loose sense of the word, considering how many genres and similar styles there are) song should be the focus. However, EBU’s concern does seem to be primarily focused on copyright lawsuits. Yes, it’s not them that would be sued, but having a chosen entrant DQ over plagiarism accusations does throw a bad shadow on everyone involved. I’m just emphasizing how these rules should be more clear on exactly how much, if any, sampled material is allowed and then apply the same standard to everyone.
You are right. This could have been settled a long time ago, considering Beethoven won the contest in 1965.
The thing is that since 2016 Constantin Meladze said that we can’t use wards from folclore becase the partisipant of NF Tonya Matviyenco used folclore and translated them on english, than in 2019 Jamala remembered his words and said the same thing to Yuko, and brcause of him someone wrote that rule in Wikipwdia just because they heard his word but there is no link to this rule where they found this information. If you look on the oficial rules on eurovision.tv there are no rules about words from folclore.
Apparently Ukraine doesn’t understand Eurovision rules.
So excited about the revamp! I’m sure I’ll still love it.
Eurovision rules state that songs should not be longer than 3 minutes, so I think Go_A cutting down their song to exactly 3 minutes is enough. However, the rules also clearly state that songs cannot sample already existing songs. So, in my opinion, it’s best that Go_A revamp “Shum” without ruining their folk-EDM image.
Reading the word “revamp” associated with a song I already love makes me uncomfortable, but I trust Go_A will manage to keep its essence and quality.
We all expected a revamp anyway, as the piece is over 4 minutes long, I just hope it does justice to the integrity of Go_A’s particular take on this folk song and to the folk music itself.
I’m not surprised, better fix it so there is less drama after it.
I think “shum” will benefit from a revamp. I love “shum” however the melody and lyrics can get a bit repetitive and shortening a minute will surely fix that. Learning that the folk song they’ve incorporated is public domain I don’t think they’ll change the melody or lyrics too much. I’m looking forward to the revamped version!!!
Copyright was never the issue.
was I the only one who read too fast and thought of ‘foklore’ by taylor swift lol
so basically they didn’t violate any EBU rules but must to revamp it due of length of song and maybe few lines of lyrics, I’m ok with it, bring it on Ukraine!
This could be interesting!
Knowing Go_A usually creates a mood with their songs,it’s gonna be appealing to see in which direction song is gonna go…
I just hope flute parts are gonna stay as much as possible and that long note as well!
To say I am nervous is an understatement. I didn’t like the Solovey revamp, I hope they don’t spoil Shum. We need to keep the intensity, the energy, the subversiveness and not tone it down for a perceived typical Eurovision audience.
You can do this Go_A! We love you!
Yes, this is definitely more my thing than Voila. So do you see the art in Shum?
Of course I’m an open minded person even if a song is not my style I can see the qualities in it, unlike some who don’t feel a song and who can’t understand that others do.
And yes my dear we have all understood that you hate Voilà more than ever at this moment, it’s ok, but you should focus on something else now.
Did I say that I hate it? Er, no. I just said I didn’t get it. I don’t get the high art concept but I appreciate that she is a good singer and performer. You can double check if you like. No need to be so sensitive dear.
So apparently nothing new, we knew it’s coming, lol
can’t wait for new video and revamped version, believe its gonna be very intense
No surprises. Go_A already knew about it (an obviously will find a way to fix it), so I don’t think it’ll be a huge problem whatsoever. Good luck Go_A!
Very interesting, I look forward to a revamp nether-the-less, I think they could elevate this song so easily and be a stronger competitor in Rotterdam.