Poland's song attracts extreme emotions, copycats

Tue Jun 5, 2012 9:26am EDT
 
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WARSAW (Reuters) - Kitschy but catchy, Poland's official Euro 2012 song performed by a group of female folk singers has attracted dozens of copycats and, without copyright protection, has even been used to advertise liver medicine.

Jarzebiny, a previously unknown group of eight women sporting traditional garb from a village in southern Poland, beat some of the country's most popular artists with "Koko Euro Spoko" (Coco Euro OK), a song based on a traditional Polish folk melody.

The tune has evoked extreme emotions among Poles, with its fans saying it is a fun way of celebrating the country's agrarian culture ahead of the high profile soccer championship being co-hosted by Poland and Ukraine which kicks off on Friday.

Yet everyone around Poland seems to be humming the song, which has also spawned remixes on the Internet that include versions with Australian singer Gotye and the anthem from the last World Cup, Shakira's equally catchy "Waka Waka".

One Polish drug maker borrowed "Koko Euro Spoko" in one of its commercials for liver medicine, taking advantage of the fact that the traditional melody, unlike the lyrics, is not protected by local law.

But the Jarzebiny singers, whose ages range from 33 to 82, appear unfazed by their newly won fame, although recently they complained that they will not be performing at Friday's Euro 2012 opening ceremony at the National stadium in Warsaw.

"The band is just happy that the Euro Championship gave it an opportunity to promote traditional culture and if there are additional benefits from that even better," said Katarzyna Enemulo, Jarzebiny's manager.

(Reporting by Dagmara Leszkowicz; Editing by Ken Ferris)