Russian Language Blog

Swedish/Russian Eurovision Skit: “Tingaling” Posted by on May 17, 2009 in Culture, language, News, Soviet Union

This is funny because it is a true image of what most Swedes consider Russia to be like. But what are they singing? Here’s the lyrics in English, Russian and even with a little bit Swedish:

Погриманский на здоровье [‘Pogrimanski’ (?) to your health]
Глобоский гротески [‘Globoski groteski’ (?)]
Наступающим! [with the coming!]

(Tingaling, tingaling)

(Tingaling, tingaling)
Tingeling, tingeling, come on baby shake that thing
(DJ Trexx in the house, pump the bass, hey!)
Tingeling, tingeling, let me see your booty swing
(Now, come on party people, let me see you shake!)
Tingeling, tingeling, from Bombay we shake that thing
(Come on baby, pump that bass, DJ Trexx is in your face)
Tingeling, tingeling, let me see your booty swing
(Are you bass-looking party animals, lets do it!)

Tingaling, tingaling
Скрапиo баска я гин [‘Skrapio baska ja gin’ (?)]
На здороьве, Ленин! [To your health, Lenin!]
Наступающим! [With the coming!]
Tingaling, tingaling
До свиданья, Путин! [Goodbye, Putin!]
На здоровье глобоский [To your health, ‘globoski’ (?)]
Наступающим [With the coming!]
Hey, hey, hey!

Tingeling, tingeling, come on baby shake that thing
From the Globen to Beijing, let me see your booty swing
Tingaling, tingaling, Booty Russia rock it rip
But on the dancefloor who is king?
DJ Trexx is tingaling
Jag har en önskan, en önska jag har [I have a wish, a wish I have]
(Come on baby, pump that bass, DJ Trexx is in your face!)
Jag har en fråga, som kräver ett svar! [I have a question, that demands an answer!]

Tingaling, tingaling
Скрапиo баска я гин [‘Skrapio baska ja gin’ (?)]
На здороьве, Ленин! [To your health, Lenin!]
Наступающим! [With the coming!]
Tingaling, tingaling
До свиданья, Путин! [Goodbye, Putin!]
На здоровье глобоский [To your health, ‘globoski’ (?)]
Наступающим! [With the coming!]
Dancing Bear!

(Hey, hey, hey

Союз нерушимый [Unbreakable union]
республик свободных [of free republics]
сплотила навеки [has welded to forever stand]
великая Русь! [the great Rus’!]

Tingaling, tingaling
Скрапио баска я гин [‘Skrapio baska ja gin’ (?)]
На здороье, Ленин! [To your health, Lenin!]
Наступающим! [With the coming!]
Tingaling, tingaling
До свиданья, Путин! [Goodbye, Putin!]
На здоровье глобоский [To your health, ‘globoski’ (?)]�
Наступающим! [With the coming!]

Tingaling, tingaling
Don’t I need anything
My darling, I beg you to stop you that thing
Tingaling, tingaling
Was it only a fling?
Or you want a ring on your fingaling?
(One more time for the Motherland!)

Tingaling, tingaling
Скрапиo баска я гин [‘Skrapio baska ja gin’ (?)]�
На здоровье, Сталин! [To your health, Stalin!]
Наступающим! [With the coming!]
Tingaling, tingaling
До свиданья, Путин! [Goodbye, Putin!]
На здоровье глобоский [To your health, ‘globoski’ (?)]
Наступающим! [With the coming!]
На здоровье глобоский [To your health, ‘globoski’ (?)]
Наступающим! [With the coming!]
Tingeling (Hey!)

As a practising and almost professional филолог [philologist] I must admit that these lyrics are very difficult to interpret in a correct fashion. At first it seems to be nothing but nonsense, but then you look closer and study the semiotic nature of the song, and think to yourself: Может быть, всё-таки песенка носит в себе глубокий смысл? [Maybe, the song after all carries in itself a deep meaning?] Could the names of Lenin, Putin and Stalin be viewed as a hidden political message? (i.e. the author, or “лирический герой” [lyrical hero] as we philologists like to say as to prevent any interpretation to turn out to be a direct interpretation of the author as a private individual, is a communist?) Or is it solely Russian names that most Swedes know and that they just happen to rhyme with the word ‘tingaling’? The word глобоский [‘globoski’] is most likely a referance to Globen, the public arena in Stockholm where the Swedish Eurovision Song Contest’s finale took place. На здоровье has the obvious explanation of being a phrase that anyone – it doesn’t matter if they heard it in Russia, in a movie or from a Russian – knows to be connected with vodka, and vodka is the national drink in Russia. (Let’s ignore the reality of сок [juice] being a more popular, not to say the least more common on a daily basis, beverage in Russia today.] But what on Earth does Скрапиo баска я гин [‘Skrapio baska ja gin’ (?)] mean? Anybody out there with a guess? Here the philologist must surrender in front of the author and confess that she does not comprehend at all. Could it be that it sounds almost like the word Владивосток [Vladivostok] and the гин rhymes with ‘tingaling’ and is perhaps a reference to yet another kind of alcohol: gin? Tingaling is obviously a re-make pronouncation of the Swedish name Tingeling for Tinker Bell, but what does that mean? That the song is not political at all, that the ‘lyrical hero’ does not intend at all to say ‘goodbye’ to Putin, but purely wants to hide an innocent tribute to Peter Pan? I think that a further analysis of the song would clear up that in reality it is a song about love, and perhaps the object of love is a Russian girl, and that the ‘lyrical hero’ intends to travel to Russia – therefore the constant “наступающим” – but realizes that his knowledge of Russian and Russia is so small that it might never happen. Closer to the end we are also informed that the ‘lyrical hero’ wonders if it is only a ‘fling’ or if the girl wants ‘a ring on her fingaling’, which is best comprehended when you contemplate the words sung in Swedish (with a slight Russian accent) by a woman saying that she has a ‘question’ that demands ‘an answer’. Now the philologist has revealed the true meaning behind the so-called ‘nonsense’: it is a song about a Swedish man who recieved a marriage proposal from a Russian girl but does not know what to answer as all he knows in Russian is how to make a toast. The song is a tragic reflection of love across borders, love between cultures, and the ‘lyrical hero’ is aware that he is not fit for this Russian woman, as he even hasn’t updated his knowledge on her country since the perestroika: that Medvedev is president, not Putin, and that the Motherland’s national anthem starts with the words: “Россия — священная наша держава, Россия — любимая наша страна.” Clearly, this song was written in agony, it is a clear and distinct крик души [scream of the soul] that may never find a solution.

And whoever said “филология – не настоящая наука” [philology is not a real science]?! Without philology this song would not have been taken seriously, and we would never have uncovered its real, deep meaning.

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  1. john jaklich:

    this link is some guy talking about the song…did you see this one?
    Maybe the tingaling is the ringing of the telephone?
    The conversation being interwoven among his own thoughts, his limited communication skills and reminiscing on their past experiences.

    Having been following the pop charts for 55 years, I can assure you that singers often make up new phrases and catch-words;
    it is easy to sing the songs incorrectly for years before discovering the real word they said;
    often times the lyrics posted are not even correct.
    Singers even change lyrics from concert to concert.
    It is a strange culture, indeed.
    I have been looking for lyrics for my favorite songs and often find partial interpretations . The process is similar to Bible study…line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little there a little…sometimes years to get it clear…
    fun post

  2. serenity:

    I love the way you actually analysed the song! When I saw it on TV it totally caught my attention and now I cant stop thinking about ut. Most swedes (as myself) consider Russia (no offence) to be a country where human rights have been somewhat.. depressed. The russian ambassador in Stockholm got pissed when he saw this though and threatened to sue the artist…

  3. natasha:

    In “Скрапиo баска я гин”, I think he actually says “жин”. Not that I know what it means, but still 🙂

  4. Cordelia:

    Ok I am Swedish too although I don’t live there right now.

    I have an interest in Russian language and culture and a respect for the country & people.

    It irritates me that it’s OK to make fun of Russians in an un-PC way like this. But if the song had been making fun of Muslims, Jews, Black people whatever, then it would have become a disaster.

    Why are the groups above worth of respect and not a big powerful neighbour country that hasn’t actually given Sweden any trouble for several hundred years?

    I think Sweden should take advantage of position close to MASSIVE Russia, plus similarities between the nations INSTEAD of offending Russia by playing ridiculuos songs about Russia on state TV…

    Regarding the complaint from the Russian ambassador – a bit oversensitive maybe. But I don’t think Finland would appreciate a similar video about them either. They would probably complain too! … It’s just normal not to want to see your nationality ridiculed by anyone.

  5. kostya:

    This song is already “translated” into Russian. You can now watch its Russian version here

    Hope you will do philological analysis of it too.

  6. David:

    “Tingeling” was a series of skits in the 2009 “Melody Festival” (where Swedes pick their contribution for the ESC) by the Grotesco comedy group. It features the fictionary former pop singer Rolf Pihlman, played by comedian Henrik Dorsin. In each episode, he ends up performing a song, each time parodying a different style.

    The first song is Pihlman’s old band’s only hit, “Tingeling”, performed in “dansband” style, a sort of easy listening Swedish country-pop. “Tingeling” is indeed the Swedish name for Peter Pan’s Tinker Bell, but mostly, it’s just a cute nonsense word used as a nickname for a girl who the singer sings to and wants:

    Tingeling, Tingeling
    Betyder jag ingenting? (Do I mean nothing?)
    Jag ber dig min älskling (I ask you my darling)
    Lägg av med ditt slingeling (Stop your “swingeling”)

    The same song was later performed as a hiphop/rap version “Blingeling”, parodying Swedish rappers.

    In the final episode, Pihlman went to Russia and got help from the Russian Mafia. You have all seen the result. It features the fictional Croatian “DJ Trexx” (played by Michael Lindgren), who can also be seen in Grotesco’s earlier work, in a fake ad for a techno compilation called “Croatian Invasion”.

    Tingeling is parody, and it’s great parody because not only does it play with prejudice, it is very well produced and well thought out. It does poke in the eye of Russia. Especially the line “Do svedanya, Putin”, which is a reference to the banned Georgian ESC contribution, “We Don’t Wanna Put In”. Also, Tingaliin is now Russia, and Russia is the target of the singer’s affection. But mostly, it’s as you say, just random phrases people will recognize as Russian mixed with “russianized” Swedish or English (pogrimanski = Pihlman, the main character of the skits; globoski = Globen, the arena where the finals were helt; groteski = Grotesco, the comedy group; etc.).

    And come on, you have to love the fact that they mixed the Red Army Chorus with descending Tetris blocks in the background! It doesn’t get more Russian than that (for foreigners) 🙂

    There is an album with even more covers for sale. Among the other styles are reggaetón and Finnish tango.