Verka Serduchka

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Andriy Danylko
Verka Serduchka 2007 Eurovision.jpg
Background information
Birth name Andriy Mykhailovych Danylko
Also known as Verka Serduchka
Born (1973-10-02) 2 October 1973 (age 41)
Origin Poltava, Ukrainian SSR, USSR
Genres Comedy, parody, pop
Occupation(s) Comedian, singer
Instruments Singing
Years active 1998 – present
Labels CD Land, mamamusic
Website http://www.serduchka.com

Andriy Mykhailovych Danylko (Ukrainian: Андрі́й Миха́йлович Дани́лко) (born 2 October 1973 in Poltava, Ukrainian SSR), better known as his drag character Verka Serduchka (Ukrainian: Вєрка Сердючка), is a Ukrainian comedian and pop and dance singer. In the role of Serduchka, he represented Ukraine in the Eurovision Song Contest 2007 and finished in second place. Serduchka has sold over 600,000 records during his career in Ukraine.

External images
Andriy Danylko's studio photo of his Verka Serduchka character
[1] 1+1 channel

Early life[edit]

Andriy Danylko was born to a Surzhyk-speaking working-class family in Poltava. An avid amateur performer since childhood, he graduated from the Stage&Circus College and Kiev National University of Culture and Arts in Kiev.

Early career[edit]

In 1990, Andriy Danylko started to create the character of Verka Serduchka, a flamboyant middle-aged female railroad car steward from a rural family. At a humor contest in Poltava on 4 January 1991, he presented Verka Serduchka publicly for the first time. He invented the character's name by combining the randomly picked first name Verka and the last name of a former school classmate, Anya Serduk.[1][2] Apart from pop and dance numbers, Danylko has also performed ambient musical compositions under his real name. His popularity, however, is firmly established on the stage personality of Verka Serduchka, and most of his performances are done under this stage name.

Following Verka Serduchka, Danylko created other characters, such as a militsioner, a soldier and a female ballet dancer. In such a fashion, the Danylko Theater was established, touring cities of Russia and Ukraine. In 2002, Danylko, along with his group, toured in the CIS and Baltic countries, showing the program "I am a Revolution" for the whole year. The next year, soon after the Danylko Theater's concert tour, "I Was Born for Love", he received the title of Honored Artist of Ukraine.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Danylko hosted a talk show called "SV-show" ("SV" is an abbreviation for Russian: Спальный Вагон, "Spalniy Vagon", which means sleeping car) on various Ukrainian television channels.[3]

Eurovision Song Contest 2007[edit]

Verka Serduchka with his ensemble in the Eurovision Song Contest 2007.

Verka Serduchka was chosen to represent Ukraine at the Eurovision Song Contest 2007 in Helsinki, Finland, with the song "Dancing Lasha Tumbai".[4] One of Ukraine's nationwide FM radio stations organized a protest action in February 2007 to express their disapproval of the selection.[5] Some Ukrainians and even members of the Ukrainian Parliament also expressed their disapproval, viewing the character of Serduchka as "grotesque and vulgar".[6][7]

Serduchka's song "Dancing Lasha Tumbai" was sung in four languages: German, English, Ukrainian, and Russian. The invented words "lasha tumbai" caused some controversy after the performance, because many people noted the phrase's similarity to "Russia Goodbye". In early publicity appearances, Serduchka said that "lasha tumbai" was a Mongolian expression for "whipped cream." His statement was denied by several Mongols who gave the correct phrase on a talk show broadcast by Channel One (Russia) just before the Eurovision Song Contest 2007.[8] The Mongolian embassy in Moscow also said that "lasha tumbai" was total gibberish.[9]

During the performance, Verka Serduchka wore clothes made by Dolce & Gabbana.[citation needed] The "Dancing Lasha Tumbai" single reached #6 in the French charts and went on to be #28 on The Official UK Singles Chart on 20 May 2007. This was the first time a non-UK non-winning Eurovision entry had made UK charts since 1974.

Danylko later made a brief phone-in appearance on the BBC's The Graham Norton Show, in which his comments made no sense whatsoever. Another call was made, but with a translator in the audience. In this instance, Danylko told guest Andrew Lloyd Webber he was "rubbish". However, in an interview with Andrew Williams in the 60 Seconds column of metro.co.uk (30 July 2007), Danylko clarified his meaning:

AW: Why did you call Andrew Lloyd Webber ‘rubbish’ on The Graham Norton Show? AD: Someone interpreted Serduchka wrongly. I meant I watched "Cats: the Musical" on TV. It was boring. You should watch a musical on the stage. Don't watch "Cats" on TV.[10]

In the same interview, he stated that "lasha tumbai" was a somewhat made-up phrase that sounds like the Mongolian phrase for "milkshake" and that many Russians nevertheless managed to interpret it as saying "Russia goodbye!".[citation needed]

In 2011, a writer from British newspaper The Guardian described "Dancing Lasha Tumbai" as the "best song never to win Eurovision" before going on to describe Serduchka as "an oven-ready Christopher Biggins".[11]

Danylko later gave his Serduchka character a "mother," played by actress Inna Bilokon, who is Danylko's close friend since school.

Personal life[edit]

Danylko says that he is not a transvestite outside of his public performances and that his long career as a drag queen has not changed his personal life in any way, since Serduchka is simply a character and not a persona.[12] He is reluctant to discuss his private life, but he has stated that he lived with a woman for eight years, that it was a hard experience for him, and that after the breakup he became more creative again.[13]

Eurovision 2011[edit]

Serduchka had planned to participate in the Ukrainian national selection for the Eurovision Song Contest 2011. He automatically qualified for the final,[14] but withdrew his nomination in October 2010.[15]

Political life[edit]

Danylko announced in 2007 that he would front a new political party, "For Ours!", to run in that year's Ukrainian parliamentary election, but he later abandoned the idea. A public opinion poll in July 2007 placed 'For Ours! Verka Serduchka' at 2% overall support.[16][17]

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

  • Я рождена для любви (Ya rozhdena dlya lyubvi, I was born for love) (1998)
  • Гоп-гоп (Hop-hop) (2002)
  • Чита дрита (Chita drita) (2003)
  • Ха-ра-шо (Kha-ra-sho - Good) (2003)
  • Жениха хотела (Zhenikha khotela - I wanted a husband) (2004)
  • После тебя (Posle tebya - After you) (2005) (released under the name Danylko: instrumental music)
  • Новые песни Верки Сердючки (Novye pesni Verki Serdyuchki - The new songs of Verka Serduchka) (2006)
  • Tralli-Valli (2006)
  • Dancing Europe (2007)
  • DoReMi DoReDo (2008)
  • Alles Gut Mamba (2011)

Singles[edit]

  • Контролер (Kontroler, 'Ticket collector') (1999)
  • Гоп гоп (Hop hop,[18] 'Jump jump') (2002)
  • Я не поняла (Ya ne ponyala, 'I didn't understand') (2003)
  • Всё будет хорошо (Vsyo budet khorosho, 'Everything will be fine') (2003)
  • Пирожок (Pyrozhok, 'Pie') (2003)
  • Горилка (Horilka) (2003)
  • Чита Дрита (Chyta-dryta) (2004)
  • Попала на любовь (Ya popala na lyubov, 'I Fell in Love') (2004)
  • Тук тук тук (Tuk tuk tuk, 'Knock Knock Knock') (2004)
  • Хорошо красавицам (Khorosho krasavitsam, ' '​Tis swell to be a belle') (2006)
  • Tralli-valli (2006)
  • А я смеюсь (A ya smeyus, 'And I'm laughing') (2006)
  • Dancing Lasha Tumbai (2007)
  • Kiss please (2007)
  • I am Eurovision Queen (2008)
  • До-ре-ми (Do Re Mi) (2008)
  • Essen (2008)
  • Dolce & Gabbana (2010)

Chart position[edit]

Year Single Chart positions Album
SWE FI UK IE FR GER AUT CH PL DK EU
2007 "Dancing Lasha Tumbai" 6 2 28 31 6 74 49 53 48 52 45 Dancing Europe

Other songs[edit]

  • Kafeshka (Café) with Philip Kirkorov
  • Kerubino (As Andriy Danylko)
  • Новогодняя (Novogodnyaya, (happy) new year). As Andriy Danylko, with Alla Pugacheva and various artists
  • Danylko Tango (As Verka Serduchka & Andriy Danylko)
  • Dolce & Gabbana (2009)
  • I Love You (2010)

DVD[edit]

  • The Best. Clips of various years (2009). Danylko also starred in the Russian New Year's Eve movie- The New Adventure of Aladin in late 2011.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Danylko become Serduchka because of school girlfriend" (in Russian). kp.ru. 2003-12-04. 
  2. ^ Ryzancheva, Elena. "Interview with Verka Serduchka-Danylko" (in Russian). 
  3. ^ "Danylko's biography" (in Russian). 
  4. ^ "Verka Serduchka went to the Eurovision-2007 song contest". Podrobnosti.ua (in Russian). Retrieved March 17, 2007. 
  5. ^ ""No to Euroserduchka!" - protest action of an FM radio station" (in Ukrainian). NTN (Channel). Retrieved May 10, 2007. 
  6. ^ Fawkes, Helen (April 2, 2007). "Eurovision act angers Ukrainians". BBC News. Retrieved May 11, 2007. 
  7. ^ "Eurovision: Verka Serduchka will disgrace Ukraine" (in Ukrainian). Korrespondent. Archived from the original on March 20, 2007. Retrieved May 11, 2007. 
  8. ^ "Russian Channel One Takes Offence at Verka Serduchka". Ukrainian Newspaper (in Ukrainian). Retrieved May 21, 2007. 
  9. ^ "Ukrainian drag queen a front-runner at Eurovision". Agence France Presse. May 12, 2007. Archived from the original on December 14, 2009. Retrieved December 14, 2009. 
  10. ^ "60 SECONDS: Verka Serduchka". metro.co.uk. 
  11. ^ Raeside, Julia (May 10, 2011). "Six to watch: memorable Eurovision moments". London: The Guardian. 
  12. ^ Данилко обижается, когда его считают извращенцем (in Russian). 1+1 channel. Retrieved July 15, 2013. 
  13. ^ "Andriy Danylko: "I had a difficult experience living together with a woman..."" (in Russian). Gay.ru. Retrieved May 13, 2007. 
  14. ^ (Ukrainian) "Gogol Bordello" не буде на "Євробаченні", а Сердючка вже у фіналі, Табло ID (August 20, 2010)
  15. ^ (Ukrainian) Сердючка передумала їхати на "Євробачення", Табло ID (October 13, 2010)
  16. ^ "Socialists Lose Their Rating". Ukrayinska Pravda. 2007-07-31. 
  17. ^ "Ukraine’s election campaign: mired in scandal". Russia Today. 2007-08-25. 
  18. ^ Also transliterated as Gop gop

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Tina Karol
with "Show Me Your Love"
Ukraine in the Eurovision Song Contest
2007
Succeeded by
Ani Lorak
with "Shady Lady"