In 1992 a strange little tune appeared in my Melbourne bedroom and vowed to one day become a Song. It took just 25 years, 100 Europeans and 12 words invented by my daughter to get there. This is the story of what happens next.
Follow our quest on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Soonfeed to guide The Europe Song on an irrevocable path. A new soundtrack for Europe. A language everyone understands. A motley community of fans and critics. An unlikely hit? Watch the music video on EU Tube. Listen to the music and invented lyrics on Soundcloud. And don’t miss our upcoming Facebook Live stream from a terrace in Mostar, the town where The Europe Song was born.
The Europe Song is yours to sing, play, remix or sample as you please. Our “Various Europeans” version is just a starting point. If you like our version, then turn it into something better. If you hate our version, then turn it into something better. It was designed in three parts (Side A, B and C) so that each can take on a life of its own. The song is free to use with attribution (#TheEuropeSong).* See my Q&A below.
Let’s appreciate the number “12” for a moment.
There are 12 stars in the video.
There are 12 kids singing in this version.
There are 12 stars in the European Union flag.
There are 12 words in the song. They’re all made up.
The original plan was to launch the video on 12.12 last year.
The song tempo starts at 104 bpm and ends at 116 bpm (almost House).
The last 12 notes are from Beethoven’s Ode to Joy (you’ll hear it now you know it’s there).
Some answers to questions I’ve been asked so far.
What’s The Europe Song?
It’s a tune I started writing in my Melbourne bedroom in 1992 and had forgotten about until early 2016, when the European Commission in Brussels asked my digital agency to develop a campaign for a New Narrative for Europe. I initially pitched the song as a way to connect with Europeans who otherwise have no interest in the EU. But once we started production, I realised The Europe Song was going to take on a life of its own. Sure enough, karaoke clips and cover versions of the song have started popping up around Europe. Robert Schuman, “Father of Europe”, said “the European spirit signifies being conscious of belonging to a cultural family”. The Europe Song makes me — and I hope you — feel like family.
What language are they singing in?
It’s what my Brussels-born daughter was speaking last year when she was two. A hybrid of half-formed words in French, Polish, English and Gibberish. I’ve been told the words sound a bit “eastern” but that’s because the original recording featured local singers from Mostar (Bosnia-Herzegovina). Phonetically the lyrics reflect east, west, north and southern Europe. It should feel natural singing The Europe Song no matter where you’re from or which language/s you speak.
What was your motivation for recording the song?
I feel European and I’m going through a midlife crisis.
What does your midlife crisis have to do with anything?
I always imagined that releasing my music to the public would feel something like putting my fingers on a chopping block levered by strangers. I stopped writing songs two decades ago (apart from this little ditty for my daughter’s first birthday) because what’s the point if no one else can hear it? My midlife crisis started a year ago, when my daughter found a cassette tape in an old cardboard box. On it was the forgotten tune I’d named, for no particular reason, “Catch of the Day”.
— Richard Medic (@happeningo) April 10, 2017
How did you turn that strange little recording into The Europe Song?
I finished writing the song in Mostar and recorded it at Studio Baraka run by Atilla from Zoster (Mario is one of our singers, Goran built the beats). The town is also home to Mostar Sevdah Reunion, the Pavarotti Centre and the Mostar Rock School. So I had the privilege of working with some of the finest musicians and singers in SE Europe (including 12 kids), most of them based within a two minute walk from the recording studio. The song was mixed and mastered in Cologne by Klaas, who’s best known for his EDM mixes. I asked him for a sound that feels like it was recorded in 2022 by a time traveller from 1992.
Who owns the publication rights to the song?*
The Europe Song is owned by everyone. The composition was a gift to the European Union since they kindly agreed to set it free upon publication. I designed the music as three “sides”. Each has a distinct tempo (104, 110, 116 bpm) and feel to it. Anyone can sing, play, shred, remix or sample the music and lyrics so long as it’s not to sell stuff (with hashtag attribution #TheEuropeSong, CC BY-NC). Send me a message for access to the (60) audio stems.
Meanwhile on YouTube…
— Soonfeed Europe (@SoonfeedEU) April 28, 2017