Always ready to pull a (televote) surprise, Moldova’s 2023 entry is one of four previous Eurovision artists returning to the contest this year, and he has the most experience of the Eurovision stage of all of them. Pasha Parfeni represented Moldova in 2012, Loreen’s landslide year, with Lăutar (finishing 11th in the final). He was back in 2013 as the composer of their 2013 entry, O Mie, and appeared on stage playing the piano (also finishing in 11th in the final). Will he get a third chance of gracing the grand final?
Pasha tried to represent Moldova again in 2020 but came second in the national final (and presumably would have been given the 2021 slot after the cancellation). No problems this time though as “Soarele și luna” swept to victory. The song is co-composed by Pasha and the lyrics are by his wife and muse, Iuliana. It’s a folk pop song, a popular Eurovision genre that we have not had much of this year. The lyrics hark back to a prehistoric/mystical time talking of a romance and a prospective wedding, and calling to the titular Sun and Moon. We’re also brought a replacement for Epic Sax Guy – we now have Epic Flute Guy – who is in fact a professional flautist.
I do enjoy my ethnobops, and this is no exception. It’s uptempo but also has a genuine ethereal feel about it – we do get transported back into mythological times. The interaction between Pasha and Sergiu the flautist on stage really works well and the accompanying female vocalists are really strong in the chorus – as well as having great antlers! There is a bit of both Fuleen and Shum in this, but it’s not quite as striking as Shum and its fusion of folk with very modern elements, but it has more coherence than Fulenn which was a bit of a hot mess on stage.
Pasha has been dealt quite a tough hand in terms of qualification – Moldova are in the super tough semi-final one, and are sandwiched between Israel and Sweden in the running order. However, this has been doing well in fan polls, and we should never underestimate Moldova’s ability to put on memorable staging and performances. They do much better in the televote than with juries usually, so with the televote only semi-final, and a performance and genre that should stand out – we could well see Pasha back on a grand final stage for a third time.
Moldova in the Eurovision Song Contest
First entered: 2005
Appearances (excluding this year): 17
Best result: 3rd in 2017
Last year’s result: 7th