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I recently saw an excellent performance by Dear Abbeys, Boston University’s most celebrated all-male a cappella group. A cappella is group singing without instrumental accompaniment, where some of the singers sing the lyrics, while others create a beat with their voices and imitate various instruments. The Dear Abbeys amused the audience with dancing and a fun short video too. In addition to performing old-time favorites in an a cappella style, they also did a parody mix of hits by the pop divas Lady GaGa, Beyonce, and Rihanna.

 Without drawing any parallel to BU’s Dear Abbeys, I will show you a very serious song by a very serious contestant for the Bulgarian Music Idol 2008 (our version of American Idol ). The name of the performer is Valentina Hasan, and she is singing one of Mariah Carey’s most famous songs.

This is not a parody; Valentina is convinced that she has all the lyrics down. She has no claims to speaking English very well. She learned the lyrics just by listening to the song over and over agan. Take a look:

 Although Valentina Hasan did not go on to the next round of the music contest, she became hugely popular. Her comic performance, her poor singing abilities, and her confidence in her knowledge of English made this video an international hit.

Four million people saw it on YouTube during the first month. By the third, Valentina’s clip reached thirteen million hits. It inspired a wave of imitators to shoot their own videos singing Ken Lee. Valentina’s followers are individuals, groups of friends, and even whole offices from around the globe. The catchy “Tulibu dibu douchoo” has been interpreted in many different version including house and disco.

Consequently, Valentina was invited to many of Bulgaria’s top television shows such as Slavi Trifonov’s Show and Azis’ Show. She was invited to perform again during the finals of Music Idol. She was featured in the international press, including Anderson Cooper’s 360 and

When I came to Boston University, the first thing a guy from Hong Kong, whom I had just met, asked me was if I knew of Ken Lee. Of course I knew!

In an interview with the real star, the host of the French show “Le Grand Journal” showed Ken Lee to Mariah Carey and asked of her opinion. Mariah responded that everyone who has the courage to go on television and sing in front of so many people deserves a round of applause!


Read about another Music Idol performer, Preslava Peicheva, (this time a real singer) here.

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April 2010

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