About Donatan & Cleo
By the time he was chosen to represent Poland in the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest, hip-hop producer Donatan (born Witold Czamara on September 2, 1984 in Kraków to a Russian mother and Polish father) was already a notorious figure on the Polish music scene, widely criticized for his outspoken views espousing pan-Slavism, paganism, and communism. Despite this, his music, combining elements of traditional Slavic folk music with hip-hop, was enormously popular. He began making beats in 2002 and his first production efforts to see release were on the 2007 compilation album Brudne Południe ("Dirty Noon"). He swiftly made a name for himself as a producer, working on more than 50 albums, many of which achieved gold or platinum status. His 2012 debut solo album Równonoc ("Equinox") went gold on pre-orders alone, topped the Polish charts, and eventually went diamond, selling over 150,000 copies.
It was in 2013 that Donatan first collaborated with Cleo (born Joanna Klepko on June 25, 1983 in Warsaw), a former gospel singer who had participated in Poland's X Factor, and won in the R&B category on the first season of TV talent contest Studio Garaż ("Studio Garage"). Their debut single, "My Słowianie" ("We Slavs," also known as "We Are Slavic"), a stomping anthem supposedly satirizing traditional views of Slavic women, was released in October 2013 and was a massive hit. It went to number two in the Polish charts and its saucy video, featuring a troupe of buxom dancers clad in traditional costume, became a global viral phenomenon. By the time it was chosen to represent Poland at Eurovision, it had already racked up more than 40 million YouTube hits, making it the most popular Eurovision song in history before the contest had even begun.
The song eventually finished the contest in 14th place. The duo's raunchy performance in the final caused some controversy, not least in the U.K. and Ireland -- countries with large Polish immigrant populations -- where it came first in the public voting but was placed last by the jury. Donatan & Cleo continued to collaborate, releasing the single "Cicha Woda" ("Quiet Water") in 2014. ~ John D. Buchanan
- Krakow, Poland