While you might think of the Vengaboys as a pop throwback from the late '90s, they're now on the periphery of a major political scandal that brought down a far-right Austrian party FPO.
To be clear, the Vengaboys themselves - that's Kim Sasabone, Denise Post-Van Rijswijk, Robin Pors and Donny Latupeirissa - are not implicated in the scandal, nor do they claim membership of FPO either. Like you'd expect, the Vengabus came to all of this through a joke on Twitter.
The story begins with an in-depth investigation into Heinz-Christian Strache, the former Deputy Chancellor of Austria and the leader of Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs, a far-right populist party that entered into a coalition government in 2017 with the ruling Austrian People's Party, led by Sebastian Kurz.
Among Strache and the FPO's policies include reducing what it calls "pointless sanctions" on Russia (more on that later), vowing to outlaw free distribution of the Koran, and plans to censor media in Austria. How the Vengaboys enter into all of this comes from a secret recording.
In 2017, a secret video recording was made of Heinz-Christian Strache meeting with a purported Russian oligarch and a woman claiming to be the niece of a real-life Russian oligarch. In the meeting, Strache and his deputy in the FPO, Johann Gudenus, described how they would give the oligarchs lucrative government contracts in exchange for favourable media coverage.
As well as this, the video also showed Strache discussing close ties to Vladimir Putin, and how he had met with Russian advisers with a view to creating a "strategic collaboration" with them. The video was published in May of this year in German media outlets Der Spiegel and Süddeutsche Zeitung.
Where was the video recorded? In a villa in Ibiza, Spain. This is where the Vengaboys come in.
The day of the video's release, German comedian Jan Böhmermann tweeted out the music video for Vengaboys' 'We're Going To Ibiza' in reference to the scandal. That one tweet sparked off a wave of interest in the song, and effectively became the anthem of FPO's downfall and the collapse of Austria's government.
— Jan Böhmermann 🤨 (@janboehm) May 17, 2019
The tweet from Böhmermann alone received close to 1,00 retweets and reached far and wide across Germany and Austria. Pretty soon, the song reentered the Austrian charts as radio stations began playing the song again, all in reference to the growing scandal.
On the day that Strache resigned from government, a protest of close to 5,000 people gathered at the Vienna Heldenplatz and began chanting the song's chorus in celebration. On Thursday of this week just gone, the Vengaboys and their patented Vengabus appeared in Vienna to play for a packed celebration of FPO's fall, all to the music of '90s dance-pop floor-fillers like 'The Vengabus Is Coming', 'Boom Boom Boom Boom!' and, of course, 'We're Going To Ibiza'.
Here's footage and tweets of the event as it happened. Evidence, thus, that 'We're Going To Ibiza' is now an official protest anthem.
— Vengaboys (@vengaboys) May 30, 2019
— Simon K (@der_SimonK) May 30, 2019
— wiederdonnerstag (@immerdonnerstag) May 31, 2019