Time flies in the absence of Spanish dance crazes involving lateral hand movements. Yes it’s been six years since the Macarena swept like a tsunami over an unsuspecting earth. The Spanish have struck again:
- along comes “The Ketchup Song” – and dance.
The Spanish pop tune with gobbledygook lyrics is topping charts around the world, and it’s accompanied by arm-waving, knee-knocking gyrations.
The three sisters who do the song teamed up only a year ago and named themselves Las Ketchup as an homage to their flamenco guitarist-father, nicknamed El Tomate.
The single has sold 2.5 million copies from Austria to Australia. In Europe it’s No. 1 in sales in 15 countries, says London-based Music and Media magazine. The album that features the song has sold 900,000 copies around the world, reaching gold status in much of Latin America.
Teenagers in Kosovo love it. One Danish Internet portal offers the melody for downloading as a cell phone beep. And a version in Mandarin Chinese is planned for the world’s most populous nation.
Sony Music thought the sisters had potential when it signed them, but no one expected all this, marketing director Jose Mateos said.
“The music business is not an exact science,” Mateos said.
Indeed, the limelight is all over the Munoz sisters – Pilar, 29; Lola, 26; and Lucia, 19 – and their song about a fashion-conscious Gypsy named Diego who makes up his own brand of rap.
Since the song has cut the mustard with listeners in Europe and Latin America, the sisters hope the United States will relish it, too. It’s already rising on the singles. This week, they’re visiting Miami and New York to promote the single and the LP, called “Hijas del Tomate,” or “Daughters of Tomato.”
Their song, known in Spanish as “Asereje,” bases its lyrics on snippets from the 1979 classic “Rapper’s Delight” by the Sugar Hill Gang, but transmogrifies them with a staccato twist from Las Ketchup’s native Andalusia region.
The refrain goes like this: “Asereje ja de je de jebe tude jebere sebiunouba majabi an de bugui an de buididipi.”
That’s not Spanish, it’s gibberish.
Hey, I love silly mindless pop as much as anyone as long as it’s catchy and rhythmic: the Monkees, the Archies, Banarama, and even “The Macarena” (try to remember how you felt about it the first twenty times you heard it) come to mind.
The problem with “The Ketchup Song” is that it isn’t all that catchy and is surprisingly unpercussive for a Spanish dance song. See and hear for yourself the video of the Spanish version here: very Bananarama, just not really good Bananarama. Will the US be the last to succumb? We shall see.