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Wassup? Catsup

The global 'Ketchup' shake has them on the dance floor here too

Wassup? Catsup
Wassup? Catsup
Splat and it gets you! That's how fast the Ketchup Song, the gobbledygook red-hot Latino dance hit being pelted out on the radio and telly, has gotten people from Dibrugarh to Diu doing its signature hitchhiker's boogie.

Like an anthem for junk food nation, dripping hot oil over the heads of those who dare to say tomato sauce instead of ketchup, the song has roadside sandwich-wallahs in Mumbai doing the ketchup dance while squeezing tomato-kaddu sauce over the veggie-chutney between slices. Cut to Delhi: when 'ketchup dancers' began shimmying during a Sony music promotion at McDonald's outlets in Delhi recently, customers stopped eating, stared and then jumped up and joined in. The story goes that cops had to control the surging crowds outside. "By the next weekend," says an elated Sony spokesperson, "people came back dressed in tees and denims to do the Ketchup Song!"

At Festomania, an intercollegiate fest held at the sprawling Shri Ram Mills in Mumbai, December 17 was Ketchup Day. At club Mikanos "the turnout was amazing," says Anusha Das, 18, who went with two girlfriends dressed like the Munoz Sisters, because "you don't have to be pretty to do it, you just need to look like the girl next door."

Sung by the three sun-kissed Munoz sisters (daughters of flamenco guitarist El Tomate), the album Las Ketchup has been a whopping success all over the world. In India, it's sold some 90,000 copies since its release last November, eclipsing hit acts like Kylie Minogue and Shakira. It's been No. 1 on the music charts everywhere from Crosswords Pune, Rhythm House Mumbai to the Music World and Planet M outlets.

After Los Del Rios' Macarena in 1996, Ketchup is the first dance frenzy sweeping the globe with its six easy steps. It's also become a must request song on music channels, FM stations, gyms, nightclubs and even baccha parties. Even the video has been recut with clips of everyday people 'doing the ketchup' in different countries— and yes India's in it too. In fact, Google, everybody's favourite search engine, now lists the Ketchup Song on its Big Blue Blog key searchwords.

With its jivy opening chords, Ketchup gets everybody shaking their booty (except those party-poopers looking nonplussed till they figure out the moves). So, what are the moves? First, cross your hands like an overstuffed Brahmin does over his banana leaf plate; follow with the hitchhiker boogie; do an overhead swat-the-mosquitoes move and finish with a knock-kneed hip-wiggle. Amar K. Deb, creative director, Channel V, who still can't quite believe the rage around Ketchup, says, "It's constantly being requested...we have it in heavy rotation playing at least eight times a day." DJ Rummy, who spins discs at Djinns, RG's and Capitol in Delhi, says, "We play it twice every night and it gets everyone on the dance floor, just like Daler Mehndi." Rina Karer, in Mumbai for a family wedding, says, "I couldn't believe it, the song got everyone on the floor in seconds—#from the bride and groom, to friends and families from both sides." Anish Trivedi, a Go 92 radio jockey, says, "My wife and daughter have even downloaded it as their cellphone ring."

And about those jabberwocky lyrics, who cares? It's all gibberish whether you listen to its Spanish or Spanglish versions or sing along on karaoke. Says VJ Gaurav, who hosts Channel V's request show Hotline, "Kids are amazing. They know the song but when I ask them to sing it, they mouth total mumbo-jumbo perfectly to the tune." Of course, there are critics aplenty who diss the sisters as one-hit wonders. But the really mystifying thing about this happy, bouncy ditty is that even without solving life's enduring mystery, i.e. how to get out the first gob of unwilling ketchup out from the bottle, the song has become a global chartbuster and a song for all age groups.But don't let that thought make you stop dancing.

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