As the song started to play, all the children who were gathered in a circle around the games hostess went into a frenzy with hoots of laughter and exhilaration, arms stretched out, ready with all the moves, unable to be restrained. It was like watching fans at a Strings concert, just as the band is about to play Dhaani – except, this was not a kiddie concert, but a birthday party for four-year-olds and the song was, Baby Shark Do Do Dodoodo by PinkFong (and no, they are not South Korea’s take on Pink Floyd), they are a South Korean company that create edutainment content for children.
It was a great party! I know, because my daughter hummed the lyrics of Baby Shark all the way home, giddy from the euphoric dancing and plentiful chocolate cake.
Baby Shark features two young children – a boy and a girl, singing simple lyrics about a shark family going on a hunt. Set against basic animations of an underwater scene, this catchy tune has had 3.3 billion views to date and the trend is just catching on.
The song first gained popularity in Indonesia, in 2017 and later spread to other South East Asian countries. Fast forward to 2018 and a dance version of the song, which was uploaded to YouTube in June 2016, has become the 34th most viewed video on YouTube. Baby Shark is now played at parties and weddings and is fast becoming the Gangnam Style of 2018.
James Cordon, a British comedian and the host for The Late Late Show with James Cordon, humorously called Baby Shark a “modern classic” and a song that “defines this generation”.
If this wasn’t enough, the ‘Baby Shark Challenge’ was launched on the internet and people are now posting videos of themselves with shark masks, doing the signature moves with the song in the background. Some are taking it on in the same style as the the ‘Kiki Challenge’, where they step out of moving vehicles to dance to the song, while others have taken it more in the spirit of ‘flash mob’ style dancing, though with fewer people and less exotic locations. Regardless, the song is getting hot, and the possibilities are seemingly endless.
Not one to ignore such trends, James Cordon, a British comedian and the host for The Late Late Show with James Cordon, humorously called Baby Shark a “modern classic” and a song that “defines this generation”. He recreated an adult version of the song on his show. Singing along with Sophie Turner, who performs the voice of ‘Mommy Shark’ and Josh Groban who plays the voice of ‘Daddy Shark’, the trio give the song a jazzy rendition, complete with a choir and dancers wearing…? You guessed it! Shark masks! The performance received a standing ovation, and I have to say it made me look at the song in a completely new light. At least, until the next kiddie birthday party I go to.
For those of you who haven’t heard Baby Shark and think you will escape unscathed, there is no point in resisting; it will slowly but surely creep through your social media pages and become lodged in your head and turn into the annoying tune that you find yourself humming in the shower or in moments of deep reflection. Just do yourself a favour and learn the darned lyrics, so you don’t get told off by the kids around you for getting the words wrong.
Sheherzad Kaleem is a documentary filmmaker based in Dubai. firstname.lastname@example.org