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Hey! Macarena takes India by storm

macarena March 4, 1997
Web posted at: 6:30 p.m. EST (2330 GMT)

From Correspondent Anita Pratap

NEW DELHI, India (CNN) -- When a catchy song like the Macarena comes to India, the inevitable happens: It is Indianized.

The original "Macarena" song, released in 1993, was written and performed by the Spanish flamenco duo Los Del Rio. Since then it has set records for international popularity, traveling across the world with an ease perhaps unprecedented by any recent tune.

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In the United States, a Miami duo's remix of the song made it a hit. Baseball fans danced the Macarena in Yankee Stadium; Madeleine Albright performed the ubiquitous routine with colleagues in the United Nations before she became secretary of state; even President Clinton and his wife have danced to the song.


Now, its flamenco rhythm, which took Europe by storm last year, is triggering off chain reactions in India as well. The American version of the Macarena is popular in Indian discos, where urban, Westernized teenyboppers love to dance to the tune. "It's so catchy, and it's doing so well everywhere, you know it makes you dance," said one fan.

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  • And while its initial popularity may have been restricted to urban areas, blockbuster Hindi films plagiarized the song, and spread macarena fever rapidly across the great Indian hinterland.

    The theme remains more or less the same -- flirting between boys and girls leaves the pretty girls trying to choose between suitors. Indians can relate to both the theme and the rhythm: Flamenco, the source of the song's beat, was introduced to Europe by the gypsies, and it is generally accepted that the gypsies came from India.


    Although Indian columnist Chand Joshi says the Macarena "is not really a dance ... today it has become the pelvis with no Elvis," many Indians respond spontaneously to the Macarena rhythm.

    "You can instantly relate to it, you can start dancing, that's fun," said another fan.

    However, like one popular Indian pop star, most try and then give up on the hand-waving, hip-wiggling dance -- it's too complicated. Not that the original dance's complexity stops people from coming up with their own hand-waving, booty-jiggling variations.


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