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Coronavirus has forced governments and businesses worldwide to take drastic measures to halt its spread – from putting one-third of the world’s population under some kind of lockdown or quarantine, to postponing major events such as the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. But the Covid-19 crisis has ignited an unexpected trend: quirky songs and videos.
Musicians, bloggers and local health authorities are taking to social media and online music services like YouTube and Spotify with catchy jingles and clips to spread the message of how to fight coronavirus. While some do include highly questionable lyrics that play up racist or xenophobic stereotypes about Asian culture, others are largely constructive and educational. Here are the best of the bunch from across the globe:
Other governments, take note: health authorities in Vietnam have released a banging hit that’s already mopped up over 32 million views on YouTube. According to Billboard, the catchy song Ghen Cô Vy is based on the melody of the V-pop hit Ghen and was written by Khac Hung with the National Institute of Occupational and Environmental Health.
The popular track has already sparked a trending dance called the #ghencovychallenge on TikTok.
Two children in Hong Kong – Morgan Wong, aged eight, and his sister Megan, aged 10 – composed a song in which they directly address Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam.
“Mrs Carrie Lam, don’t you hear the people suffer? Don’t you hear the people cry for masks? Mrs Carrie Lam, don’t you hear the people’s voices? That they are worried and afraid?”
“The coronavirus, the coronavirus / It makes you faint and feel bad / Be very careful because you can catch it / if you don’t take care, it can kill you.”
These are some lyrics from El Capi, a band from Oaxaca, Mexico, with their own anti-virus track. The video shows members of the band dancing in the street, each holding a bottle of Corona beer, the brand whose image has taken a hit since the Covid-19 outbreak.
Another popular jingle is the Spanish-language La Cumbia Del Coronavirus by Mister Cumbia, which has amassed almost 8 million views on YouTube. The US-based artist tells listeners to wash their hands and avoid seeing friends.
“Let’s be attentive / We have to take care / So let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work / That’s why I made this song / The best thing to do is prevention / We all need to take care, pay attention!”
Dominican singer Yofrangel released his own coronavirus-inspired anthem in February, which has so far garnered over 8.5m views on YouTube.
Entitled Corona Virus, the track by the Dembow artist starts with him coughing violently in the back of an ambulance, with pathogen graphics flying across the screen. In Spanish, Yofrangel tells listeners to cover their mouth and not infect other people.
The West African nation is no stranger to viral epidemics, having lost over 3,500 people to the Ebola outbreak in 2014 and 2015. Here, a hip hop and R&B group known as Africa Best Rappers mix catchy rhythms and beats with social commentary to raise awareness and help people stay healthy during the Covid-19 outbreak.
Ugandan musician – and opposition leader – Bobi Wine has also been spreading awareness of the Covid-19 crisis through music.
Wine (real name Robert Kyagulanyi) collaborated with artist Nubian Li to release a song filled with rhumba melodies.
“The bad news is that everyone is a potential victim / But the good news that everyone is a potential solution”, begins Wine on this upbeat track, which has hit almost a million views on YouTube since its release in late March.
Fans of salsa will enjoy the latest from Cuban-American musician Yendrys Cespedes. The Havana-born and USA-based artist – who describes himself on Facebook as the One Man Band Chicago – brings a vibrant, multi-instrumental performance to warn of the dangers of coronavirus.