Another Italian earworm by way of China

JISHOU, HUNAN — During the Christmas party, one of the acts was a dance, (请你恰恰), by some juniors in class 4. The tune was one of those catchy ones that sticks in your head for days. And, it’s from the same studio that gave me — and China — another earworm, the “Rabbit Dance.”

So, here are the students performing the dance.

Again, if you can’t view the embedded video, you can download or watch it from this link.

You’ll notice that some of the male dancers are in fact female dancers. Our college’s student body is predominantly female, but I found at least one professional performance online by a woman dressed as a man. So, there’s a precedent!

Because my mind works this way, I spent some time trying to track down the source of this tune, and the dance. It’s sort of cha cha, but not really, and there are hints of electro/house/Eurodance mixed in with the Latin beat. If you’ve listened to Aqua, you’ll know what I mean.

So, here’s the skinny. The Chinese title, Qing Ni Cha Cha, which means, “Please Will You Cha Cha?” sounds very close to the original English title, Chilly Cha Cha.

Here are the timeless lyrics, from Lyrics Time:

* Baila chilly cha cha baila chilly cha
Dance your chilly dance your cha cha baila chilly cha cha
Dance so feel your body hot you got another shot
Feel your body shake your body hot

[Repeat * , *]

Baila baila chilly cha cha senorita
Baila baila chilly cha cha senor
I give you another chance, you can clap your hands
Shake your body chilly cha cha dance

** Baily baily baily baily baila
And dance and dance and dance and dance and dance
So feel your body hot you got another shot
Now you can dance your chilly cha cha stop

*** Ay Ay Ay, this chilly cha cha muy bonito
Ay Ay Ay, lo que siento en el corazon
Ay Ay Ay, this chilly cha cha calentito
Ay Ay Ay, to dos le bailan si senor

Chilly cha cha

[Repeat * , *]

[Repeat ** , ***]

Dance your cha cha, si

The artist is (supposedly) Jessica Jay, who as best I can tell, is just a catchy name for a group of studio musicians. I couldn’t find any photos of Jessica Jay; the closest I could come to confirming her existence is a rather imaginative bio at the website of the SAIFAM Group.

The bio reports that the elusive Miss Jay had earlier had a big hit in Thailand. And indeed, I found an assortment of covers of Chilly Cha Cha by a variety of acts from Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines and China! Chilly Cha Cha is also a popular line dance tune, as well as an excuse for nearly any kind of Latin dance. Search on YouTube for Chilly Cha Cha and you’ll see what I mean.

SAIFAM is the same group that created another earworm/dance craze in China, the “Rabbit Dance” — also known as Penguin’s Game — which students seemed to perform at nearly every function I attended my first two years here. Typically, only the “bunny hop” part of Penguin’s Game was performed. The “group” in the case was Gelato, which again was just an ad hoc name for some studio musicians (or for a studio mix, for that matter).*

The Italian-based SAIFAM Group is a dance music factory, judging from the number of “acts” they “manage,” s reported by this Eurodance website. It’s the kind of group that churns out compilations of dance music for DJs to spin — not unheard of even in the USA. K-Tel made a mint by releasing compilations of tunes by well known acts.

And judging from Chilly Cha Cha and the Penguin Dance, SAIFAM seems to have found a niche marketing catchy music here in China.

* I’m not knocking studio musicians, by the way. These guys and gals work in the background to support the “stars,” who may or may not have more talent than the studio musicians themselves. Sometimes, studio musicians form their own bands — like Toto — and make it big, too.

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