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'Tanglish' Gaana song goes viral

‘Why this kolaveri di?’, a song sung almost exclusively in 'Tanglish' (a mix of Tamil and English) to a Gaana backdrop, has become a worldwide viral sensation.

Posted on Youtube on the 16th November it has been viewed over 30 million times. Appealing to Tamil youth and youth across the world, the song was spread rapidly through social networks, with the hashtag, #kolaveri, being the most popular Indian trends on Twitter.

The speed of its success led to the video receiving Youtube's, 'Recently Most Popular Gold Medal Award' in early December 2011, and being named CNN's 'Top Song of 2011'

The song - 'Why this murderous rage, girl?' - was written and sung by the actor Dhanush as a promotional track for his upcoming Tamil movie, 3, in collaboration with 18-year-old composer, Anirudh Ravichander.

Inspired by the traditional Tamil folk style of Gaana, and using an ecletic mix of instruments, including the naadaswaram, urumee, thavil and acoustic guitar, the song describes the protagonist in a drunken state having just been dumped by his girlfriend.

In an interview with the Times of India, Dhanush said,

"When I was writing down the lyrics, I kept in mind all the English words that are used in the Tamil vocabulary. Words like I, you, me, how, why, cow.. I just framed them into sentences and thats how I came up with the song."

Its huge popularity has resulted in a number of parodies and cover versions being posted by fans on Youtube, accounting for over 40 million Youtube views in total.

Along side a version in Tamil, a female response, and another sung by a female protagonist, the Gaana inspired track has in turn inspired remakes in a wide array of musical genres including R&B, rock, hip hop, and Carnatic (loosely set around the raagam Subhapantuvarali), as well as regional versions, including Chinese, Punjabi, JapaneseGujarati and Egyptian Arabic.

In addition to a flashmob in Auckland, and parodies based on software engineers, students sitting exams, Tamil Nadu politics, the chipmunks, the song has inspired a spin off Jaffna version exulting the Tamil language and its rich heritage, and criticising the 'kolaveri' it faces.

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