Following ‘Gangnam Style,’ ‘Harlem Shake’ is the latest viral video to stir up India

Published: February 19, 2013

VANCOUVER DESI/IANS

Harlem Shake Indian Edition

A screengrab from a YouTube video titled ‘Harlem Shake Indian Edition,’ one of roughly 40,000 videos on the site with the phrase ‘Harlem Shake’ in the title. Submitted photo

Following in the footsteps of “Gangnam Style,” “Harlem Shake” is the latest music-based video to take the Internet by storm, including in India. The 30-second original video has had over 12,350,000 views so far since it was uploaded Feb 2.

Harlem Shake is actually a dance that originated in Harlem, a large neighbourhood within the northern section of the New York City borough of Manhattan, in the 1980s. It is also a song by electronic musician Baauer.

People break into an impromptu jig as part of the trend, now being referred as the Harlem Shake itself.

Thanks to its recent online popularity, it has caught the fancy of youngsters in India, too.

Around 60 people were part of a Harlem Shake performance  in the Mumbai office of music channel 9XO.

“Harlem Shake is a viral sensation that is alarmingly ingenuous and unsettlingly hilarious at the same time. And it has only been amplified by the technology of the Internet, that seems to send everything into viral outerspace these days,” Luke Kenny, programming head, 9XO, told IANS.

“In keeping with that spirit, we at 9xO, in our continued effort to be irreverent and iconoclastic, have offered our own humble effort at contributing to the insanity that is ‘Harlem Shake!’ Almost everyone on the floor enthusiastically volunteered to be a part of the effort, with hilarious results,” he added.

The original Internet meme was uploaded by five teenagers from Queensland, Australia, under the name The Sunny Coast Skate. The song begins with a person wearing a helmet and dancing, while his other friends are sitting unaware of him grooving to the song “Harlem Shake” by electronic musician Baauer.

Within the next 15 seconds, the video switches to the whole group of friends doing a crazy convulsive dance. The frenzy is such that it has triggered a series of viral videos – shot in colleges and offices randomly.

According to YouTube trends, as of Valentine’s Day Feb. 14, there were as many as 40,000 different videos that included “Harlem Shake” in their title – somewhat similar to the popularity that South Korean dance track “Gangnam Style” saw when it was posted online in July 2012.

Officials at advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather in Mumbai took to the washroom for the Harlem Shake.

“We had a lot of fun shooting the Harlem Shake in our office. We shot it using a digital camera set on a tripod in the loo. Then we let all hell loose and went nuts dancing our heads off. It was incredible and the best part was that it was done very quickly in a short span of time,” said Lester Fernandes, senior copywriter, Ogilvy & Mather.

Delhi-based software professional Nikita Jain feels jigs like these can add fun to the otherwise boring office enviroment.

“It would be fun to have something like as it will add fun in the daily boring and monotonous atmosphere,” she said.

Are you ready to shake it the ‘Harlem’ way?

IANS 2013-02-19 19:12:02

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