As the coronavirus spreads around the world — forcing government officials to declare states of emergency, shutting down entertainment events and creating a trove of memes — it has also sparked an unlikely new trend: catchy songs meant to educate but also make you sing and dance.
Some are parodies and have racist or xenophobic lyrics that play up stereotypes about Asian culture, but others serve as public service announcements about how to keep the virus at bay.
From China and Vietnam to Dominican Republic and Mexico, here are some songs inspired by the coronavirus.
“El Coronavirus,” by El Capi, a band from Oaxaca, Mexico, got playful with its COVID-19 jam.
The man at center stage in his buttoned-up white shirt, black pants and a gray blazer swings his arms and sings in Spanish: “The whole world is talking about the relative of la chikungunya / It’s a rare and strange sickness that’s hitting across the city.”
In the background, his bandmates play their instruments in the middle of a street, where cars and motorcycles zoom past, before the camera cuts to a scene of the men drinking Corona beers. Then the chorus: “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.”
The song ends with a message urging listeners to take care and stay healthy: “Que tenga cuidado por todo el mundo, compadre” (“Be careful across the world, my friend”).
“La Cumbia del Coranavirus” by Mister Cumbia shares a similar message.
The U.S.-based artist sings that the world is on edge because of a sickness that broke out in China, then urges listeners to be on alert: “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!” he sings in Spanish.
Mister Cumbia then reminds viewers to wash their hands, avoid touching their faces and to use disinfectant. “Es muy efectivo,” he sings.
The song was released in late January, and it has since been used in numerous PSA videos, including one of healthcare workers dancing in front of a hospital demonstrating proper hand-washing.
Vietnam has ramped up its efforts to stop the spread of coronavirus with this PSA earworm.
According to Billboard, the song “Ghen Co 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. Late-night TV host John Oliver was also impressed by the song. He highlighted it in a recent episode of his HBO show and called it “incredible” and a “club banger” that “absolutely slaps!”
And we don’t disagree.
The track got so much attention that it started a TikTok challenge.
Dominican singer Yofrangel launched a banging single last month titled “Corona Virus,” which has since garnered more than a million views on YouTube. The Jamaican-influenced Dembow track starts with Yofrangel violently coughing in an ambulance surrounded by nurses and doctors. A chorus of fake sneezes follows, and Yofrangel tells listeners in Spanish to cover their mouth and not get other people sick.
“Cuídate, que anda por allí, coronavirus,” he sings in the chorus. (“Take care, the coronavirus is out there.”)
The China Media Group also released its own song last month on the deadly virus. Titled “Believe Love Will Triumph,” the sentimental song in Cantonese features an all-star cast and is being deemed the country’s “new coronavirus anthem.”
The tune is meant to “boost the Chinese people’s confidence and determination in curbing the novel coronavirus outbreak,” the video’s caption says.