Book: Maldito Coronavirus!
Chapter: Viru Viru Viru Viru: Infectious Rhythms and Música del Coronavirus
This chapter addresses the centrality of rhythmic hooks, dance crazes, and repetition in many examples of música del coronavirus. Popular Caribbean music genres such as reggaeton, hip-hop, and dembow are often characterized by shouted hooks that employ repetition and take advantage of the pre-existing cadence of spoken language to build rhythmically-memorable motifs and achieve commercial success. This chapter examines how words and phrases such as “coronavirus,” “virus,” “pandemia,” “covid diecinueve,” and “cuarentena,” among others, have been adeptly used in the manner described above to create earworms that reproduce the recursive inner voice of an individual living through an all-consuming crisis. The chapter also considers sampled spoken or shouted vocal clips from Caribbean coronavirus songs have been integrated into transnational remix culture, and the ways choreographed dances have contributed to the proliferation of these songs via video sharing social platforms such as Instagram and TikTok. The chapter considers the cultural implications of the commercial success for these varieties of coronavirus music receiving millions of views and listens, and discusses them within the continuum in vernacular music responses among tiny regional audiences confronted with the same set of pandemic challenges.