15 JUNE 2015


Getting over 600 million YouTube hits in a few months, that swift Brazilian song has topped music charts worldwide.

"Oh If I Catch You" by young artist Michel Telo must have a special nuance in its local culture. Yet the song hit number one in over 25 countries, most of which do not speak or even understand Portuguese -- like Germany, Russia, and Switzerland. It took over all other hits at the Latin Music Awards this year in Miami, to the point that the ever-participatory Pitbull, who shared hits with most Spanish stars, joined Telo in presenting it to an enthusiastic public. Google brings it up as the first searched item after "Ai." European - and world - public may have first noticed it when Brazilian football (soccer) star Neymar started performing it to other players during internationally viewed games. Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo and Brazilian colleague Marcelo celebrated a scored goal by dancing it together.

Initially some sophisticated Brazilians, especially in the area of San Paola, treated it as unrepresentative of Brazilian traditional rhythm. It was too simple, too repetitive, and too folksy. Yet when classical music Maestro Andre Rieu performed there to a raptured elite audience, he chose to end his enchanting concert with every woman on her feet thumbing in the air, twisting and shouting: "Ai Se Eu Te Pego." No young Brazilian or Portuguese woman would be caught unmoved as that song is played anywhere.

It was described as a new anthem for women, bubblegum for teens, and a cautionary tip for men. We could list the lyrics from "Nossa, Nossa" to "Felicia, Felicia." But nothing like the full swing.