Why Catalan separatists are singing a traditional German children′s song | Music | DW | 17.04.2018
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Why Catalan separatists are singing a traditional German children's song

A dusty German children's song has gained new life after Catalans misheard the lyrics as "Viva Puigdemont" and turned it into a viral sensation. The hashtag #BiBaButzemann now leads to posts from the separatist movement.

A German children's song has become a beloved anthem of Catalan separatists. A woman listening to the radio broadcaster RAC-1 noticed a lyrical similarity between the chorus "Bi-Ba-Butzemann" and the chant, "Viva Puigdemont" ("Long live Puigdemont," a reference to the ousted president of Catalonia).

Read more: Catalans rally for freedom and return of independence leaders

After the broadcaster played the song repeatedly, the original German folk song went viral on You Tube and Twitter.

Although Germans would say you'd have to bend your ear quite a bit to hear "Viva Puigdemont" in the lyrics, in Spanish, the V and B are pronounced similarly, turning "Bi-Ba" into "Viva."

People in Catalonia went on to adapt the text at demonstrations held over the weekend, where the melody was played by a variety of musical instruments, including the accordion and drum duet seen in the tweet below.

In one video montage making the rounds online under #bibabutzemann, clips of Spanish Prime Minister Mariano, dancing at a wedding, are spliced with the song over the top.

The original song

In the German traditional folk song, children sing the lyrics "Es tanzt ein Bi-Ba-Butzemann" in alliteration as they tell of a Bogeyman who comes in at night. He dances and shakes his hips in the hallways of a house just before bedtime, distributing apples from a sack to all the good kids.

First appearing in Germany in a book by one of the Grimm brothers in 1808, the song was used as a warning to stay away from the demons, who will tempt them.

ct/eg (with dpa)

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