By MARIO V. DUMAUAL
Edu Manzano is still in a tizzy over ABC program Good Morning America's surprise feature on his Papaya dance craze last weekend.
Edu Manzano is still in a tizzy over ABC program Good Morning America's surprise feature on his Papaya dance craze last weekend. Robin Roberts, one of the hosts of the top morning show, cited its popularity on several international youtube postings and went into a papaya jig, cajoling partner Diane Sawyer and co-hosts Sam Champion and Chris Cuomo to dance the steps.
"I couldn't believe it, talagang tinamaan ako!, " Edu told us after he received a barrage of reactions about the Good Morning America episode aired last March 21. He only got to see the youtube posting of the much-talked about ABC clip after his lenten vacation. " I thought it was animation but no, it was really them! And I have high respect for Diane Sawyer!"
Papaya: The new Macarena
Edu is even prouder of the fact that Roberts mentioned the papaya originated from a game show in the Philippines; and billed the dance step as the replacement of the latin dance Macarena. Even US ambassador to the Philippines Kirstie Kenny danced the papaya with Edu in an episode of Umagang Kay Ganda. That was also posted on youtube along with scores of papaya postings.
"Really amazing. We've been featured by Reuters, Telemundo... palaki nang palaki! I think papaya is it, it's the solution to our problems, " he joked. "Papaya na po ang sagot sa global warming, hahaha."
Team effort behind Papaya dance
The game show king, however, downplays his role in the rise of papaya as a dance phenomenon. "I just happened to be the face of the song and the dance craze. It's really the collaborative effort of director Bobet Vidanes (director of Pilipinas, Game Ka Na Ba?), choreographer Mel Feliciano and radio jock DJ M-0-D. My idea was to dance it by myself and perhaps some contestants but Direk Bobet wanted a more expanded version involving the audience. So that's how it came about."
Universal Records recognized the vast potential of the 70s disco-jazz song and parlayed it as Edu Manzano's Let's do the Papaya, World's Greatest Dance Steps album last year, featuring other vintage disco hits. It is now nearing the quadruple platinum mark (sales of over 100 thousand copies).
The Philippine office of EMI Music Publishing, which authorized the rights to revive the song, lists Papaya's composers as Dan Laustsen, Claus Nielsen, Martin Offesen and Mikkel Schmidt . The Internet also lists a Polish jazz singer Urszula Zadudiak as one of the brains behind Papaya.
Papaya's universal appeal
Edu showed us the text of Urzsula's supposed reaction to the sensational revival of Papaya after she supposedly viewed an internet video posting of Filipino soldiers in full military gear dancing the papaya.
Portions of it read, "It's a paradox because I've been singing it for 30 years . It was a great shock for me, big emotions and for a moment I think that it's gonna start some war. it's amazing when those soldiers in line, prepared to fight and suddenly they put away their weapons and ... it was absolutely amazing ... I love it!"
The papaya craze is another proof the cross over universal appeal of dance music. But Edu also waxes about its socio-cultural significance. " I think it speaks of the resilience of the Filipino people, you know, papaya gives us a reason to laugh, to smile even amid problems plaguing the country."
This is not the end of papaya's bounty. Negotiations are reportedly underway to have Edu guest on "Good Morning America" where he will demonstrate the papaya!