Daddy Yankee gets the world dancing again with viral song

The Puerto Rican king of reggaeton who co-wrote “Despacito” has people around the world moving their hips with his latest song, “Dura.” (File photo: Reuters)
Updated 18 February 2018
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Daddy Yankee gets the world dancing again with viral song

MIAMI: It’s another viral dancing sensation. And once again, it’s from Daddy Yankee.
The Puerto Rican king of reggaeton who co-wrote “Despacito” has people around the world moving their hips with his latest song, “Dura.”
Millions of people have clicked on online videos inspired by “Dura” as aspiring dancers around the world — from fresh-faced children to top models to endearing elderly people — find their groove, with varying degrees of skill or stiffness.
“I’m beyond honored and feel very blessed. You make music for an audience,” Daddy Yankee told AFP. “And the audience has made this song in their own organic, spontaneous way.”
Daddy Yankee helped bring reggaeton — a Latin dance music, with roots in Jamaican dancehall and the style of hip-hop, that was historically associated with the marginalized Afro-Puerto Rican community — to a global audience starting with his 2004 hit “Gasolina.”
But “Dura” marks a fresh turn in the 41-year-old singer and rapper’s career as the song has taken off based largely on how fans appropriate it.
“Why have so many people — even babies — liked it?” he asked rhetorically. “Well, some things you can’t explain. It’s the magic of music, a magic that just happens and that you can’t understand.”
He has one theory. “Dura,” he said, harks back to “the rhythm and nostalgia for music of the late 1980s and early 1990s, that essence of reggae that inspired reggaeton.”
Daddy Yankee, whose real name is Ramon Luis Ayala, released “Dura” on January 18. The next day, Colombian model Andrea Valdiri posted a video on Instagram, barefoot in sweatpants and a loose white top, as she danced to “Dura” with her hands rubbing sensually around her body.
The video has been viewed nearly nine million times on her Instagram account and in Daddy Yankee’s repost. It also set off a rush of new homemade interpretations of the song — posted under hashtag #DuraChallenge.
Daddy Yankee’s original video has been seen nearly 200 million times on YouTube.
More recently, the 25-year-old Valdiri has been eclipsed as the #DuraChallenge star by a nonagenarian.
Rachel Phillipsen, a 90-year-old New Yorker of Puerto Rican origin, follows a zumba instructor with impressive rhythm and coordination as Daddy Yankee sings in Spanish, “I like how you move that ram-pam-pam.” The video has generated 5.5 million clicks.
“There are no excuses not to dance. The excuse is all in your mind,” the zumba instructor, Rina Elena Martinez (@rina_25), told AFP. The Venezuelan appears in the video shot in a gym in Miami.
Daddy Yankee agreed. “The 90-year-old grandmother was phenomenal,” he said, adding: “No doubt that video gives encouragement to the whole world.”
Celebrities who have taken the #DuraChallenge include Venezuelan model Diosa Canales, Dominican reggaeton singer Natti Natasha and the Puerto Rican former Miss Universe Zuleyka Rivera, who also appeared in the “Despacito” video.
“Dura,” which literally means “hard” but could also mean “hot” when it comes to appearance, is an ode to a beautiful woman.
“You’re one tough mama,” Daddy Yankee sings, with lines such as “If it’s a crime to be so beautiful / I’ll arrest you in my bed and put you in handcuffs.”
Musically, the song returns to early reggaeton without the pop melodies that mega-stars such as Shakira, Enrique Iglesias or “Despacito” co-writer Luis Fonsi deployed to bring the genre to the anglo pop world.
In a retro video, Daddy Yankee and his cohorts dance around well-trodden streets covered with vibrant street art. Women, who so often take passive roles in highly sexual songs, assume the lead in showing their moves.
“We were inspired by the bright colors of the ‘90s and a bit of the era’s fashion. I wanted to make this fun and to show that the song could empower women,” Daddy Yankee said.
The video was directed by Carlos Perez, the Puerto Rican who shot “Despacito” and has worked with Ricky Martin and Marc Anthony.
“Despacito” also spawned spoofs and has made history as the most-watched video on YouTube with more than 4.8 billion views.
Helped by a remix featuring Justin Bieber, “Despacito” tied a record by spending 16 weeks on top of the benchmark Billboard singles chart in the United States — a major feat in a country where non-English songs rarely fare well.
“Dura” as of Friday was number 10 on Spotify’s global singles chart and number one in several Latin American countries.


Chechen strongman makes Egypt’s Salah honorary citizen

Updated 23 June 2018
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Chechen strongman makes Egypt’s Salah honorary citizen

  • After his team crashed out of the World Cup, Egypt’s star player Mohamed Salah has won a consolation prize in the form of honorary citizenship of Chechnya
  • Kadyrov, supported by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, rules Chechnya with an iron fist, drawing constant condemnation from human rights groups

MOSCOW: After his team crashed out of the World Cup, Egypt’s star player Mohamed Salah has won a consolation prize in the form of honorary citizenship of Chechnya.
Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov wrote on Telegram that he had presented the Liverpool star with the honorary title while hosting a dinner for the Egypt team, whose World Cup training base is in the Chechen capital Grozny.
“Mohamed Salah is an honorary citizen of Chechnya! That’s right!” Kadyrov wrote late Friday.
“Tonight I signed a decree to grant the high honor to the great footballer who plays for Egypt and Liverpool.”
Kadyrov, supported by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, rules Chechnya with an iron fist, drawing constant condemnation from human rights groups.
He is known as an ardent football fan and in 2013 took to the public address system during a match involving Chechen team Akhmat (formerly Terek) to publicly insult the referee.
Salah has been photographed smiling and clasping hands with Kadyrov during the tournament.
Egypt crashed out of the World Cup after losing to Russia 3-1 on Tuesday, with Salah returning to action for the first time in three weeks following a shoulder injury but unable to save his team. The Egyptians play their final match against Saudi Arabia on Monday.
Kadyrov said that at “a gala dinner that I gave for the Egypt team I presented Mohamed Salah with a copy of my decree and a lapel badge. This is a well-deserved honor!“
The Chechen leader has previously presented French actor Gerard Depardieu with the same honorary title.
He also said that he was confident that Akhmat would play a friendly with the Egyptian national team in Grozny at some future date.
Kadyrov said Salah had praised the “wonderfully warm and good welcome” the team received in Grozny.