Baby Shark's next video will be in Navajo
The Navajo Nation Museum in Arizona is partnering with South Korean entertainment company Pinkfong to release a video of the viral children’s hit “Baby Shark” in the Navajo language.
Werman: If you have kids, “Baby Shark” has probably become a permanent earworm. The song and an animated video were released by South Korean educational company Pinkfong in 2017. Since then, it's become an international hit translated into a bunch of different languages.
There will soon be another version of the viral tune, this one in the Navajo language. Pinkfong is partnering with the Navajo Nation to release it.
Manny Wheeler is the director of the Navajo Nation Museum and he joins us from Window Rock, Arizona. How did the idea to do this come about?
Wheeler: Well, we have a few movies under our belt that we've had the pleasure of helping dub. We dubbed Star Wars: Episode 4 in Navajo. That was our first project. So, one of the things our team really wanted to cover was something that was early childhood. Pinkfong was a very high candidate for us and we reached out to them and they they responded relatively quickly.
Werman: Manny, your museum, the Navajo Nation Museum, works to preserve and showcase Navajo culture. How does making this Baby Shark song do that?
Wheeler: By going directly to the core of our culture — and that's our language. To truly understand ourselves, we really need to understand our language. There are philosophical teachings that are embedded in our language about our culture.
Werman: What kind of impact do you hope this all actually has on the language?
Manny: There is no easy way out of our predicament of language loss, and that's across the board for all native tribes in this country and probably around the world. Ultimately, it's to bring awareness that we must start doing things about our language, that we must be conscious. And these projects have absolutely hit a home run doing that.
Werman: Manny, help us out with a little Navajo lesson. How do you say "shark" in Navajo?
Wheeler: "Łóó’ Hashkéii.” And it literally means “fish with a bad temper.”
Werman: I have to ask you this, Manny: Are you prepared for hundreds of aggravated Navajo parents who cannot get the song out of their heads?
Wheeler: I would say that I think parents are going to be happy that children are going to be speaking Navajo, even in this simplest form.