While Brazil is not the only country in the world struggling to vaccinate its population against the novel coronavirus, it might be the first one to have a vaccine awareness anthem hitting the music charts — and promoting trust in vaccinations along the way.
The song is titled “Vacina Butantan,” by MC Fioti, a spinoff of Fioti’s “Bum Bum Tam Tam,” a Brazilian funk song that came out in 2017 in Portuguese and became the first Brazilian music video to reach 1 billion views on YouTube. The original song, which is lyrically pretty simple, features MC Fioti surrounded by women swinging their hips and dancing to the beat.
The lyrics are: "bum bum tam tam." In Portuguese, bumbum refers to a butt and tam tam refers to the beat of the drum.
Here's the thing: "Bum Bum Tam Tam" sounds really similar to Butantan, the name of the São Paulo-based research institution that has been testing COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness and producing millions of doses of the Chinese CoronaVac vaccine.
Fioti’s revised version of "Bum Bum Tam Tam" keeps the original melody but the lyrics are not all about the booty. Instead, the remix champions COVID-19 vaccination and the Butantan Institute. The lyrics say: “The prominent vaccine will cure us of the virus and save a lot of people.”
The song was released along with a new video which starts with Fioti asking two wishes to a genie — a cure for the coronavirus and peace and love for humanity. The video was filmed at The Butantan Institute.
In one scene, Fioti is in a lab coat, looking through a microscope and singing. In another, he is dancing with some of the researchers on the roof of the Butantan Institute.
“Our funk is contributing to medicine and that has never happened in history,” Fioti, 26, whose given name is Leandro Aparecido Ferreira, told the BBC Brazil.
The video has become a viral sensation and has taken Fioti's sexually charged hit "Bum Bum Tam Tam" from objectification to promoting vaccination.