The Chopstick Brothers are a comedy duo with a film out in Chinese cinemas called 老男孩之猛龙过江 (Old Boy The Way of The Dragon).
In order to promote the film they released a single called 小苹果 (Little Apple).
Little Apple is an annoyingly catchy melody with simple chords and its own dance designed to appeal to plaza dancing ‘aunties’ (middle-aged women). That has mean’t the the Chopstick Brothers work has gone everywhere.
Here is a video of Little Apple plaza dancers, see the age range of the participants and how seriously this is taken
As the Australian news video alludes to, these groups dance to music played on a booming system built into a porters trolley that seems to be accentuated by the hard concrete and glass surfaces surrounding ‘private public’ spaces where they perform.
Little Apple has an almost EDM quality so that it reproduces well on the these systems. Because of these characteristics Little Apple is similar to one of the annoyingly catchy summer pop records that tend to break in the west: Shanks and Bigfoot – Sweet Like Chocolate, Los Del Rio – Macarena, Henry Hadaway’s version of Chicken Dance credited as The Tweets – The Birdie Song etc.
And like Psy’s Gangnam Style before it, it has morphed into a number of parodies and became a meme in its own right – with brands getting on board. At the moment the People’s Liberation Army are encouraging different provinces to create their own recruitment video based on the song.
My favourite version was shot in Liverpool by Shaun Gibson who uses the video to tell a tale from Journey To The West (the video is on Chinese site 56.cn so you need to be patient in allowing it to load). More China related content here.