What’s Behind ‘Moye Moye’? Viral Sound on Instagram and Its Alleged Satanic References

4 mins read
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If you’ve found yourself humming “moye moye” without a reason in the last few days, you can rest assured that you’re not the only one. The sound has gone viral on the short video platforms Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts, particularly among Indians and Bangladeshis.

On November 24, the Delhi Police, which routinely uses pop culture references to spread public awareness, used a ‘Moye Moye’ video meme to talk about road safety on X.

Similarly, the West Bengal Police shared a ‘Moye Moye’ meme video on Instagram to spread awareness about appropriate behaviour while riding on a motorcycle. We explain its origins.

What does ‘moye moye’ or ‘moje more’ mean?

The sound comes from the chorus of Serbian singer Teya Dora’s 2023 song ‘Džanum’ (a repetition of the words “moje more”). In Serbian, the term ‘moje more’ means ‘my nightmares’. Dora’s nearly 3-minute long song is a portrayal of a person at their lowest emotionally, with lyrics that aim at conveying despair and misery. That the chorus consists of her repeating “my nightmares” is enough to understand the thrust of the song.

Dora took to Threads to express her gratitude over the song’s popularity and said, “Thank you for appreciating the music. It’s wonderful to see Serbian music spreading all over the world. Every day, I receive love from all across the world. I love you.”

How has ‘moye moye’ become the background to comedy reels?

With South Asian Internet users adding their own touch, of course. Most of the viral comedy reels featuring this song veer towards black humour. Even if people halfway across the globe don’t really know what the song means, they have repurposed it in comedy to great effect.

A typical ‘moye more’ short video will depict a conversation between two people, wherein one will be shown/revealed to be suffering from some issue, or shown to be ‘defective’ in some way (in India, parent-children reels where the children are not studying/getting married are common), at which point they will break out into the ‘moye moye’ dance to stress the sadness of that situation.

Some of the ‘moye moye’ videos also show interactions where a person suddenly realises that the other does not have arms or is disabled. This realisation follows the viral sound.

While it could be interpreted as mocking a disability, some of these videos were initially meant to parody the kind of formulaic ‘life lessons’ videos that often go viral online. These often feature themes meant to evoke an emotional response – how we may not realise that others are facing challenges and how we should be kind to strangers.

But their melodramatic narrative can often come across as simplistic, as well as fake, given they are being created to ultimately acquire easy views. And so, they launched many parodies.

The song’s virality has also ensured covers, and some rather confusing videos using the song in a motivational context.

Other European songs that went viral—and how

Going viral on short-video platforms like TikTok, Instagram reels, and YouTube Shorts means unprecedented popularity for a song, or rather, the few seconds of the song that capture the public imagination on these platforms.

Usually, but not always, the songs that go viral have a catchy, repetitive beat that is pleasant to hear even after several encounters. Or the bits that go viral have peculiar instrumentation or lyrics that add some flavor to the videos – like the ‘moye more’ bit from ‘Džanum’. But there is no one formula for how songs go viral in the first place.

Earlier this year, the song ‘Ooohe, Makeba’, first released in 2015 by French singer-songwriter Jain, went viral on Instagram reels, serving as background music for users’ short videos. The ‘Makeba’ the song mentions is the name of a musician and anti-apartheid activist, Miriam Makeba.

Even in the early days of the Internet in 2004, a Romanian song called ‘Dragostea Din Tei’ (released in 2003) from a Moldovan boy band called O-Zone became popular in the English-speaking world after an American vlogger, Gary Brolsma, uploaded a video of him dancing to the song.

It is now recognized as one of the best-selling singles of all time, selling over ten million copies worldwide. It has also spawned countless versions, derivatives and covers, apart from being sampled in various popular songs across the globe. In East and Southeast Asia, the song has been covered and sampled by various artists, and it sold over 4 million copies in Japan in 2003, making it a best-selling single there.

A year before ‘Dragostea Din Tei’, a Spanish song by a girl group took the world by storm, with its lyrics and dance moves defining the better part of the early 2000s. The song was ‘Aserejé (The Ketchup Song)’ by Las Ketchup, and it went viral to such an extent that people who grew up in that era associate it with their childhood/adolescent experiences around the world.

A fun fact about the song is that its chorus, with its catchy lyrics regardless of the language barrier, is actually gibberish! The lines “Aserejé ja de jé de jebe, tu de jebere sebiunouva, majabi an de bugui, an de buididipí” are an approximate Spanish transliteration of American hip-hop group Sugarhill Gang’s song ‘Rapper’s Delight’. which goes, “I said a hip hop the hippie the hippie, to the hip hip hop, a you don’t stop, the rock it to the bang bang boogie, say up jumped the boogie, to the rhythm of the boogie, the beat”. The American song is also referenced in ‘Aserejé’.

The song has also been involved in Internet conspiracy theories that its gibberish chorus lyrics actually contain references to Satanism.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Kashmir Monitor staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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