One of the things I’ve wasted time on recently is watching, and re-watching, perhaps a dozen or so times over the last couple of days, a song I stumbled over on YouTube. It’s a song from the sequel to the Danish animated film Jungledyret, which literally translates to jungle animal. I remember seeing the original in the cinema as a kid, but I haven’t seen the sequel. There’s now also a third Jungledyret film, in CGI this time ’round, and there’s even been an animated series based off the films. So I’m guessing the concept and characters have been at least moderately successful, having spawned an actual franchise.
The song in question features Hugo, the star of the film and the actual jungle animal that the title refers to, and Rita, an urban red fox. Here’s the original Danish version of the song.
And here’s the English dubbed version.
I like them both, but overall the original Danish version is probably the superior one. One factor is the translation, which isn’t always accurate. But for example, the parts where Hugo distracts Rita from her work the original Danish lyrics are “Wulle wulle wap wap, kysse kysse klapp klapp, kile kile”. This directly translates to “Wulle wulle wap wap, kiss kiss clap clap, tickle tickle”. The wulle wap is just nonsense, and the verse is a clever use of – or reference to – Hugo’s theme song from the first film. Anyway, in the English translation it’s “Come and kiss me Rita, nobody is sweeter, tickle tickle”. This doesn’t match that well with the animation when it comes to the clapping parts. Translating for movie media is hard though, as you have to match the pre-existing mouth movements while trying to still convey whatever’s conveyed in the original. And when translating songs, you ideally have to make sure it all rhymes as well.
The song is awfully catchy (although it moderately rips off a couple of other songs, most notably the theme song to the popular Swedish TV-series Pippi Langstrømpe, based on the books by Astrid Lindgren, or the classic children’s song “Se Min Kjole“). I’m tempted to ask a couple of my Danish friends if they can’t hunt down the soundtrack for me, if one actually exists, and maybe the actual film, too! Might require some research from my friends though, especially if trying to find either the possibly existing soundtrack or the definitely existing DVD for under full retail price, which I’m sure they wouldn’t be too keen on conducting.
Ah, and the animation! It’s surprisingly good. A lot of stuff going on on the screen at once, the characters doing discrete li’l movements and facial expressions, adding to the replay value of the scene. Do you notice, for example, how Rita’s ears gently “bounce” up and down when she quickly sits down with Hugo? There’s plenty to be noticed upon each new viewing.
And the lyrics! Pure cartoon poetry, elegantly conveying Hugo and Rita’s sentiments towards one another and their differing attitudes: hard work will lead to a pleasant and love filled home vs. none committing fun and play all day.
Managed to figure out the chords to the song as well, or something close enough, and thus I recorded this cover version of the song in (mostly) Norwegian. It’s a tricky song to perform vocally due to the Hugo’s parts which goes higher and higher (although not in the English translated version, the cheaters!), but I tried to have fun with it; might be easier if you have two people doing the vocals, one for Rita and one for Hugo. It’s also easy to stumble when the song goes up a key (or what the correct term is), at least for us piano noobs.