January 15th, 2007

LatinAmerican YouTubosphere on Lock

Sin duda, William Hung ain’t got nothin’ on Ecuador’s latest YouTuboSensación — Delfin Quishpe.

I learned of Delfin via an Ecuadorian blogger named Jaime, who after seeing my own post (or two) on the subject, pointed me to a piece he had himself written recently about the ol’ Perreo Chacalonero. Here’s how Jaime put me on to Delfin:

Now, I’m not sure about “most watched” (except maybe in Ecuador) but the version of the video to which Jamie pointed me had indeed been viewed SEVERAL HUNDRED THOUSAND times, and it was but one of many, many copies floating around (and generating mucho discusión).

Here’s the original video which caused quite a stir. Seeming at once exploitative and naive — perhaps not unlike our own prez’s response — it mashes up 9/11 images of the Twin Towers (“Torres Gemelas”) as well as news footage of related events as it superimposes Delfin — along with contact information for bookings, naturalmente — singing a “tecnofolklore” tribute to the day that cannot be forgotten®. Among other details, you might note — as Jaime pointed out to me — that Delfin seems to go to clutch his head toward the beginning of the video, only to smooth back his hair in an apparently characteristically-local gesture of vanity. (Warning: although disturbing in any number of ways, one of the video’s most insidious qualities is that the song actually will get stuck in one’s head. I’m humming it right now, and there’s no making it go away.)

More interesting than the song/video itself, “Torres Gemelas” has inspired a rash of tributes, most of which have been reposted — that’s right — directly on Delfin’s blog. (Smart dude.) To wit:

Moreover, some talented mashup video artists have clearly taken Delfin’s aesthetic and run with it, hilariously —

Here’s one of Delfin in concert:

And another, wherein Delfin duets with MC Hammer:

I’m still working to make sense of all of this, to the extent that there is sense to make. (And indeed, working on an article on the LatinAmerican YouTubosphere more generally. See also. And.) But, in short, it seems to me that el phenomeno Delfin offers but a glimpse of la punta del iceberg for DIY media in an increasingly wired world. Really, who needs American Idols when you got the global YouTubosphere to watch and remix?

Delfin hasta el fin !!


  • 1. john  |  January 16th, 2007 at 7:25 am

    wayne, great post– I’m glad you’ve got some Mono connections.
    I posted some thoughts on the Delfin phenomena over at my neck of the internets.

  • 2. dm  |  January 16th, 2007 at 5:18 pm

    is there an english translation of the lyrics anywhere?

  • 3. wayneandwax  |  January 16th, 2007 at 6:32 pm

    couldn’t find one, dm, so here’s a quick’n’dirty attempt by yours truly, whose espanol es muy rusty (spanish lyrics via):

    El martes 11 de septiembre de 2001, siendo las 8 y 46 de la mañana. Estados Unidos sufrió la mayor ofensiva de su historia que culminó con la destrucción de las torres gemelas en Nueva York

    [On Tuesday, September 11, at 8:46am the US was victim to the biggest attack in its history which culminated with the destruction of the twin towers in New York.]

    NO puede serrrrr… Noooooooooo

    [It cannot be … Nooooooo!]

    Todo el planeta se conmocionó… Dios Mio Aiudameeeeeeee

    [The entire planet is under commotion. My God, help me!]

    Cuando te fui a buscar, no creí lo que estaba viendo, las torres en llamas, llenas de humo negro. Y tu en ese lugar. Ay Dios Mio. Ayayaiii

    [When I went to look for you, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, the towers in flames, full of black smoke. And you in that place. Oh my God. Ayayay!]

    Desde Ecuador Sudamerica, te cantaaa: Deeeeeelfín.

    [From Ecuador, South America, singing to you: Delfin!]

    Cuando me fui a Nueva York/ Pensé encontrarme con mi amorcito

    [When I went to New York / I thought I would encounter my dear love]

    Ella vivía en Nueva York/ Y trabajaba en Torres Gemelas

    [She was living in New York / and working in the twin towers]

    Una llamada la recibí/ Solo me dijo “Adiós mi amor”

    [I recieved a call / All it said was “Good-bye, my love”]

    Un mal recuerdo yo la viví/ Los terroristas lo exterminaron

    [A bad memory I lived / The terrorists destroyed it]

    ¿Quién sabe la verdad? ¿Quién lo hizó? ¿Y Por qué lo hizo?

    [Who knows the truth? Who did it? And why did they do it?]

    No puede ser Dios MIo, Aiúdameeeeee

    [It cannot be. My God, help me!]

    Este momento no le salvó/ ni el dinero ni la religión

    [Right now nothing can save her / neither money nor religion]

    Se que te quedas ya sepultada/ en los escombros de torres gemelas

    [You are already buried / in the rubble of the twin towers]

    Cuanto quería estar contigo/ Nunca pensaba que vais a morir

    [How I want to be with you / I never thought that you would die]

    Mi osito lindo no puede ser/ Solo llorando podré olvidaar

    [My pretty little bear (?), it cannot be / only crying am I able to forget]

    Rindo homenaje a todos los compatriotas que perdieron sus vidas el 11 de septiembre del 2001 por buscar un sueño americano… aiaiaiiiiiiiiiiiiiii

    [I pay tribute to all the people who lost their lives on 9/11 looking for the American dream]

    Para todos los amigos en los Estados Unidos… Escúchelooooo con fuerza compadreeeee.

    [For all my friends in the US … listen closely, my friends.]

    Desde Ecuador… con mucho amor…. Delfín hasta el FIN.

    [From Ecuador … with much love … Delfin until the end!]


    so, as you can see, it’s a fairly heartfelt song, which makes it all the more uncomfortable to ridicule (which plenty of people are clearly doing). it’s a ridiculous video, though, nevertheless: the low-fi quality, the over-the-top sentimentality, the poor syncing, the underlying exploitation — all of these things make it difficult to take seriously.

    and yet, there’s a serious point underlying this: a number of the service workers who died in the towers on 9/11 were Ecuadorian immigrants. and apparently, Delfin was close to at least one of them, the wife of a friend (from whose perspective, perhaps, part of the song is sung).

  • 4. Vamanos  |  January 16th, 2007 at 6:55 pm

    That whole thing is weird and I don’t understand.

    Did his girl actually die or is it just a song ?

    If its the truth, then its quite odd how party party the music is.

    Nice post.

  • 5. wayneandwax  |  January 16th, 2007 at 7:00 pm

    Good point, Vamanos. I forgot to mention that the party-party quality of the music further adds to the video’s cognitive dissonance. Of course, for people who are into tecnocumbia/tecnofolklore, there might be a fair amount of flexibility around what kind of themes can be presented despite what sounds to outsiders like “upbeat” music. I’m sure we could think of plenty of examples of dark songs sung to “major” accompaniment, and vice versa.

    And, as I mentioned above, although he sings as if his own “amorcito” died in 9/11, he has indicated elsewhere that it was the wife of a friend of his.

  • 6. Ieda  |  January 16th, 2007 at 10:33 pm

    Thanks for the visit.
    Just love you site. Have been learning tons.
    (didn’t know you spoke Portuguese)


  • 7. wayneandwax  |  January 17th, 2007 at 12:09 am

    Thanks, Ieda. Good to see you on the bogosphere. And for the record, I don’t speak Portuguese, though my Spanish gets me a fair way through your posts.

    Let’s find some time soon to talk funk. Lookin fwd>>

  • 8. Wayne Marshall Samples th&hellip  |  January 17th, 2007 at 10:58 pm

    […] January 16th, 2007 Just in time for the inauguration of (UofI grad) Rafael Correa, Wayne Marshall takes a look at El Delfin, the most popular Ecuadorean on the internets this side of Jefferson Perez or Tin Delgado (who no doubt slipped a few notches following his role in the brawl del ano). From Wayne’s (last year I mentioned his’s analysis of reggaeton) summary: Seeming at once exploitative and naive — perhaps not unlike our own prez’s response — it mashes up 9/11 images of the Twin Towers (”Torres Gemelas”) as well as news footage of related events as it superimposes Delfin — along with contact information for bookings, naturalmente — singing a tecno-cumbia tribute to the day that cannot be forgotten®. […]

  • 9. ripley  |  January 20th, 2007 at 2:33 pm

    holy moly. coming late.. but cognitive dissonance indeed.

    sincerity there may be, but it may not be enough. And yes it is already stuck in my head. Noooooo!

  • 10. bw  |  January 23rd, 2007 at 11:52 am

    now I am GLAD it took me a week to read this.. caus it was a week without that techno beat throbbing in my head!

    what a great post,

    dum-da-da-da dum-da-da-da

  • 11. Jaime/MONO  |  January 28th, 2007 at 2:20 pm

    So hello. Im so happy Wayne reported (and expanded) my finding about the Delfin phenomena and many people have been reacting since then. Perhaps my biggest doubt (and maybe Wayne’s) about Delfin’s was his “authenticity”. The torres gemelas video is hilarious, exploitative and ridiculous, and it gets kind of hard to find out the thruth solely based on internet ramblings. Recently i contacted Delfin Quishpe manager (!) and, to make it short, he said Delfin is a “professional performing artist”, from the town of Guamote, located on the Chimborazo province in Ecuadorian highlands. Tha Delfin explosion was basically a “hit of luck”, because the association of Tecno-Cumbia Ecuadorian Artists uploaded the video on to their website and after a couple of weeks it made its way to Youtube via some Chileans. These people from Chile (not Ecuador) started to promote Delfin as a joke, built a blog http://www.delfinhastaelfin.blogspot.com where they upload fake videos, jokes, snippets of interviews and start mocking campaigns like the whole Viña del mar thing, in which they collect signatures to bring Delfin Quishpe to the big Viña music festival. Supposedly, none of this is real and the only “original” Delfin Quispe website is http://www.delfinecuador.4t.com/index.html as well as his myspace, http://www.myspace.com/delfin_hasta_el_fin

    Although i find itkind of bizarre and sometimes “jokey” (is that a word??) ok so this is for now. Keep you posted on more Delfin findings and more bizarre Latinamerican stuff. Hasta las torres, siempre!!!

  • 12. wayneandwax  |  March 16th, 2007 at 2:26 pm

    something of an update here.

  • 13. FFQEF  |  March 18th, 2007 at 5:59 pm

    Yo vivo En USA y presisamente en NY donde esto sucedio me gustaria agarrar de los huevos al creador de esta Cancion con Tono y Musica divertido y llevarlo al lugar donde todo esto sucedio y haserlo leer como hasta hoy se leen notas de amor de seres queridos que an perdido a alguien alli en ese lugar ,y que vea como aun gente despues de ya tiempo de haber sucedido esto Madres Hijos o Esposas aun estan alli esperando encontrar

    una respuesta a lo sucedido, Yo conosi Bomberos Policias y Medicos que murieron tratando de salvar a gente que no conosian y muchos Ciudadanos tambien ,Alli hubo Muerte señores y de la mas fea y de gente que no estaba en conflicto con nadie que estaba trabajando y muchos emigrantes lo hasian para enviar ayuda a su gente en su pais ,me hubiera gustado llevar al creador de esta cancion al lugar cuando rercien sucedio y que

    vea gente destrozada mutilada desesperada y que hubiera podido sentir los gritos desesperados de la gente o el olor a carne quemada y si despues de ver y sentir el sufrimiento humano del projimo inocente quisiera preguntarle si aun le divierte su cancion MAL NACIDO!!!! Pd yo agradesco a Dios que no me toco perder a nadie en ese lugar


  • 14. Paul  |  March 19th, 2007 at 10:15 pm

    Mi osito lindo no puede ser/ Solo llorando podré olvidaar

    [My pretty little bear (?), it cannot be / only crying am I able to forget]

    It’s not “Mi osito lindo…” it is “Diosito lindo..”. In english “My little God…” diminutives are very often used in the quichua world


  • 15. wayneandwax.com » L&hellip  |  March 15th, 2008 at 3:48 pm

    […] Monologo, who reported here that the “Torres Gemelas” blogstravaganza — which continues apace — was a […]

  • 16. Hernan -Musica Ecuatoriana  |  June 6th, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    Hi friend , I am ecuadorian and thanks for share this post


I'm a techno-musicologist, internet annotator, imagined community organizer.

I left my <3 in the digital global, but I reside in Cambridge, MA, where I'm from.

I represent like that.

wayne at wayneandwax dot com

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