The chorus to Chihuahua popped into my head as I sped along the motorway.
It immediately had all the attributes of a successful kids’ song… catchy, funny and potentially annoying.
My brother’s chihuahua is the size of an acorn, but his personality is like a fully-grown oak tree. Even at the advanced age of 133 (dog years), Pancho is still barking out orders.
Chihuahuas get their name from a city in North-Western Mexico. The great Maya civilisation (known for its writing, art, architecture, mathematics, calendar and astronomical system) viewed dogs as guardians of the afterlife. Chihuahuas (or rather, their ancestors the Techichi dog) were often sacrificed, mummified and buried along with their owners.
I knew nothing of this at the time. I was just driving along, enjoying repeating the word Chihuahua. It rolled around my mouth for a week before I came up with three Dr Suess-like verses, featuring a dog, a fish and a bad-tempered cat. Together they formed an animal band and performed the song Chihuahua.
I was working on a new album (thanks NZ on AIR) and sent 11 new fleaBITE demos to my Australian collaborator Adam Page. Adam singled out Chihuahua as the song most likely to become a hit, and on his suggestion, I enlisted kids (Bruno, Fern and Elsa) to sing the chorus.
When it came time to mix, Joost and Chris from Big Pop Studios again chose Chihuahua as their pick of the bunch. I wondered if there was an archaic law that decreed that songs that are the simplest and quickest to write are the most popular?
Lockdown in New Zealand kicked off on March 25, 2020.
I decided to take advantage of the fact that children were now captives in their own homes and make a live-action dance video. I invited kids I knew (and liked) to learn our choreographed Chihuahua dance steps or just invent their own crazy moves.
Award-winning film-maker Grant Lahood came on board as director.
I originally met Grant back in the days when I performed with comedy musical act When The Cat’s Been Spayed. Grant directed two of our music clips and went on to win prestigious Jury prizes at Cannes (twice!) for his short films The Singing Trophy and Lemming Aid.
Two weeks later footage poured in. Grant edited it all together and it looks fab!
Thanks to everyone involved (including the poor old Techichis).
And now, it gives us great pleasure to perform for you… Chihuahua!!!!