03/18/2013 08:48 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

A Catalan 'Waka Waka'

This one requires some set up. As someone who is invited to many different countries to cover their culture, I frequently find myself listening to music that I am unfamiliar with and unknowledgeable about. So I approach the journey, trying to be open minded, and to learn.

When I was invited to the Fira Mediterrania de Manresa I initially thought I would be covering a world music festival, and I recognized quite a few of the artists that had been booked. But after just a day, I realized that my story was more likely to focus on the culture that was hosting me, specifically, I was in Catalunya, and I knew next to nothing about that.

It was suggested to me that if I really wanted an immersion, I should check out the performance tent that was showing mostly local bands and where a competition was being held. So my first night, I wended my way there, and here, dear friends, is where the fun really began. The first few bands were quite earnest (there was a lovely female a capella group) and all referenced Catalan folk music in some way. And then there were THESE guys.

Els Laietans play the gralle, a shawm-like instrument that is an integral part of the local music. It is nasal and really loud.

They came out and immediately upped the energy in the room with the first tune they played: the theme from the A-Team. I started to feel a touch of the surreal.... where was I, who were these guys, and I just HAD to CATCH THIS.

So here is Els Laietans doing their second number, "Waka Waka," choreography and all.
Hey, Shakira, are you reading this? Bet you never heard the song played quite like this before.

Els Laietans at the Fira Mediterrània de Manresa from Michal Shapiro on Vimeo.

Apologies about the way the video sometimes goes in and out of focus. As you can see the drum was amplified, and it was really shaking the floor. So it's not my camcorders losing focus they are just responding to the vibrations.

Oh, and by the way, they won the competition.