The Ketchup Song (Aserejé)

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"The Ketchup Song (Aserejé)"
Las ketchup.jpg
Single by Las Ketchup
from the album Hijas del Tomate
B-side "Remix"
Released 10 June 2002 (2002-06-10)
Recorded 2002
Studio Lolmang
Length 3:32
Songwriter(s) Manuel Ruiz
Producer(s) Manuel Ruiz
Music video
"The Ketchup Song (Asereje) (Spanglish Version)" on YouTube

"The Ketchup Song (Aserejé)" is the debut single by Spanish pop group Las Ketchup, taken from their debut studio album Hijas del Tomate (2002). It was released on 10 June 2002, and became an international hit later that year.

In addition to the original Spanish version, the song exists in forms with Spanglish and Portuguese verses, although the nonsensical chorus is identical in all three versions. This song reached number-one in the United Kingdom, as well as 26 other countries worldwide. As of 2006, the song has sold over 7 million copies worldwide, making it one of the best-selling singles of all time.[1]

The song tells the story of a pimp-like gypsy (afrogitano) with mystical qualities. Just after its release, the song became controversial because of conspiracy theories that it had cryptic references to Satanism, the devil and the Inferno.[2] The song's dance routine was a novelty in the early 2000s. Furthermore, the song and its dance moves were featured in the 2012 game Just Dance 4.


Las Ketchup was first introduced to Columbia Records through Shaketown Music, a small record label in Córdoba, Andalusia, who sent out the group's demo to a number of different record companies.[3] The demo featured the songs "Asereje" and "Kusha Las Payas". When A&R Javier Portugués and Columbia director Raúl López listened to the demo, they stared at each other in delight exclaiming, "Wow, this is fantastic!"[3] At first the intention was to arrange a distribution deal with ShakeTown Music but upon hearing the song they realised its international potential and so negotiated for Las Ketchup to sign with Sony.[3]


The song is written in the key of Eb minor and follows the chord progression of Ebm–Db–B–Abm–Bb7 in the chorus. The pre-chorus uses an altered chord (B minor), or a modal interchange, as the cadence.[4] According to, the song features "mixed acoustic and electric instrumentation, humorous lyrics, and electric guitar riffs".[5]


The Ketchup Song is about a man called Diego who enters a night club. The DJ, being a friend of his, puts Diego's favorite song on, “Rapper's Delight” by the Sugarhill Gang. Diego becomes excited and tries to sing but is unable to do so due to the fact that he is a non native English speaker. Instead he sings the following to the lines of the Sugarhill Gang's song:

I said a hip hop, The hippie to the hippie: Aserejé, ja deje tejebe tude jebere
the hip-hip-hop, a you don't stop: tu de jebere sebiunouva (seibiunouva)
the rock it to the bang bang boogie say up jumped the boogie: majabi (majavi) an de bugui
to the rhythm of the boogie, the beat: an de buididipí

Music video[edit]

The music video was shot at Palm Beach, Estepona in Spain, at Chiringuito bar.

The video starts with the female band members laying out a carpet on the ground and putting the bar stools on display to set up their musical show. They then serve people exotic beverages at the beach bar. A male bar attendant with dreadlocks enthusiastically pours drink in a glass and juggles a bottle around. Meanwhile, more and more beach-goers are shown drawing in to the bar, to watch the trio's performance. In some shots of the video, the trio would be performing near wooden window frames which are laid individually on the sandy beach.

During the song's chorus, the band members perform their signature dance moves of this song, alongside other visitors who also joyously participate. The band is then assisted to stand up on a table, where they execute their Asereje dance in front of a larger, jubilant crowd who gleefully jive in to the dance. By the end of the video, the crowd becomes jam-packed and in multitudes, with the young and old dancing to the song near the beach bar.[6]

Dance routine[edit]

For the first dance move, the hands must be held open facing down and continuously waving them over another two times for six beats. The second involves tossing the thumb over the shoulder twice, right before spinning one's arm around each other while raising from the waistline to face level. The last move of the dance involves placing the back of one's hand on the forehead and the palm of the other hand on the back of the head while knocking one's knees together a couple of times.[7]

Critical reception[edit]

Andy Thomas from Drowned In Sound gave the song a 9 out of 10, stating, "The Ketchup Song is better than the Macarena...", while acknowledging that the song is "not smart, it's not clever, and it's not going to get a single positive review outside of the teeny bop press." Thomas described the song's band members (Las Ketchup) as "three slightly odd looking women from Spain who are the proud exponents of this year's Macarena. It's got dance moves (wiggle your hands, thumb a lift, raise your arms, knock your knees together) and a sunny video where the trio serve drinks in a beach bar."[8]

Commercial performance[edit]

The song reached the top of the charts in virtually every country it charted, except for the Billboard chart, where it peaked at number 54. In France, the song reached number-one for eleven weeks and eventually sold 1,310,000 copies, making it the best-selling single of 2002, and the second best-selling of the 21st century in the country, behind "Un Monde parfait" by Ilona Mitrecey.[9] Furthermore, the song was the 50th best-selling single of the 2000s in the UK.[10]


The controversy that sparked was rooted in the title of the song, "Aserejé", which—if broken down—supposedly makes reference to a demonic being. The letter 'A' in Spanish means (to); ser (be); and hereje (heretical),[11] although the lyrics in the chorus interpolate the first verse of "Rapper's Delight", a 1979 hip hop song by The Sugarhill Gang.

Aserejé, ja, de je, de jebe tu de jebere sebiunouva, majabi an de bugui an de buididipi reportedly means "Asejeré" (Spanish: un ser hereje—"a heretic being"), ja (ha), deje, dejebe tu dejebe (deja tu ser—leave your being); if connected, it reads un ser hereje ja deja tu ser, or, "a heretic being ha leave your being."[2][11] Other lyrics like No es cosa de brujería que lo encuentre to' los días (pecando) por donde voy caminando ("It's not witchcraft the fact that I find him (sinning) everyday wherever I walk through") supposedly make references to a demonic being, just like Diego tiene chulería ("Diego has natural charm"), which some critics say it literally means that the Devil is a beautiful angel.

The Spanish lyrics, such as, Mira lo que se avecina, a la vuelta de la esquina viene Diego ("Look what's coming up, around the corner comes Diego") supposedly signifies Diego as some kind of messenger.[11] Con la Luna en las pupilas ("With the moon in his pupils") supposedly means Diego can only be seen at night; Y donde más no cabe un alma ("And there, where no soul can be squeezed in") supposedly means hell; Y el DJ que lo conoce toca el himno de las doce ("And the DJ that knows him [the messenger] plays the midnight hymn") is supposedly a reference to Satanic rituals, which usually occur at midnight.

The group members, however, have insisted that the song is in large parts nonsensical rather than satanical.[11]

Track listings[edit]

CD maxi
1."The Ketchup Song (Aserejé)" (Spanglish Version)3:32
2."The Ketchup Song (Aserejé)" (Spanish Version)3:32 Song (Aserejé)
4.Untitled (Motown Club Single Edit)3:41
CD maxi
1."The Ketchup Song (Aserejé)" (Crystal Sound Xmas mix)3:50
2."The Ketchup Song (Aserejé)" (Karaoke Version)3:44
3."The Ketchup Song (Aserejé)" (Chiringuito Club mix)5:30
4."The Ketchup Song (Aserejé)" (video – Crystal Sound Xmas mix) 

Charts and sales[edit]


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Australia (ARIA)[58] 3× Platinum 210,000^
Austria (IFPI Austria)[59] 2× Platinum 60,000*
Belgium (BEA)[60] 5× Platinum 250,000*
Denmark (IFPI Denmark)[61] 2× Platinum 20,000^
Finland (Musiikkituottajat)[62] Platinum 15,483[62]
France (SNEP)[63] Diamond 1,750,000[64]
Germany (BVMI)[65] 2× Platinum 1,000,000^
Greece (IFPI Greece)[66] 2× Platinum 40,000^
Japan (RIAJ)[67] Platinum 50,000^
Netherlands (NVPI)[68] Platinum 60,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[69] 2× Platinum 20,000*
Norway (IFPI Norway)[70] 6× Platinum 60,000*
Sweden (GLF)[71] 4× Platinum 120,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[72] 3× Platinum 120,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[73] Platinum 600,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

Rouge version[edit]

Single by Rouge with Las Ketchup
from the album Rouge
  • Portuguese
  • Spanish
Released 22 October 2002 (2002-10-22)
Format CD single
Recorded 2002
Genre Dance-pop
Length 3:18
Producer(s) Rick Bonadio (Portuguese version only)
Rouge singles chronology
"Não Dá pra Resistir"
"Beijo Molhado"
Audio sample

"Ragatanga" is a song by the Brazilian girl group pop Rouge. It is an adapted version in Portuguese of the song "The Ketchup Song", of the group Las Ketchup. Launched only in Brazil and Portugal in the same year as the original, it was one of the most successful songs of that year in Brazil and is the group's biggest success, with the song being played over 15 times a day in Brazilian radios during that time. It spent 11 weeks in first place in the Brazilian radios.

Background and composition[edit]

In selecting the tracks for the group's first album, Liminha went to a meeting with Sony representatives from around the world and commented that he needed a repertoire for a group that would release in Brazil, receiving from Spain the song "Asereje", sung Las Ketchup. But the song, however, hardly came on the album. "The list of songs was ready when I heard about Ragatanga," said Alexandre Schiavo, vice president of marketing for Sony Music Brasil.[74]

Hence, Rick Bonadio made a version and transformed it into Ragatanga, whose refrain, "Aserehe ra de re De hebe tu de hebere seibiunouba mahabi", does not mean anything, according to Schiavo. In Schiavo's explanation, it's the crap that people who do not know English usually sing. "The thing that Las Ketchup teenagers invented," he says. Bonadio says: "the secret of a good version is to have fidelity to the original, not to try to invent".[75] The Brazilian version has a mix of Spanish and Portuguese, since it counts on the participation of Las Ketchup.[74]

Commercial performance[edit]

"Ragatanga" became a viral success in Brazil, winning the charts quickly and quickly. The song reached the first position of the radios, remaining for 11 consecutive weeks in the first place.[76]


"Ragatanga" was a resounding hit in Brazil, making Rouge not only popular in Brazil, but in some parts of the world. The single was taken as the song that boosted sales of the band's first album. In two months in the stores, the album reached the mark of 730,000 sold copies and became favorite to the title of commercial champion of 2002.[77] Besides, the song did not leave the top of the charts. The song was also considered as the reason for the tickets for the group's debut on November 14, 2002, at ATL Hall in Rio de Janeiro, to be exhausted. By that time, the album had already reached the mark of 950 thousand copies.[78]

Billboard magazine, which features the biggest names in the music world, brought a photo story of the Rouge in the October 2002 issue. The report showed production details, a crossover of hits on the radio, and talks a little about the first tour they did for Brazil. In addition to talking about the hits "Ragatanga" and "Não Dá pra Resistir", he also spoke about the international career, in which Rouge performed in Argentina with great success, and the intention to launch the group's CD in Chile and Peru.

Music video[edit]

On August 31, he premiered the music video for "Ragatanga".[79] The video for "Ragatanga" is simple, counting on the girls dancing the choreography of the song, on a giant stage, while the lyrics of the chorus are displayed in the clip. The participation of the band Las Ketchup in the video clip, is obtained from the original music video. The choreography was also imported from Spain, but according to the girls, "We added a new movement, which is the sign of asking for a ride."[77]

Covers and other versions[edit]

In 2012, singer Kelly Key made a cover of the song, for the collection Festa Kids (2012). The re-recording was harshly criticized by Internet users for making the song "bland" and was compared on the internet with the ex-Latino husband for re-recording hits. In 2013, in a concert held in a nightclub in São Paulo, singer Wanessa summoned Li Martins, to sing some songs, among them "Ragatanga".[80] Still in 2013, the song "Ramón" by girlband Girls (formed and produced by the same producer of Rouge, Rick Bonadio), included in the first studio album of the band, was compared to "Ragatanga" due to its Latin rhythm and the protagonist of the song, which is already being considered the new Diego.[81]

Track listings[edit]

CD Single
  1. "Ragatanga (Aserejé)" (Album Version)
  2. "Ragatanga (Aserejé)" (Radio Edit)
  3. "Ragatanga (Aserejé)" (Memê's Da Carnival Beat Remix)
  4. "Ragatanga (Aserejé)" (Cuca Rnb Mix)
CD Single (Remixes)
  1. "Ragatanga (Aserejé)" (Memê's Summer Heat Mix) - 4:09
  2. "Ragatanga (Aserejé)" (Da Carnival Beat Mix) - 4:09


Chart (2002) Peak
Brazil (Brasil Hot 100 Airplay)[82] 1

See also[edit]


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  3. ^ a b c "Interview With Javier Portugués". HitQuarters. 11 Nov 2002. Retrieved 3 Jun 2011. 
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  7. ^ Walters, Brian (1 May 2004). Call to Prayer: My Travels in Spain, Portugal and Morocco. Virtualbookworm Publishing. pp. 148–. ISBN 978-1-58939-592-3. 
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