The South American song of summer

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Written by Michael Turtle

Michael Turtle is the founder of Time Travel Turtle. A journalist for more than 20 years, he's been travelling the world since 2011.

Michael Turtle is the founder of Time Travel Turtle and has been travelling full time for a decade.


South American party song: Michel Telo

As you travel around South America, you’ll hear music everywhere. Radios will be playing in shops, bars will have their carefully-chosen playlists and even on buses kids will be playing songs on the speakers of their phones.

There’s been one song that has been a constant during the past few months I have spent here in South America. The people here appear to play it on repeat sometimes and a day will not go by without hearing it several times. Just the first few notes will emerge from a speaker and I’ll know what’s about the come.

south america, music, number one, hit song, michel telo, sie7e

My readers in continental European countries will know the one I’m talking about because this song has jumped across the Atlantic and gone on to be number one in 12 countries there. It’s been translated into at least 6 languages and has a justifiable claim to be the most popular foreign language song of recent times.

For those of you in countries it has not yet reached, like Australia, the US or the UK, watch out! You could be next.

The song is by a Brazilian artist named Michel Telo and is called ‘Ai Se Eu Te Pego’. Roughly translated from Portuguese, this means ‘Oh, I will catch you’.

south america, music, number one, hit song, michel telo, sie7e

Song of summer

It’s an addictive tune that invokes the power of summer. The official version has cheering and a singing crowd in the background, bringing the party directly to you. And the unusual choice to include a piano accordion actually adds to the fiesta.

Have a listen to the song yourself and let me know what you think. Maybe you won’t take to it on the first listen. Maybe it will take you a couple of goes. Trust me, with the number of times I’ve heard, you have no choice but to want to dance and sing when it comes on. Oh, and 215 million views on youtube says something!


Incidentally, there is another song which seems almost as pervasive. It comes from a Puerto Rican who uses the stagename Sie7e (meaning Seven in English). He won the Latin Grammy for best new artist last year and this is another tune that captures the mood of my travels in South America. Have a listen. Picture the sun going down and a cold beer in your hand. Imagine you have no worries in the world. You’ll see what I mean.

What do you think of the songs? Could they be number one in your country?

14 thoughts on “The South American song of summer”

    • Ha ha. Surely you know better than to assume a music video is indicative of real life. I never saw any bikini-clad women stretched out on hot cars when I was in the US!! 🙂

  1. Yes, I know what you mean. “Ai Se Eu Te Pego” it’s been a hit here in Eastern Europe for over a month now, though I can’t understand why… I mean it’s OK for a Friday night party, but enough already!

  2. Oh, Latin America. I grew to love the cheesy popular music of Brazil when I was volunteering there, so I totally get that first song in just one listen. However, I don’t think it would do well with an American audience. I’ve tried to bring friends to Brazilian music events beyond bossa nova and I think a lot people just don’t get it. For a lot of people here, music needs to be experienced in a place where it’s created or where it is really popular for people to understand it. I think the second song could do well in in the States, especially here in California. People would dig the bilingual aspect of it. It kind of has a Bruno Mars vibe to it and people are into that kind of thing right now.

  3. Now I know why it is so easy to dance to “Ai Se Eu Te Pego”. The beat is so irresistible! This could be a perfect song to lift your spirits up when you’re blue.


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