‘Sweet Lullaby’ to ‘Stream of Life’ – Where the hell is Matt?

13 Apr

You might not believe it, but one of the internet’s most loved and cherished viral videos doesn’t involve cats, flatulence, old ladies, or even (gasp!) little people fighting. 32-year old Matt Harding quit his job as a videogame designer in 2003 to travel the world. While abroad, he recorded and uploaded a short clip of himself doing a signature jig-like dance — described by The Los Angeles Times as “arms flailing and flopping, feet moving as if walking over hot coals” — in Hanoi, Vietnam.

The video was extensively passed through e-mail and somehow noticed by Stride Gum, who decided to sponsor Matt next trip. “Where The Hell Is Matt?” appeared on YouTube in 2006 and featured Matt doing his special dance everywhere from Angkor Wat to Siberia — quickly racking up views as it truly became a global meme. Soon, mainstream media took notice and Matt was interviewed everywhere from Jimmy Kimmel Live, to the Today Show, and even featured as one of the 40 Greatest Internet Celebrities on VH1.

Matt went on a few more Stride-funded trips after the first: dancing with Huli Wigmen, with fish when underwater in Fiji, even encouraging fans to come dance alongside him wherever he went. Matt became a bonafide internet celebrity and even one of YouTube’s founders, Jawed Karim, called ‘Where The Hell Is Matt?’ his all-time favorite video.

Harding was known by his friends for a particular dance, and while videorecording each other in Vietnam, his travel companion suggested he add the dance. The videos were uploaded to his website for friends and family to enjoy. Later, Harding edited together 15 dance scenes, all with him center frame, with the background music “Sweet Lullaby” by “Deep Forest”. The original Song uses samples from a dying Solomon Islands language which was recorded in 1971 by a French ethnomusicologist at the Solomon Islands near Papua New Guinea. The Song, Rorogwela, was sung by a young woman named Afunakwa. According to the video “Where the Hell is Afunakwa” by Matt Harding, Afunakwa died in 1998.

The video was passed around by e-mail and eventually became viral, with his server getting 20,000 or more hits a day as it was discovered, generally country by country due to language barriers, before the launch of major video upload sites.

Harding created a second version of the video in 2006, with additional dancing scenes from subsequent travels, called “Dancing 2006”. At the request of Stride, a gum brand, he accepted sponsorship of this video, since he usually travels on a limited budget.

His videos are viewable on YouTube, Google Video, Vimeo and his own site

His second video has been watched 27,747,545 times on YouTube as of April 04, 2010 and Harding’s YouTube channel is ranked “#83 – Most Subscribed (All Time) – Directors” as of March 31, 2009.

Harding released his third dancing video on June 20, 2008. The video is the product of 14 months of traveling in 42 countries. The background music/song of this video is known as “Praan” composed by Garry Schyman and sung by Palbasha Siddique, with lyrics adapted from the poem “Stream of Life,” a part of the Gitanjali by Rabindranath Tagore.

I am listing below the lyrics of “Praan” (“Stream of Life”) which also happens to be my favorite song. Hope you enjoy the song too.

PraanPalbasha Siddique

Bhulbona ar shohojete
Shei praan e mon uthbe mete
Mrittu majhe dhaka ache
je ontohin praan
Bojre tomar baje bashi
She ki shohoj gaan
Shei shurete jagbo ami
(Repeat 2X)
Bojre tomar baje bashi
She ki shohoj gaan
dao more shei gaan
Shei jhor jeno shoi anonde
Chittobinar taare
Shotto-shundu dosh digonto
Nachao je jhonkare!
Bojre tomar baje bashi
She ki shohoj gaan
Shei shurete jagbo ami
(Repeat 3X)
Bojre tomar baje bashi
She ki shohoj gaan
Shei shurete jagbo ami
Bojre tomar baje bashi
She ki shohoj gaan
dao more shei gaan
The lyrics are based off a poem.
From Gitanjali by Rabindranath Tagore (sung by Palbasha Siddique).
“Stream of Life”
The same stream of life that runs through my veins night and day
runs through the world and dances in rhythmic measures.
It is the same life that shoots in joy through the dust of the earth
in numberless blades of grass
and breaks into tumultuous waves of leaves and flowers.
It is the same life that is rocked in the ocean-cradle of birth
and of death, in ebb and in flow.
I feel my limbs are made glorious by the touch of this world of life.
And my pride is from the life-throb of ages dancing in my blood this moment.

Here is his latest video

1 Comment

Posted by on 13 April, 2010 in General


Tags: ,

One response to “‘Sweet Lullaby’ to ‘Stream of Life’ – Where the hell is Matt?

  1. Viju

    24 April, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    Updated the post with Matt Hardings latest video 2012.


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