Songwriter Ryan Cayabyab reacts to viral ‘Da Coconut Nut’ video

Photo from ABS-CBN News
Photo from ABS-CBN News

Veteran composer and musical director Ryan Cayabyab could not help but look back at the beginnings of one of his songs, “Da Coconut Nut,” which was recently performed in a viral video by a university choir in the United States.

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It was last week when Dubai-based airline Emirates posted a video of the 75-member Baylor University School of Music Men Choir performing Cayabyab’s song to the delight of flight crew and other passengers.

The clip has since gained over 10 million views.

“You wake up one day and a song you wrote nearly 30 years ago has 10 million+ views on the Internet in three days. Whut?!” Cayabyab said in a Facebook post on Monday.

“Of course many of you know that I wrote the song for The Smokey Mountain… It was a novelty song wherein I channeled master songwriter Yoyoy Villame’s spirit and style. And I rejoice because many of the comments I have read attribute the song to Mr. Villame. I am honored!”

He went on to note that the choir in the viral video has been singing “Da Coconut Nut” since 2010.

“Some friends have asked, ‘how did this American choir learn about the song?’ In June of 2008, an American conductor and arranger based in Japan, Randy Stenson, got in touch with me… Mr. Stenson was able to convince Barbara Harlow, the president of Santa Barbara Music Publishing of California (SBMPC), to contact me and have the sheet music of the arrangement published under his choral series,” Cayabyab shared.

He continued: “They were able to perform this song together with other songs in SBMPC’s catalogue in the American Choral Directors National Convention sometime after the deal got through in July of 2008, and this got the version going; hence, its popularity with select American choirs.”

“In my concert tours with the Ryan Cayabyab Singers, I usually introduce ‘Da Coconut Nut’ as the most popular song I have ever written, based on the accumulated views of over many dozens of versions found on the Internet.”

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