Friday, August 07, 2009

Your Mental Sorbet: Sesame Street - Mahna Mahna

Here is another "Mental Sorbet" that we could use to momentarily forget about those things that leave a bad taste in our mouths.

Sesame Street - Mahna Mahna
"Mahna Mahna," originally titled "Mah-Na Mah-Na," was written by composer Piero Umiliani for an Italian documentary about life in Sweden, titled Svezia, Inferno e Paradiso (Sweden, Heaven and Hell). It is a nonsense song that achieved widespread fame as a classic Muppet sketch.
Although it was first performed in a Henson production on Sesame Street by Bip Bippadotta and two Anything Muppet girls, the most well-known Muppet rendition of the song debuted on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1969, where it was performed by Mahna Mahna and his back-up singers, the Snowths. This version of the skit was restaged many times on a number of variety shows before being featured as the opening number in the premiere episode of The Muppet Show.
Regardless of who is performing the number, the structure of the song remains the same: a central character attempts to conform to the structure of the song but falls into improvisational scat passages whenever possible. Although the back-up singers make an attempt to bring order back to the number, their effort is ultimately futile.
The number became popular enough that it was spoofed by the Muppets themselves in a sketch on Muppets Tonight, in which Kermit the Frog complained to his psychiatrist that the Snowths would appear every time he said the homonym "phenomena."
Rumors have circulated, based on a leaked script of the upcoming The Greatest Muppet Movie of All Time!!!, that the film will end with a montage of Muppets and celebrities performing the classic number.

Mahna Mahna Lyrics
Mahna mahna
(ba dee bedebe)
mahna mahna
(ba debe dee)
mahna mahna
(ba dee bedebe badebe badebe dee dee de-de de-de-de)
mah mama na mahna mah namwomp mwomp ma mo mo mana mo
mahna mahna
(ba dee bedebe)
mahna mahna
(ba debe dee)
Mahna Mahna!
(ba dee bedebe bedebe badebe debe de-de de-de-de)
(long pause) ...mahna mahna?

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa
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