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What is ‘Om Telolet Om’ and why are DJs sharing it?

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Wed, 21 Dec 2016 18:58:35 +0000

Martin Garrix, pictured performing at BBC Radio 1's Big Weekend, is among the DJs to have tweeted the cryptic phrase.

Martin Garrix, pictured performing at BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend, is among the DJs to have tweeted the cryptic phrase.

Since Tuesday afternoon social media users worldwide have been sharing the mysterious phrase ‘Om Telolet Om’.

The phrase has been used close to 790,000 times on Twitter in that period.

It’s proven particularly popular with DJs, inspiring tweets, mash-ups, videos and confusion. But what is it and why has it been taking the dance music world by storm?

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Surprisingly, the answer lies in the bus horns of Indonesia.

Young people in Indonesia, amused by the local buses’ customised horns, have been waiting by the side of the road for vehicles to pass, encouraging bus drivers to toot their horn when they did so. Videos depicting this craze have gone viral in Indonesia.

Some held signs to better attract the attention of the driver – signs which said ‘Om Telolet Om’.

‘Telolet’ is a word representing the sound of the buses’ horns, while ‘om’ is a term for an older male, like ‘uncle’ or ‘sir’ in English. So ‘Om Telolet Om’ roughly translates as ‘Sir honk your horn sir’.

OK, but what has that got to do with dance music?

It looks like Indonesian youngsters have been spamming prominent artists and DJs. US electronic music group Cash Cash were one of many groups to report being spammed with the phrase.

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And the response has been enormous. DJs have sampled the Indonesian bus horns which started the trend off, marketing departments have been scrambled to capitalise and 5 Seconds of Summer guitarist Michael Clifford says he shouted at a bus. Truly, what a time to be alive.

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Dutch duo Firebeatz, who have collaborated in the past with artists like Calvin Harris and Tiesto, were among the quickest DJs off the mark to incorporate the bus horn sample into a song, posting a short track on YouTube that has already been viewed well in excess of 100,000 times.

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As the phrase continues to trend worldwide, further videos are sure to emerge.

Written by Chris Bell, BBC UGC & Social news team