If you've caught any World Cup action since soccer's big dance kicked off Friday, you've heard the noise ... that interminable low drone emanating from the stadiums and speakers. BZZZ. BZZZZ!! It's the vuvuzela, South Africa's (and the Internet's) favorite stadium instrument, and some soccer fans' least favorite thing ever.
And these instruments are becoming big business around the world. As a plastic toy they are cheap to produce but demand--at least at the world cup--is great enough that they are selling for comparatively high prices. Others are even getting into manufacturing:
Seven Vuvuzela Facts:
• The name vuvuzela comes from an isiZulu word for "making noise."
• A vuvuzela costs about $2.50 and is roughly three feet long.
• Dutch company Moblio created a free vuvuzela app -- it's seen more than 750,000 downloads so far.
• The vuvuzela is not necessarily a tool for celebration or distraction or anything specific; it's an all-purpose instrument, as hilariously highlighted by The Daily What. (Your team scores? Blow. Halftime? Blow. Opposing team wins? Blow!)
• CNBC reports the vuvuzela business should top $6 million this year.
• The plastic trumpets were recorded as loud as 138 decibels this past weekend in South Africa. Most are in the key of B flat.
• There's a vuvuzela Twitter with more than 2,000 followers. Guess what most of the tweets are like?
There have been numerous posts across the internet in the last few days about how to turn off the sound, but it looks like that requires some relatively sophisticated audio equipment. And as for banning the instrument? "I have always said that Africa has a different rhythm, a different sound," tweeted FIFA president Sepp Blatter. "I don't see banning the music traditions of fans in their own country."