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In the beginning of the track "Hooked on a Feeling" on the Blue Swede album of the same name, there is a rhythmic spoken phrase that repeats several times before they begin their rendition of the 1968 pop song about unrequited love, written by Mark James and originally performed by B.J. Thomas..

After several spoken repeats, the vocalist begins a cappella and then it transitions to a more standard instrumental presentation.

If I try to transliterate, it seems to be something like

...ooga chaka ooga ooga...

What are they actually saying? What does it mean, if anything?

(at 00:24 I think I can hear all the speakers take a quick breath at the same time)

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  • When Frozen came out as a musical with the song about hygge, I found myself wondering if that was the word in this song, but I'm guessing it's just a bizarre coincidence :-D
    – Jeff
    Oct 23, 2022 at 16:46

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"Ooga chaka" is just meaningless.

"Hooked on a Feeling" was written in 1968 by Mark James and originally recorded by B.J.Thomas.


In 1971 Jonathan King recorded a cover version of the song, adding "ooga chaka" jungle chants. He described it as "a reggae rhythm by male voices".

In 1974 the Swedish group Blue Swede did the cover version from the question, including the "ooga chaka" introduction.

More on the history at Wikipedia or the Toronto Star

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  • Thanks for your answer; Alas, I was hoping it would turn out to mean something interesting in Swedish, but you've certainly made the best of it and written an interesting answer!
    – uhoh
    Feb 12, 2022 at 13:29

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