‘Froze my brain up in Canada:’ Musician parodies Toto’s ‘Africa’


OAK LAKE, Man. — It’s as if Canadian hosers Bob and Doug McKenzie did a mash-up with Weird Al Yankovic.

Rob Thiessen, an occupational therapist and part-time musician from Oak Lake, Man., and his brother-in-law Joe Kaonga have released a music video parody of the ’80s song “Africa” by U.S. rock band Toto.

The new version about Manitoba’s recent bone-numbing temperatures had attracted 171,000 views as of early Tuesday afternoon on Thiessen’s Facebook page.

“Hey! We’re coming to you from Manitoba, Canada, where it is cold outside tonight,” says Thiessen, who is wearing a parka and a winter hat with earflaps, as he sits in front of a crackling outdoor fire.

“I’m here with my brother-in-law Joe who is originally from?”

“Zambia,” chimes in Kaonga.

“You’ll get used to it said no one ever,” says Thiessen.

“This cold snap has been just ridiculous and getting way too long. I was recently learning the ‘Africa’ song by Toto … and had the song in my head, and was looking out the window at the bitter cold, and kind of feeling miserable. The words just came to me: ‘I froze my brain up in Canada,'” Thiessen, 36, explained in a telephone interview.

“I love being a Canadian and the cold is part of who we are, right?  I’m happy to share that around.”

The music video includes the two men playing snow volleyball in their shirt sleeves, Thiessen sticking his tongue on a cold metal pole and him using jumper cables to jump-start a seemingly frozen Kaonga.

“It’s -50 with the wind chill tonight. They say it’s colder here than in the south or even in the North Pole,” sings Thiessen.

To add to the Canadian authenticity, the song’s drumming involves Kaonga tapping away on a Tim Hortons coffee cup.

“All it is (is) a Tim Hortons coffee cup, a guitar and then our vocals,” Thiessen said in the interview.

It’s not his first attempt at parody. When a blizzard knocked out power to his house last year, he wrote and performed a version of George Harrison’s “Here Comes the Sun” — except Thiessen’s version was called “We Need the Sun.”

“I don’t know if you’d say I’m enjoying it much, but more like it’s a responsibility to try to do my part with what I can to keep people cheered up,” he said.

“I recognize fame is fleeting.”

Find the parody on the web: https://youtu.be/DzK46eXTYq0

— By Bill Graveland in Calgary. Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter

The Canadian Press