Move over vuvuzela. A compact, Belgian-made trumpet dubbed the “diabolica” is gearing up to replace the South African horn as the noisemaker of choice at the next World Cup games in Brazil.
Its young designers said they are “overwhelmed by the flood of orders coming from all over the world”, and predict that a million models will be sold by the time the month-long tournament starts on June 12.
Unlike the long, plastic vuvuzela – whose love-it-or-hate-it drone went global at the last World Cup in South Africa in 2010 – the “diabolica” is easier to carry, collapsing to 12cm, and easier on the ear, its creators contend.
“The sound is nothing like the buzz of the South African vuvuzela, which made life a nightmare for television producers,” said David dos Santos, 31.
But he and partner Fabio Lavalle, 26, won’t reveal the “secret” they say makes the difference.
The trumpet is already a big hit in Belgium, where stadiums ban both vuvuzelas and, for safety reasons, canister fog horns, an extremely loud, pressurised device more at home as part of a safety kit on boats.
Nearly 300,000 “diabolicas” – named after Belgium’s Red Devils football team – have been sold since the end of last year.
To keep up with demand, some 15,000 make their way daily from a Madrid factory to the plant in the southwestern Belgium city of Mons where they are assembled and packed for shipment.
Factory owner Fabio Lavalle said his 14 employees have had to work 16 to 18 hours a day to cope with the orders from as far as Mozambique and Ecuador.
Dos Santos said it was a Spanish friend who came up with the idea after being blocked from a stadium with a canister fog horn.
The Belgian instrument has a higher pitch, more like a horn, and can make a trilling sound when the stem is pumped.
At 98 decibels, it is nearly as loud as a vuvuzela but requires less lung power, its makers say.
Believe me, the diabolica is going to make a lot of noise this summer in Brazil
A Brazilian-made rival, the “caxirola”, created to be the official instrument at the 2014 Cup has already been banned after supporters used it to attack players in a local match before last year’s Confederations Cup.
But so far, neither organisers nor FIFA have an official position on the “diabolica” other than to say it could be banned if it’s deemed to be an object that could be used in violent acts.
“Believe me, the diabolica is going to make a lot of noise this summer in Brazil,” Dos Santos said said.