For all those who wondered where the song comes from -- I wikipediad it and here goes:
"The Lion Sleeps Tonight", also known as "Wimoweh" and originally as "Mbube" is a song recorded by Solomon Linda and his group The Evening Birds for the South African Gallo Record Company in 1939
Solomon Popoli Linda was born near Pomeroy, on the labor reserve Msinga, Umzinyathi District Municipality in Ladysmith, KwaZulu-Natal where he was familiar with the traditions of amahubo and izingoma zomtshado (wedding songs) music. He attended the Gordon Memorial mission school where he came in contact with Western musical culture, hymns, and choir contests in which he participated. Influenced by the new syncopated music that had swept across South Africa from the US since the 1880s, he worked it into the Zulu songs he and his friends sang at weddings and feasts.
In 1931, Linda joined the stream of young African men who left their homesteads to find menial work in Johannesburg, by then a sprawling gold-mining town hungry for cheap labour. He worked in the Mayi Mayi Furniture Shop in Small Street and sang in a choir called the Evening Birds led by his uncles, Solomon and Amon Madondo, and which disbanded in 1933.
Linda found employment at Johannesburg's Carlton Hotel and started a new group that retained the Evening Birds name. The members of the group were Solomon Linda (soprano), Gilbert Madondo (alto), Boy Sibiya (tenor), with Gideon Mkhize, Samuel Mlangeni, and Owen Sikhakhane as basses. They were all Linda's friends from Pomeroy.
The group evolved from performances at weddings to choir competitions. Linda's musical popularity grew with the Evening Birds, who presented "a very cool urban act that wears pinstriped suits, bowler hats and dandy two-tone shoes".
After Linda started working at the Gallo Record Company's Roodepoort plant in 1939 as a record packer, the Evening Birds were spotted by company talent scout Griffith Motsieloa. Italian immigrant Eric Gallo owned what at that time was sub-Saharan Africa's only recording studio. While recording a number of songs in the studio, Linda improvised "Mbube" (Lion). "Mbube" was a major success for Linda and the Evening Birds, reportedly selling over 100,000 copies in South Africa by 1949. The recording was produced by Motsieloa at the Gallo Recording Studios, in Johannesburg. Linda sold the rights to Gallo Record Company for 10 shillings (less than $US 2) shortly after the recording was made, but under British laws then in effect, those rights should have reverted to Linda's heirs 25 years after his death in 1962.
The original South African recording was later discovered in the early 1950s by American musicologist Alan Lomax, who passed it on to his friend, folk musician Pete Seeger of The Weavers. Seeger retitled it "Wimoweh" (an inaccurate phonetic rendering of the song's Zulu refrain, "uyembube") and it was popularized by The Weavers; they recorded a studio version in 1952 which became a Top 20 hit in the USA, as well as an influential live version recorded at Carnegie Hall in 1955 and released in April, 1957, which turned the song into a folk music staple. The Weavers' version was subsequently covered by The Kingston Trio in 1959.
The Weavers' Carnegie Hall version was also the inspiration for the 1961 version recorded by pop group The Tokens, for whom it was extensively re-written by George Weiss and retitled "The Lion Sleeps Tonight"; this is the version most people are now familiar with. (However, at the time, 19611962, an up-tempo version by the Karl Denver Trio was the more successful in the UK).
posted on 10/13/2010 2:51:06 AM PDT
(Ojciec i Syn i Duch Swiety)
THanks for such of lovely first thing in the morning video. I loved tghe officials in front of the choir!
posted on 10/13/2010 3:35:21 AM PDT
posted on 10/13/2010 5:45:47 AM PDT
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