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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GUEST,Azizi Lion Sleeps Tonight, PBS shows origins (7) RE: Lion Sleeps Tonight, PBS shows origins 17 May 05

Thanks, Robomatic! I followed your instructions and here is my comment on Mbube [excluding my other comments in that post]"

Subject: RE: Best Rock versions of traditional songs
From: Azizi - PM
Date: 02 Dec 04 - 07:19 PM

With regard to Soloman Linda's Mbube {The Lion Sleeps Tonight},
a very interesting book that I'm reading "African Stars: Studies in Black African Performance" {Veit Erlmann;Chicago, University of Chicago Press,1991} gives a fascinating account of the composition of this song. I quote from the book:

In 1939...He [Soloman Popolo Linda]decided to take a job offer as packer at Gallo's newly opened record pressing plant in Roodepoort [South Africa]. His choir soon attracted the attention of Gallo's talent scout Griffith Motsieloa, and before long one of Linda's songs, "Mbube {Lion}(Gallo GE 829, reissued on Rounder 5052, A5) topped the list of the country's best selling recordings for the African listenership. Like most isicathamiya tunes, "Mbube" was based on a wedding song which Linda and his friends had picked up from young girls in Msinga [a very poor section of Natal, South Africa] and whose words commemorated the killing of a lion cub by the young Soloman and his herdsboy friends.

While neither the words of "Mbube" nor its anchorage in a wedding song were particularly original, in the view of [Linda's group] Evening Bird member Gilbert Madonda, it was Linda's performance style in conjunction with other innovations that revolutionized migrant workers choral performance styles [referred to as "isicathamiya" and also known as "boloha" or "umbholoho"]".


Sorry, I apparently didn't remember to cite the number of the page where this passage is found.

Ms. Azizi

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