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Mbube – The Lion

The story behind the original South African song Mbube, by Solomon Linda’s Original Evening Birds, which was turned into the worldwide hit known as the Lion Sleeps Tonight

‘Mbube’ or the Lion by Solomon Linda’s Original Evening Birds is a track that grew from a half-improvised two minute song recorded in Johannesburg in the 1930s and then, through a series of cultural misappropriations, was rewritten into a worldwide hit – Wimoweh or The Lion Sleeps Tonight. It later became part of Disney’s huge international Lion King phenomenon. But did any of the money make it back to Linda and his family?

Produced by Rami Tzabar for BBC World Service.

Image: Record label artwork, BBC

Available now

9 minutes

Broadcasts

  • Sat 16 Mar 2019 05:50GMT
  • Sun 17 Mar 2019 15:50GMT
  • Sun 17 Mar 2019 22:50GMT
  • Mon 18 Mar 2019 04:50GMT