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question everything Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 03:27 PM
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Lion finally sleeps
UNION-TRIBUNE EDITORIAL

Lion finally sleeps

Composer's family awarded long-due royalties

March 4, 2006

Delayed justice recently came to the family of Solomon Linda, a South African musician who died in poverty in 1962 at the age of 53.

In 1939, Linda, a Zulu, composed a song entitled Mbube for his group, Linda and the Evening Birds, who played in Johannesburg beer halls. Mbube is the Zulu word for lion. The song was recorded in a Zulu call-and-response musical style called Iskathamiya.

A talent scout noticed Linda and his band and recorded some of their songs, including Mbube, which became a hit. But under apartheid, blacks were not allowed to receive royalties at that time. Linda was given a small amount of cash even though Mbube sold more than 100,000 copies in South Africa.

Hoping for wider distribution, Linda's recording company sent a box of records to the United States, but the U.S. studio threw the records in the trash. An employee discovered the records and gave them to a young folk singer named Pete Seeger (co-author of We shall Overcome), who translated Mbube into English and replaced the Zulu chant Uy-imbube with Wimoweh, which became the song's title. It was recorded in 1952. In 1961, a Brooklyn quartet, The Tokens, recorded the song for RCA Victor. They added new lyrics to Linda's song, including In the jungle, the mighty jungle ... and retitled the song, The Lion Sleeps Tonight.

(snip)

Lawyers working with the Linda family, who were living in poverty in Soweto, first sued Disney, which used the song in the popular movie, The Lion King. They reached a settlement with Abilene Music Co., which administered the U.S. copyright, earlier this month. The Linda family's award is confidential, but it is estimated that the song has earned an estimated $15 million in royalties over the years.


Find this article at:
http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20060304/news_l...

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WhiteTara Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 03:30 PM
Response to Original message
1. I hope the settlement brings them peace
and happiness.
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_testify_ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 03:33 PM
Response to Original message
2. I had no idea
of the history behind that song.


Thank you for posting this.
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Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 03:49 PM
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3. I actually heard a cover of the original
done by a Zulu artist whose name I have forgotten in nearly 50 years. It was amazing, blew Seeger's version away. I hope somehow the family is motivated to get his original version out there again. It was magnificent.
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MikeDuffy Donating Member (309 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 04:06 PM
Response to Original message
4. Do you think any actual lions will benefit from any of this?
Will any lions sleep better as a result? Should we care? What is the responsibility of each of us -- for other living things?
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OneBlueSky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 09:22 PM
Response to Original message
5. here's a link to a three-part story on Solomon Linda and his song . . .
that appeared in Rolling Stone a few years back . . .

Where does the lion sleep tonight?
http://www.3rdearmusic.com/forum/mbube2.html
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