Solomon Linda: Mbube (1939)

April 17, 2010

Hey, wanna hear the original version of “Lion Sleeps Tonight?” It was Chris Waterman, our Dean, who first introduced “Mbube” (1939) to me. Today, I can’t get this song out of my head, so I hope that by sharing it here, I’ll exorcise it. Chris gave a 2 hour lecture on the evolution of this song. I’ll not spoil his story, read the article or book when it comes out, but take note that the tune that we associate with this song doesn’t appear until the end, and even then, it is an improvisation that only occurs once. It’s a terrific song, and this is the original.

(Mbube means lion in Zulu.)

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Leonid April 18, 2010 at 8:33 am

Roger, thanks. It’s a stunning performance!

No wonder Prokofiev’s 7th sonata (1939), written the same year, was heavily influenced by Mbube. This is best heard in the 3d movement:

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