If Your Soul Thirsts For Beauty: Solomon Popoli Linda

Solomon Popoli Linda

Solomon Popli Linda (1909-1982), also known as Solomon Ntsele, was a South African Zulu musician, singer, and composer who wrote “Mbube,” which is better-known as “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.” Solomon first recorded the a cappella song with his group the Evening Birds in 1939 as “Wimoweh,” and, despite some claims to the contrary, he insisted that it was an original composition based on the traditional Zulu singing style.

Solomon Linda and the Evening Birds - 1941

There are 160 versions of Solomon’s song, including one by Miriam Makeba, but the most famous is “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” recorded by the Tokens in 1961 and which became a #1 hit. Solomon was paid just 10 shillings for recording his song, and though he eventually earned just over $8,000 in royalties, it is estimated that he should have been paid at least $15 million.

If your soul thirsts for beauty, that thirst will be slaked when you listen to Solomon Linda and the Evening Birds singing the original version of “Wimoweh”:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dbgJcXIz1L0

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