This week’s song is the timeless classic “Wimoweh” (The Lion Sleeps Tonight), a definite favourite in my chair fitness classes and our Fit as a Fiddle shows. Originally, a South African composition called “Mbube”, which means lion, the tune was written in Zulu and recorded by Solomon Linda in 1939. It sold 100,000 copies!
Over time, “Mbube” evolved into the song people of all ages have come to know and love as Wimoweh. There are so many wonderful versions of this soulful song. Pete Seeger and The Weavers introduced the first English version to the world with their 1952 recording and in 1961 it became an international hit for The Tokens. In 1994, Disney reintroduced this song to a whole new generation of kids and their parents when they incorporated it into The Lion King’s mega-popular soundtrack.
Wimoweh’s rhythmic South African feel and infectious familiar chorus make it a wonderful choice for including in your exercise class set list; I use the version by the Tokens. It’s uplifting, very recognizable and it takes the listener on a mini-musical journey to another place in their hearts and minds if only for three minutes. This song has a special place in my heart because it’s originally from my musical partner and husband Aidan Mason’s homeland.