Culture, Appropriation, Authorship And Copyright – the exploitation of ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’

Culture, Appropriation, Authorship And Copyright – The Story of ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’ // 07.03.15 – Westminster University

When music created in a culture on one side of the world turns up in another culture on another side of the globe, striped of it’s meaning, language and history; culturally appropriated for a western audience – who gains and who loses?  The evening particially revealed the curious history and exploitation to make the successful popular song ‘Wimoweh’/’The Lion Sleeps Tonight’in the United States of America, from its original creation as ‘Mbube‘ in South Africa. Perhaps be known for its integral part of Disney’s The Lion King.

The post-screening of the film A Lion’s Trail by François Verster, revealed that Solomon Linda, the author of the song ‘Mbube’ received virtually nothing from the millions of dollars of royalties his song generated. Heightening the importance of “business” in the music biz, by looking at copyright, contracts and  whether the law is right. The discussion also touched on other musical appropriations (jazz, blues, gospel) and issues of authorship.

Dynamically co-organised and lead by Kwaku – BBM/BMC and Chris Ellins – University of Westminster Law School, there was ample time for in-depth exploration with questions from the audience.

This FREE educational event was held at the University of Westminster, School of Law, 4 Little Titchfield Street London W1W 7UW. Previously a music venue of 1960s and 1970s live music hosting gigs including Jimi Hendrix, Cream, David Bowie, Fleetwood Mac and many, many more.


Kwaku – BBM/BMC and Chris Ellins (University of Westminster School of Law) give insight to the tail of ‘Wimoweh’/’The Lion Sleeps Tonight’

Making Sense of How The Music Industry Works is a fitting follow-up event lead by Kwaku, BBMM. CLICK HERE to book!

bbmmat10xBritish Black Music Month (BBMM) is a Music Congress (BBM/BMC) initiative started in 2006. It takes place throughout June into mid-July. It offers an opportunity to celebrate domestic black music, discuss issues, better understand the music industry and copyright issues, and network. It’s not aimed exclusively at Africans nor at just those in the music industry. BBMM@10 is a two year strategic partnership programme marking the 10th year in 2016-17.





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