WATCH: The Lion Sleeps Tonight gets a remake for #WorldWildlifeDay

2016-03-03 15:01 - Selene Brophy
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Cape Town - Growing-up and watching the likes of the Lion King, we've all hummed a-Wimoweh, a-Wimoweh at some point or other, in chorus to the Lion Sleeps Tonight.  

The iconic song is a musical tale reflecting life back in the 1930's, when South African composer Solomon Linda spent his childhood herding cattle and warding off predatory lions, and is being released afresh on Thursday, 3 March in aid of World Wildlife Day.

Beau Davidson and Jay Siegel’s Tokens have recorded a refreshed version of “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” – in honour of Cecil the Lion and all lions being killed in Africa. According to the International Union of Conservation of Nature, lions are listed as vulnerable with existing population believed to be less than 20 000 to 35 000 animals. It is estimated that more than 600 lions are killed legally every year by trophy-hunting tourists.

Big Cat Conservation confirmed the beautiful music video compilation now includes iconic footage taken from the vast body of Dereck and Beverly Joubert's work - both are dedicated wildlife conservationists and National Geographic Explorers-in-Residence. The video is also available for purchase on iTunes, with all proceeds going to Big Cat Conservation. 

Linda was initially not recognised or rewarded for his work for the song, originally called Mdube, as South Africa's oppressive Apartheid laws at the time did not afford him much rights as a black man. He reportedly sold the worldwide copyrights for the song for less than two dollars to an SA record label. Linda had died in poverty in 1962. However, after a lengthy court case in 2006, millions of dollars in royalties were eventually awarded to his three surviving daughters.    

"This version of Lion is bigger and even more universal than its predecessor," says Jay Siegel, the original falsetto for The Tokens recording of the song. "It includes African percussion, real instrumentation and a powerful vocal as different now as it was when it came out in 1961!"

Take a look at some of the tweets shared to mark #WorldWildlifeDay. Tag us on Instagramor on Twitter.

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