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Thursday, January 2, 2014

Shakira's 'Waka Waka' song is a remake of the Cameroonian song 'Zangawela'

 Since no World Cup is complete without an official anthem, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) chose Columbian popstar's song 'Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)' as the official World Cup anthem.

The Cameroonian band 'Golden Sounds'  (Photo: African Brew)
The FIFA World Cup 2010 was a huge deal not only for South Africans but for Africans across the globe.  For the first time in the world's history, an African country was finally the host of the most celebrated football event.  The FIFA World Cup 2010 was definitely a special time for Africa, as Shakira sang in the chorus of her song 'Waka Waka.'



In 1985, the Golden Sounds, a group made of Cameroon's President guards, recorded a tune called 'Zangawela.' The song 'Zangawela' became an international hit leading Golden Sounds to rename themselves as Zangawela. The group members were also famous for their dance moves and costumes. They would often wear military clothes, stuffing clothes so their stomachs will appear ridiculously big from riding trains or eating too much, African Brew explained. 


For cameroonian blogger Dibussi Tande, the song Zangawela was based on a parade song which was popular with the rank and the file of the Cameroonian army and whose origins could be traced back Cameroonian riflemen who took part in the Second World War. 

Bram Posthumus, a West Africa correspondent for Radio Netherlands Worldwide, stated that the song was made in honor of African soldiers who fought in colonial armies and a very mild satire on African soldiers who used to oppress their own people in the name of the colonial power. 

The beat and the melody, particularly the chorus, heard in Shakira's 'Waka Waka' are all very similar to the original version 'Zangawela.'After the release of the track 'Waka Waka,' the issue of plagiarism and copyright came alive because the song was used without the group's permission. In May 2010,  Sony, Shakira's management and members of the group Zangawela reached an out-of-court settlement, thanks to an extensive internet campaign.




As Dibussi Tangue and Bram Posthumus pointed out, this is not the first time that Cameroonian artists are victims of plagiarism. To name a few, we have famous saxophonist Manu Dibango's 1972 worldwide hit 'Soul Makossa'  plagiarized by Michael Jackson and recently Rihanna in their respective songs 'Wanna Be Starting Something' and 'Don't stop the music.' Michael Jackson and Rihanna used Manu Dibango's famous  hook: "mama-say mama-sa mama ma-ku-sa." Makossa is a popular rythm in the Republic of Cameroon.   

'Hot Koki' by Tala Andre Marie, a blind singer and guitarist, was also plagiarized by James Brown who released 'Hustle.' As reported by Tangue, Tala Andre Marie gave a copy of his record to James Brown while he was touring Cameroon in 1975. Manu Dibango won his case against Michael Jackson and Tala Andre Marie who his against James Brown.

While artists in Cameroon and on the African continent are happy to share their beautiful creative beats and songs with other artists, they certainly appreciate when their creative work is acknowledged, recognized and remunerated. This is the time for artists and musicians around the world to stop stealing the work of hard-working African artists and musicians.

In 1985 the Golden Sounds, a group composed primarily of members from Cameroon’s Presidential Guards released an album whose title track Zangalewa was based on a parade song which was popular with the rank and file of the Cameroonian army and whose origins could be traced back Cameroonian riflemen who took part in the Second World War. Zangalewa became an international hit which transformed Emile Kojidie, Victor Dooh Belley and group leader Ze Bella into celebrities (to the dismay of the army brass who subsequently created the conditions that led to the disbanding of the group a few years later – but that is another story). The group also included a few members who were not in the military such as Annie Anzouer who with Ze Bella performed some of the group’s most popular tunes such as Maladie difficile à soigner and Un bébé, and who later went on to have the most successful solo career among all Golden Sounds member - See more at: http://www.dibussi.com/2010/05/undermining-african-intellectual-and-artistic-rights-.html#sthash.MoY5Nkho.dpuf
In 1985 the Golden Sounds, a group composed primarily of members from Cameroon’s Presidential Guards released an album whose title track Zangalewa was based on a parade song which was popular with the rank and file of the Cameroonian army and whose origins could be traced back Cameroonian riflemen who took part in the Second World War. Zangalewa became an international hit which transformed Emile Kojidie, Victor Dooh Belley and group leader Ze Bella into celebrities (to the dismay of the army brass who subsequently created the conditions that led to the disbanding of the group a few years later – but that is another story). The group also included a few members who were not in the military such as Annie Anzouer who with Ze Bella performed some of the group’s most popular tunes such as Maladie difficile à soigner and Un bébé, and who later went on to have the most successful solo career among all Golden Sounds member - See more at: http://www.dibussi.com/2010/05/undermining-african-intellectual-and-artistic-rights-.html#sthash.MoY5Nkho.dpuf