How Beyoncé tapped into African music for originality in The Lion King album

Francis Akhalbey July 17, 2019
Photo via Disney

Gearing up to the release of the highly anticipated “The Lion King” movie in theatres on July 19, multi-platinum selling musician, Beyoncé, who voices Nala in the animation has also released the cover and tracklist for the movie-album.

Titled “The Lion King: The Gift”, the album, which will also be released on the same day as the movie features some of Africa’s most talented and chart-breaking musicians including Nigerian acts Wizkid, Burna Boy, Mr. Eazi, Yemi Alade, Tekno & Tiwa Savage, South African acts Moonchild & Busiswa, Cameroonian artist Salatiel and Ghanaian dancehall sensation Shatta Wale.

Exclusively premiering the music video for title track of the album, “Spirit”, on ABC News during The Lion King: Can You Feel The Love Tonight with Robin Roberts on Tuesday, Beyoncé stressed on why it was important to have authentic African representation and voices on the album.

“This soundtrack is a love letter to Africa and I wanted to make sure we found the best talent from Africa, and not just use some of the sounds and did my interpretation of it,” she told ABC News.

“I wanted it to be authentic to what is beautiful about the music in Africa,” she said, adding that they used “a lot” of drums and “incredible new sounds mixed with some of the producers from America.”

The Lion King: The Gift official album cover — Photo via Beyoncé on Facebook

The star-studded album also features the likes of Jay-Z, Kendrick Lamar, Childish Gambino, Pharrell, among others.

After Disney’s successful release of the original “The Lion King” movie in 1994 and its subsequent registration of Hakuna Matata as a trademark in 2003, a section of Africans criticised the company accusing it of cultural appropriation.

The release of the album tracklist for the animation remake by Beyoncé was, however, widely well-received with most commending the large African representation on it.

Take a look at some of the reactions on social media below:

Take a look at the full tracklist below:

The Lion King: The Gift official album tracklist


Must Read

Connect with us

Join our Mailing List to Receive Updates