Edited by Azizi Powell
This post provides information about and examples of the Zulu chant song "Nants Ingonyama" that is part of the Lion King's "Circle Of Life" song.
Information about Lebo M., the composer of the chant "Nants Ingonyama" is also given in this post.
This post also features two videos of the "Circle Of Life" song along with selected comments from these videos' discussion threads.
The content of this post is presented for etymological. cultural, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes.
All copyrights remain with their owners.
Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post. Thanks also to Lebo M. who composed the chant "Nants Ingonyama", and thanks to the Lion King producer Hans Zimmer, Elton Johns and Tim Rice, and all others that have popularized the Zulu word "ingonyama". In addition, thanks to all those who are featured in the videos that are featured in this post and thanks to the publishers of those videos on YouTube.
INFORMATION ABOUT LEBO M.
"Lebohang “Lebo M” Morake (born 20 May 1964) is known as The Voice and Spirit of The Lion King and is a South African producer and composer most famous for arranging and performing music for The Lion King movies and stage productions. He was recommended to Disney by Hans Zimmer, the score composer of The Lion King, and was later hired to form and conduct the African choir that sang for the movies. His voice is the first voice heard in the beginning of the film, singing the now famous chant (often considered synonymous with the film's image in popular culture) over the opening sequence. He also contributed to the sequel to the film's soundtrack, Rhythm of the Pride Lands, and the film's direct-to-video sequel The Lion King II: Simba's Pride.
Lebo M was born on 11 July 1964 in the Apartheid-ridden Soweto in Johannesburg, South Africa and was inspired by Nelson Mandela, he spent years working hard in the slums and then in Los Angeles in a variety of jobs, including begging and serving at McDonald's. He was exiled from South Africa in 1979, but returned 20 years later. He lives with his family in Johannesburg and Los Angeles. He founded the Lebo M Foundation and Till Dawn Entertainment."...
In addition to Disney’s Lion King’s movies, here are a few other movies that Lebo M has composed music for: Black Hawk Down, The Power of One, and The Color Purple”.
"German-born Hans Zimmer called in the services of his South African friend, Lebo M., to help provide some authenticity to the film's musical soundtrack. The two had previously collaborated on The Power of One (1992). It is Lebo M.'s call that you hear on the opening bars of "Circle of Life". He also wrote the African chant that underpins this stirring version of the song. Hans Zimmer had promised producer Don Hahn and directors Rob Minkoff and Roger Allers that he would get Lebo M. on the film. Zimmer then realized he had no idea where to find his his [sic] The Power of One (1992) collaborator but it all worked out as early one morning Lebo, seemingly out of the blue, showed up at Zimmer's house."
INFORMATION ABOUT THE ZULU WORD "INGONYAMA"
According these two online quotes https://whitezulu.wordpress.com/2012/11/29/word-route-lo/ and https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080213183627AALTPwg , the word "ingonyama" is a title for the Zulu king and therefore isn't used to refer to the animal lion or leopard. The actual word that is used for lion is "i(li)Bhubhesi" (from the first source cited) or "imbhubezi" [from that second source cited.]
LYRICS: "NANTS INGONYAMA" CHANT
Nants ingonyama bagithi Baba [Here comes a lion, Father]
Sithi uhm ingonyama [Oh yes, it's a lion]
Nants ingonyama bagithi baba
Sithi uhhmm ingonyama
Siyo Nqoba [We're going to conquer]
Ingonyama nengw' enamabala [A lion and a leopard come to this open place]
Click that link for the complete lyrics to The Lion King's "Circle Of Life". [music by Elton John, lyrics by Tim Rice]
These videos are presented in chronological order based on their publishing date on YouTube with the oldest dated video given first.
Example #1: Circle of Life - Disney's THE LION KING (Official Lyric Video)
Disney On Broadway, Published on Dec 10, 2013
Official lyric video for "Circle of Life" from THE LION KING.
Giraffes strut. Birds swoop. Gazelles leap. The entire Serengeti comes to life as never before. And as the music soars, Pride Rock slowly rises from the mist. This is THE LION KING.
More than 70 million people around the world have experienced the awe-inspiring visual artistry, the unforgettable music and the uniquely theatrical storytelling of this Broadway spectacular - one of the most breathtaking and beloved productions ever to grace the stage.
Winner of 6 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, THE LION KING brings together one of the most imaginative creative teams on Broadway . Tony Award winning director Julie Taymor brings to life a story filled with hope and adventure set against an amazing backdrop of stunning visuals. THE LION KING also features the extraordinary work of Tony Award winning choreographer Garth Fagan and some of Broadway's most recognizable music, crafted by Tony Award winning international singer/songwriters Elton John and Tim Rice.
There is simply nothing else like THE LION KING. Broadyway's Landmark Musical Event plays 8 times a week in the heart of Times Square at the Minskoff Theatre.
Selected comments from this video's discussion thread:
"Hmm. they still didn't put the lyrics of the background chant during "Circle of life" chorus. "Kalaliko bheki akale" I'm interested to find out what it means."
Nikque LeDoux, November 2015
"+mattxr2i Don't quote me on this but I'm pretty sure there is no actual translation for it from Zulu to English. But I'm not 100% on that. :)
mattxr2i, February 2016
"+Nikque LeDoux What I've been able to find after quite a bit of research is that the most likely lyrics are "Balek’ ingonyam’i ya gale’" "Run. The lion will attack" But I cannot confirm this for certain. http://spotlightarts.com/gms/AfricanLanguagesGuide.pdf"
MrUncleTings, November 2015
"That line in the background at 1:34 i've looked everywhere and i haven't found out the lyric to that part. sorry i dont know zulu so i can't understand it either way, im just curious"
Psycho Ocelot, December 2015
""balek ingonyame yagale" it means "run, the lion will attack""
Shell0517nj, November 2015
"there are 3 versions of this song. the play. the movie and Elton Johns video. all beautiful in song, lyrics and spirit. The play is breathtaking!"
Example #2: THE LION KING Australia: Cast Sings Circle of Life on Flight Home from Brisbane
Disney On Broadway, Published on Apr 1, 2014
Australian cast member, Toni Stewart captured, this amazing impromptu 'Circle of Life' performance on a flight from Brisbane to Sydney. The cast had just had an amazing day at THE LION KING Brisbane season launch announcement
Selected comments from this video's discussion thread:
RedyyChuu, October 2015
..."Let me educate you, my dear friends. Circle of Life is actually two songs combined in one, the beginning (The Morning Call) which was sung by Lebo M and his choir (in Zulu) and then the main song that was written by Elton John and Tim Rice. All of this was composed by Hans Zimmer. So it's a collaboration and many people were involved, however it's not a song FROM Africa. Yes, it has African lyrics, but it was written and composed by many people for the movie The Lion King."
melanin, October 2015
"+RedyyChuu the writers were inspired by African tradition"
RedyyChuu, October 2015
"+melanin Indeed it is, sort of an on-going theme in the entire movie and soundtrack. I never said it wasn't."
ZombieMIW, November 2015
"Music is the healing force of the universe
kahiauandkeeaola808, February 2016
"The dad in the aisle missed his chance to raise his child up in the air like rafiiki did simba. Lol"
Click http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2016/03/the-history-of-boy-scouts-een-gonyama.html for a pancocojams post on the Boy Scout song/chant "Eeen-Gonyama".
Thanks for visiting pancocojams.
Visitor comments are welcome.