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Solomon Linda
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Vocalist
    (1909-September 8, 1962)
    Born in Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa
    AKA Solomon Ntsele (clan name ‘Linda’)
    Composer of ‘Mbube’ (AKA ‘Wimoweh’ or ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight,’ and namesake for Mbube style of Isicathamiya a capella)
    Frontman for Solomon Linda and the Evening Birds
    Codifier of the ‘fasi pathi’ falsetto main voice (female soprano texture in male vocals)
    Died in poverty of renal (kidney) failure, aged either 52 or 53
    Yes, you read that name correctly (Solomon Popoli Linda, in fact).
    He was the only member of the Evening Birds not to sing below a baritone.
    He sold the rights to the freshly-recorded ‘Mbube’ (‘lion’ in Zulu) for 10 shillings (then roughly $2 US).
    Thereafter, he would toil for minimum wage in the packing plant of the boss’s record company — though in fairness, copyright was not a thing there at the time.
    It took some 18 years for him to get a tombstone — which his widow couldn’t afford then.
    If his actual date of birth is an uncertainty, his year of birth is not.
    While living in Johannesburg in the 1930s, he worked at a furniture shop and at the Carlton Hotel.
    Rolling Stone Magazine regarded him as the Elvis of his time and place.
    More than 100 artists, beginning with Pete Seeger (then of The Weavers), would go on to remake ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight.’
    His daughters successfully sued Disney Pictures for using ‘Mbube’ (in ‘The Lion King’) without paying royalties to their estate.

Credit: Cool It All Right?


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