Bruce Springsteen to Release Pete Seeger Tribute

Article written by on Saturday, Feb 25, 2006 in Releases,Tours

According to Rolling Stone and Springsteen fan site, Bruce Springsteen will release an album of songs by Pete Seeger in May.

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Radio Folk Has a New Home

Article written by on Saturday, Feb 25, 2006 in On The Web

George Will wrote to let me know that RadioFolk has a new home at

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How Many Folk Singers?

Article written by on Thursday, Feb 23, 2006 in On The Web

How many folk singers does it take to change a light bulb?

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2006 Grassy Hill Kerrville New Folk Competition

Article written by on Thursday, Feb 23, 2006 in Contests

From the press release…

The 2006 GRASSY HILL KERRVILLE NEW FOLK COMPETITION will be held during the 35th Annual Kerrville Folk Festival on Saturday and Sunday, May 27 & 28, 2006. Out of 800 entries, thirty-two writer-performers will be invited to share two of their original songs. Six NEW FOLK WINNERS will be selected from the thirty-two and will return on Sunday, June 4 to perform 20 minutes of their original songs and receive a $250 Award from the Texas Folk Music Foundation, plus $150 from Vic and Reba Heyman and $50 from the Jim Ross Memorial Fund. They will also win a year’s subscription or renewal to Performing Songwriter Magazine. Other prizes may be added at a later date. All of these concerts will be staged at the Threadgill Theater in the Quiet Valley Ranch campgrounds, 9 miles south of the city of Kerrville on TX Hwy 16. All official New Folk guidelines MUST be followed. You can find the 2006 guidelines by visiting Deadline for New Folk entries is MARCH 15!

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Family of Solomon Linda to Finally Receive Royalties

Article written by on Saturday, Feb 18, 2006 in Opinion

According to an article in The Scotsman, The Disney Corporation Abilene Music has reached a settlement with the family of Solomon Linda, the author of ‘Wimoweh’ or ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’.

Hopefully with this settlement some measure of justice is finally achieved. Seldom has a song made so much money for so many people with so little compensation going to its original author. Solomon Linda died penniless in 1962 a year after the song toped the charts in the US for the third time.

The song’s journey from underground South African hit to worldwide pop hit is long and fascinating. With Pete Seeger and the Weavers being largely responsible for it’s initial popularity.

Linda and the Evening Birds recorded “Mbube” in South Africa in 1939.The song’s original Zulu lyrics based from Solomon’s boyhood experiences chasing lions away from the family cattle. The record sold nearly 100,000 copies in South Africa during the 1940’s but under apartheid black artists could not collect royalties. Eventually a copy found it’s way to Alan Lomax who passed it on to Pete Seeger.

Intrigued by the songs driving chant and high harmonies, Seeger transliterated the refrain “uyimbube” into “awimoweh” shortening it eventually to “wimoweh”. The Weavers recorded the song in 1952 and again in 1957.

The English lyrics were written in 1961 by George David Weiss and producers Hugo Peretti and Luigi Creatore for an RCA recording by The Tokens. Something 170 different artists have recorded the song and Disney used it in the hit movie the Lion King.

Seeger has long regretted his part in the song’s appropriation. He sent the Linda family what he thought he owed them in royalties and has continued to push for Linda to get credit for the song.

The original version of “Mbube” recorded by Solomon Linda and the Evening Birds was re-released by Rounder Records on Mbube Roots — Zulu Choral Music from South Africa, 1930s-1960s. You can hear a clip from the original at the Rounder Records site.

Update: March 23rd. More than a month after the story broke it’s finally hit the use press in a big way with a front page article in the New York Times yesterday. Some updates and corrections are in order. Although the first article I found in the Statesman said that Disney corporation was involved in the settlement most sources say the settlement was with Abilene Music. Disney’s usual response is similar to this one in the times.

A representative for Disney would not discuss the circumstances behind the lawsuit, but the company said in a statement that Walt Disney Pictures had licensed ” ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’ in good faith” and was pleased that the litigation had been resolved “to everyone’s satisfaction.”

‘Wimoweh’ as recorded by The Weavers and ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’ are under separate copyright. It was the for the latter, more lucrative song that the recent settlement was made. The copyright to ‘Wimoweh’ is controlled by the Richmond group. The Richmond group settled with the Linda family earlier.

You can find several versions of the song including a full length recording on Mube at the Friday Fishwrap blog.

The background above comes primarily from these articles if you’re interested in reading further.

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Folk Music Grammy Winners for 2006

Article written by on Thursday, Feb 09, 2006 in Awards

The 48th annual Grammy Awards ceremony was held last night. Here are the winners in folk, blues and bluegrass.

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Richard Thompson Boxed Set Released

Article written by on Monday, Feb 06, 2006 in Releases

The long awaited Richard Thompson boxed set ” The life and music of Richard Thompson” was released today on the UK and tommrow in the US.

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Louise Scruggs Has Died

Article written by on Thursday, Feb 02, 2006 in Passings

According to online bluegrass magazine Cybergrass, Louise Scruggs, 78, wife and business partner of bluegrass music legend and Hall of Fame member Earl Scruggs, passed away…

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