A LION'S TRAIL

The Trail


Talkback

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06/07/2010

It is not too late to help Solomon Linda. He lives through his daughters. While past inequities cannot be erased, an intent to promote justice through concrete action could help heal. Supporting public availability of A Lion's Trail might further social, political, and financial remuneration goals. 05/18/2010
Theresa Mauro
Culver City, CA

This weekend was the first time I've had the opportunity to view this. And, as someone who had lived in the music "business" from the age of 15 to the age of 35, I personally was unaware of Solomon Linda and the plight of his band members. As usual, upon hearing the original version as it was done by Solomon's group, totally elated me in the same way as when I was a kid in the 50's, and would hear the original "black" version of some tepid, "white" cover of an R'n'B record, played on WOV-AM Radio out of New Jersey, or on Alan Freed's late night Rock and Roll broadcasts on WINS-AM in Manhattan. The "black" versions were always far superior. Just as Solomon Linda's Mbube made the Weaver's cover sound like a pale imitation. I wasn't all that surprised to find that the South African White Supremacist apartheid government did not recognize the legitimacy of a "black" artist's talent, given the one step above the slavery level with which they controlled the large masses of African natives who greatly outnumbered the apartheid white supremacist gov. Isn't that always the case? "Sure we'll buy your music, and the publishing rights, but you cannot expect to collect any royalties from it, because you are "black," and that doesn't amount to much around here in Jo-Burg." I mean, it wasn't as if Solomon Linda's group was running around with spears. They were dressed very sharply in their white suits, like they should have been singing back up for Duke Ellington. But, I guess it's just "par for the course" because the same thing happened to Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Ruth Brown, and too many others to count, right up there in Tin Pan Alley in The Brill Building, George Goldner's Gone Records, The 1650 Broadway Building, or down the street at Morris Levy's Roulette Records. It even happened when The Beach Boys all but copped note for note, Chuck Berry's Sweet Little Sixteen melody and put their "Surfin USA" lyrics to it. Chuck called them out on it, and they had to pay. Ruth Brown called out Atlantic, and Ahmet Ertigan paid. And, now you have this Weiss person claiming everything in his name? Even going so far as to cop the added melody worked out by The Tokens? Who does this guy think he is? I'll tell you, Mr. Weiss, you're going to be giving your people a bad name by insisting upon riding roughshod on the coattails of other peoples' talents. The only decent thing to do here is to acknowledge Solomon Linda's greatest contribution, and the work done by The Tokens. They were the true collaborators, here. Not you and your team of lawyers. And, it's a damned shame that it had to come to this after all these years! Don't you think? How greedy can one person get? And, the way you banged out that chorus on the piano as if you were bored to death with what remains to be the very "heartbeat" of that piece, spoke reams about your "talent," your honor, and your character. I'd like to extend my thanks to PBS, KCET, and KOCE for having the gumption and the nerve to air this. And, thank the gentleman who has been working so hard behind t he scenes to right this wrong being done to Solomon Linda's family, his legacy, and to his memory. I applaud and salute you 05/14/2010
Addison, TX

Thank you for airing this story again on Global Voices (channel 13.2 on Friday May 14, 2010). It’s truly a moving, well narrated story. I am particularly heartened by the developments since then to offer future royalties to the family/estate of Salomon Linda. I had never watched the Lion King Musical performance, but I will be sure to do so now with an understanding smile and gratitude for Salomon Linda. 02/25/2009
Donald Hill
Plymouth, WI

I am surprised that nobody has equated this case to That of George Harrison's "My Sweet Lord" which was found to share the melody of "He's so Fine". Harrison paid back royalties. 04/06/2005
Aki KAUTHAR
Phoenix, Arizona

Thanks PBS for exposing the typical everyday actions of a thief who knows his actions are wrong under the eyes of his own creater yet he shows no concern what- so- ever to evan attempt to right this wrong.GOD will surely bless the Linda family. WE poeple with SOULS in america and the rest of the world love you. 5/30/07
Dear All,

I just watched A Lion’s Trail on Cult tv. I didn’t know the story. It is an extraordinary historical document. It should be shown everywhere. It is a pity that the film cannot be purchased for legal reasons, as it would be a further expression of justice towards those who didn’t get any recognition for their work and whose life was heavily effected by the lack of respect of others who became rich and fortunate. With best wishes, 2/16/07
Penn State Alumnus
MD

Wow. As a Penn State grad this song is part of your fabric. I had no idea of the story behind it. The original Solomon Linda holds so much more than the popular version. ...It is true you learn something new everyday... 12/7/06
Lionel Bantu
Claypool, AZ

Someone posted that this story is proof why modern copyright law as it is interpreted is so good. However, is it not that very same fact that prevents this movie from being distributed in DVD form? That is what is implied when you click on "get the DVD?" Justice does not speak in absolutes. 2/22/06
Thandiwe Madondo
Gauteng South Africa

I agree with Los Angeles, CA 4/11/2005 Appalled at the stalling of various companies not giving up the coin. They have it and this families should be paid back royalties. But in this case only Solomon Linda's family reaped the reward. What about the other members of the group (all 5 of them). As mentioned that the money is just sitting in record label coiffeurs as being unclaimed whilst the creators of the work of art receives nothing dies of poverty and not been recognised. Please note we are sad by the documentary of unacknowledged person(s) who originated the melody and was shut out by the major label music industry. Strongly I say shame on those who have not given credit � and royalties where they are due. The group involved in making this song everyone should get a fair share not only the Linda's. The second leader of the group's wife is still alive and very much strong, she can take you back as far as when this group instigated this song, she is saddened by the whole issue of Mbube as she listens to her husband alto voice in the Evening Birds tears roll down her face that is her husband's voice and not been realised and honoured as he is supposed to be. If anyone can prove to us that Linda was the author of the song all by himself kindly give mark of respect and royalties to the other five (5) that is our strong argument and we need to follow up with this matter. We do have the original pictures not tempered with as our proof and the whole story behind Isicathamiya the wife of one of the group leaders can give you enough evidence regarding this song how, why and where was it formed. Please kindly make sure this is posted I would definitely love to hear comments as forward and united we are going with the other families of the remaining group that were not compensated pertaining the whole merger notification 10/26/05
Ac
Mpls Minnesota

This song was robbed I never liked it when I heard it on the radio or in movies, I knew it wasn't an original concept and I knew somewhere along the lines the idea was stolen and then this story confirms it.

I read all the comments about we created extra melodies and lyrics to the song that's a bunch of rubbish the melody of that song was established in the very beginning of the vocal chants the groove and Rhythm of the song was already there.

Oh I forgot how adept and experienced an American Songwriter/ Band would be so capable of recreating authentic African rhythm in 60s yeah sure I'll swallow that one .

Paul Simon Hired Ladysmith why again ?

I love how people forget history because we all know that Mr. Linda would of been given a fair chance in 1930s South Africa and that the racist power structure would of been fair with paying him an equal musicians wage even if this song never made it to the States 7/29/05
mary
Athens, NY

I have always loved this song, without really knowing why it has endured for me. The words added just put an American meaning to the tune but they do not get in the way of the feelings generated. After seeing the film, I am glad Solomon Linda's family will get some money, as they clearly need it and and are morally due, even if strict legality says no. All that aside, I will now know the true creator's name, and the background behind the song...and will appreciate it even more. 6/20/05
Herb Kaufman

I believe Yma Sumac also had a hit with this as well. 6/13/05
P. Williams
Fall River, MA

I find it amazing that anyone would begrudge heirs anything that is rightfully (read morally) theirs. We did not earn our mother's and father's estate, yet we inheret it. And it amazes me that people (old white guys?) don't understand that by the fact that Solomon Linda was living under the poverty and oppression of apartheid the choice of a petty payment or nothing is not a choice at all. To say that the transaction was fair because it was legal is absurd. I hope that Mr. Linda's heirs get everything that he deserves. 5/17/05
Charles Troutman
Agana, Guam

I first heard the song in 1961 or 1962. This appeared to be a unique version since I never heard it again and no wonder. The theme was to mock the emerging african independent nations as icompetent and quite unqorthy of such a status. No wonder it disappeared! Does any one know which version this was? 5/17/05
Ed S.
Northbrook, IL

While I love the song and feel bad for Mr. Linda, I fail to understand why someone should receive additional money after they sold something for what was agreed was a reasonable sum at the time. If a studio buys a song they are taking the risk that it might never be successful. The entrepreneur takes the risk and receives either profit or loss. It's like if I sell something to another person for $100 and they in turn sell it for $200 why should I be entitled to a share of his profit?

Having said that, I think it is the right thing for Mr. Linda's family to receive some money and, from what I have read, that has been done. 5/17/05
Michael Vitetta

This is the reason for Copyrights. The laws that covered works created before the mid '70's were strict about how they were registered. Nowadays the rules here in the US are much easier to understand and enforce. 5/17/05
john dean
sacramento,ca

Copyright protection should be limited to something less than 30 years after production. To extend copyright without any new creation is to foster the creation of a privlidged class of "do-nothing" decendants. 5/17/05
EM
Savannah, GA

The rights were SOLD for "Mbube" (1939) to Gallo Records who paid Linda and his group a flat session fee for the recording, after which the company owned the song and did not have to pay any composer royalties.

This may be a poor business decision on the group's part, but actors, writers, artists of all types have made the same mistakes. The point is the family isn't entitled to reimbursement; they have already been paid. All rights were sold & paid for.

We can feel the group made a poor decision, but suppose the record was never heard of again, would the daughter then repay Gallo Records because no money was made from what a flat rate payment had been made. I think she would not believe she should reimburse them. They all took a business risks.

Don't we all have things we've sold that were later of lots more value? 5/5/05
Philip F. Margo
Beverly Hills, CA
It's kind of goofy to be inside a story and watch it portrayed as truth when you know it is greatly lacking because you were there. I am one of the original Tokens (The Lion Sleeps Tonight) and I was quite disappointed in your documentary regarding Mbube from Solomon Linda right on up to The Tokens. Although it makes dramatic and gut-wrenching television to show a family in poverty because they were cheated out of royalties that their father should have received for creating a melody that became part of mega success it went very little into the actual creation of The Lion Sleeps Tonight itself which was the mega success. If the "ten" words given the group on the day of the recording session in July 1961 were to be sung with the melody of the original chant then it would have been repititous and boring. The Tokens upon receiveing the lyric went to the piano and created a whole new melody for the lyric section of the song for which we received not a nickle. It is easy to hear the difference and George David Weiss himself in a legal proceeding admitted that The Tokens "threw together a melody." Throwing together a melody is what creating a song is! Everytime an artist "throws together" a collection of notes it is indeed writing. Therefore Mr. Weiss is the benefactor of someone elses work besides Solomon Linda. What does that make him and don't you think this aspect should have been or should be covered as part of the "true" story? 5/3/05
Randy Alexander
China
Unfortunately I don't have the resources here to give you the page it was on, but I remember in a music history class seeing the first eight or so notes of the melody in the beginning of a chant in a twelfth century manuscript called "Magnus Liber" (big book) by a composer named Leonin (lion). Is it possible that Solomon Linda studied music history somewhere and was inspired by that twelfth century chant? 4/29/05
VJ
LA, CA

When and where will "A Lion's Trail" be shown again? The DVD is not available due to legal issues, and my family MUST see it! It's an important film, full of masterfully performed music and fascinating information. Please show it again, or make it somehow available!

Thank you for your continued airing of high quality films, PBS. 4/27/05
WH
Leesburg, VA

As a Caucasian African, I long for the beat of Africa...the beat in "Eh Wimoweh", which I heard on a radio program in Namibia, when I was just 10 or so.

Having just returned from a 2 day trip to NY City this evening, I was viewing the photos from our digital camera and was reminded of the 'Lion King' show, which we were not able to see. This was a great disappointment to my kids (12 & 13), who love to 'experience' tales of Africa....and yes; they've seen lions in the wild.

Thanks to PBS, I am so glad we did not see the Broadway show, and maybe to Disney and fellow exploiters it doesn't matter. To my conscience it does and here is the irony.....we left a bigoted South Africa for America, because we believed that everyone should get their share where and when it's due.

So, Mr Weiss and cohorts ie. Disney, please don't shame America or the South African community. Own up, and pay your dues. A mighty God reigns, and He does forgive you know. The way I see it; Mr Solomon Linda probably all ready has.

PS: Take a courtesy tip from the "Happy Birthday to You" story.
http://www.snopes.com/music/songs/birthday.htm 4/27/05
M. Camille Bryson
Detroit, MI

My highest regards for Mr. Rian Malan for his on-going efforts to try and make such an injustice right for Soloman Linda and his family. Thanks to PBS for showing it, even though it was not listed as part of the programming on 04.24.04. It is very disturbing to continually watch this kind of plagarism that's been going on for what seems like forever, when it comes to "Black" music.

George Weiss has acted in the only way he knows how to act because he posesses no real talent of his own. Like all jealous people with low self esteem he resorted to doing exactly what the demon in him dictated. To expect that he will do the 'right' thing and acknowledge his errors is to expect a miracle from such. We all know that demonic spirits do not come from GOD!

May our Lord continue to watch over the Linda family and their protector, Rian Malan. Paula Morris
Bronx, New York

I have listened to "Wimoway," since the '50's and loved it. The driving background harmony set the basis for the song. After hearing the South African musicians perform the song, I have to say that the other artists don't come close in capturing the feel of the lion.
�Unfortunately, Mr. Linda is not unique in his story. I can't believe that Mr. Weiss said he wrote the song and with such arrogance. I don't care what the judge's decision was. If it wasn't for Solomon, there would have been no "The Lion Sleeps Tonight," and the millions he reaped from it. I bet he has never seen a lion in the zoo, let alone in the wild.
�The right thing to do is have Mr. Linda's name on the song and the family should reap the benefits. They are the beneficiaries of the estate. This was a very disturbing documentary. I will never listen to the song in the same way again. 4/20/05
P. Alamigo
New York, N.Y.

After a century of stealing music from artists, the record companies, now media giants, and their mouthpiece the RIAA has decided that stealing music from them is a crime. And so they sue music lovers, children and college students. What hippocracy! 4/15/05
Larry Zerkel
Ka'a'awa, Hawai'i

The song has haunted me since 1953, when as a entrant at the University of Chicago, I first heard it broadcast over KQED-FM on a weekly folk song program called "Midnight Special" (yes, the Leadbelly recording was the theme.) Wimoway was sung by Joseph Marais and Miranda, whom I haven't heard mentioned, and we could count on hearing it every Saturday night. Kept us off the streets, and led us to other African music. I thought "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" was an appropriate addition as it helped to popularize a great song. Of course Linda's family and The Manhattan Brothers should be compensated. 4/15/05
Paul Prinsloo
Mesa, AZ

As an ex South African and a musician, I can attest that the treatment of Solomon Linda and his song is not unique. South African musicians have long been the pawns of the record companies and this has resulted in a poor musical representation in the country and in the rest of the world.

Unfortunately it is not only the South African recording companies who are to blame as the politicians themselves are involved. Paul Simon was accused of stealing South Africa's music after the release of his "Graceland" album. Instead of embracing the opportunity to present the wonderful African rhythms to the world, these people ensured other international artist would think twice before delving into African musicology.

Luckily there are independent labels that have sprung up recently but these are small and cannot hope to spread the wonderful depth of music to international ears.

South African music is the loser. 4/13/05
Lyn Bastone
Glendale, California

Thank you PBS for airing the story of Solomon Linda. Although it is sad that Linda died unrecognised and in poverty, one hopes that his creative, musical life brought him much joy. He gave us wonderful music which brought us all much joy. I liketo think that Solomon Linda was rewarded in a way that mere mortals cannot yet know about. So, no I don't entirely agree with Joe Mogotsi. In 1963, When Independence was being celebrated in Kenya, Harry Belafonte came to Nairobi and gave two concerts, each one on separate nights. Miriam Makeba, who had already made "Wimoweh" famous throughout Africa, came up from Johannesburg to join him and together they gave two unforgettable, joyful and fabulous performances. The only Europeans among hundreds of Kenyan people, we were all totally mesmerised. The pair sang several much-loved Belafonte songs, but mostly the music was African.

In that I now know about Solomon Linda and his family, yes, my perception of Wimoweh has changed so that I now treasure this song and many other African songs, even more. 4/11/05
Aida Thomas
Los Angeles

I heard the song when it first came out, I was only 10 years old and I was in my native Mexico.

Even though we did not understand the words it became an instant hit in my country, we even 'knew' how to sing it.

There were also Spanish versions to it of course, but the English version was the best.

When I saw the program tonite I was crying the whole time.

I am very happy there are responsible people who are actually doing something about it.

It is incredible how many criminals there are in the music industry and yet no one stops them!

Disney Company and the rest of the criminals involved in this scamare evil and corrupt indecent people who already have more money than they can actually spend yet, they won't share with the rightful heirs to the song. 4/11/05
Fred Clemens
New Jersey

Having not seen the documentary yet, I'm eagerly anticipating it's airing.

I personally took a liking to the song, as I first heard it back in 1961, as "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" by the Tokens (I was 8). It was a few years later that the Weavers version, as "Wimoweh", became known to me. It was 1997 before I finally heard Solomon Linda's version, though I had learned of it some 10 years earlier via Bob Shannon's BEHIND THE HITS book. Upon hearing the Linda version, I was put on a mission to learn more.

Being a record collector, I already had a couple of versions of the song. Within a few days of searching the local stores, the count went up to almost two dozen. Once I connected to the Internet, the quantity multiplied quickly.

Then, in May of 2000, I was truely amazed at the article written in ROLLING STONE MAGAZINE by Rian Malan. The background investigation that Rian had amassed about the song was stunning to say the least.

The Collection grows almost daily, at least it feels that way sometimes.

Notable entries include two from 1960. One is a version by the Randy Sparks Three, titled as "Eh Wimoweh", where they put in partial lyrics of their own into the song. The second is one titled "Wimoweh (The Lion Sleeps)" by Kitty White. This version pre-dates the Tokens version by a full year, being issued on Dot Records in October of 1960. Kitty White wrote her own lyrics to the tune, but contrary to the title, her lyric focuses on the love for her man rather than any sleeping lion. It would be interesting if this version had caught on instead of going the way of the Tokens.

Thanks for finally bringing this docu-drama Stateside. For some unknown reason, it slipped by it's intended intial airing date in my area. From what I've read so far, it'll be well worth the wait. 4/11/05
Los Angeles, CA

Not too suprised by Weiss's claim to have "wrote" the song as he added lyrics to an already written song and was able to get away with it back in those days. Days where royalty accounting didn't apply to artists and then the added problem of blacks in South Africa having no rights. I'm at 11 year veteran of the music industry in Los Angeles and I'm appalled at the stalling of various companies not giving up the coin. They have it and this family should be paid back royalties! I'm aware that there is money just sitting in record label coiffers as being unclaimed. The music industry should do the right thing for once! 4/11/05
John K.
Newark, DE

Bravo! To Verster and Malan (and of course PBS).

I fell asleep the other night with the TV on to awake to sound of the (real) Mbube and to see A Lion's Tail-- I could not believe it wasn't a dream. I have known for some time of the shameful lack of credit the recording industry has given Solomon Lindy's contribution to The Lion Sleeps Tonight and have always listened to the song with mixed emotions. I could not believe that he has finally gotten some small taste of redemption in this wonderful film. My respect and admiration for Pete Seger continues to grow. We are all grateful to Seger and Siegel for helping to set the record straight.

This film goes a long way to remind me that there is still a lot of good people in the world who know the difference between right and wrong.

Please show this film again (preferably not past midnight). 4/11/05
Sandra

How enlightening! This was a wonderful film and I am quite moved.

Can an address be posted for the daughters to receive mail? Perhaps Mr. Weiss is on the defensive due to the manner he was approached?? Think of how to approach a lion so he does not feel it is an attack but an honest request. Just my thoughts...

Independant Lens is such a valuable and enjoyable show. 4/11/05
Billie Kariher-Dyer
Los Angeles, California

The first time I heard the song "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" I was at a youth gathering and we learned a line dance to it. It is a wonderful memory of growing up and discovering who I am. I think it would be safe to say that most of us have wonderful happy memories of the first time they heard this song. A song that has given us all such a wonderful gift as a great childhood memory deserves to have the original author recognized.

I think that it is important for us all to think about the fact that even though the law or the courts rule in a certain way, it is not necessarily what is right. Having said that, there must be some way that possibly the original version of the song could be performed and the proceeds somehow be funneled to the decendants of Solomon Linda. If I understood the film correctly the english words in the song are the version that he is not getting benifit from. Can't the original be performed without the proceeds going to those who do not deserve them. 4/11/05

Thank you for your wonderful program of "A Lion's Trail". I was sad by the documentary of unacknowledged person(s) who orginated the melody and was shut out by the major label music industry.

I can understand Pete Seeger's motive to try to save LInda's family members by reimbursement as an adequate solution. Doing this is only a drop in the bucket of many, many artists who have been discounted by presently wealthy perjurists.

Hearing the original version of the "weemaweh" was more enchanting than I could ever imagine.

Thank you 4/8/05
RM
Miami, FL

I was only familiar with the Tokens' 1961 version of this song (I was born in '67) until I saw this documentary the other night. I was shocked and fascinated to learn of the true origins of this song and now have a new appreciation for it. Shame on those who have not given credit - and royalties - where they are due. I hope Linda's descendants get their fair share. Kudos to all those involved in making this enlightening film. 4/7/05
A. JOHARA
Wellington, Florida

I was 11 years old when I heard MBUBE as wimoway broadcast on Sunday afternoons via RADIO! It was the signature song someone of who called himself "The South African TransVeld man" His stories of his "treks" through the bush kept me to riveted to the floor with my ear pressed as close to the radio as my MOM would allow. In my mind's eye he was my LONE RANGER and BUCK ROGERS rolled into one. He was my hero. I ignored play time with friends and snacked or ate supper by the radio. I lived for Sunday afternoons. He was my Black African Hero of the late 1930's. Imagine how I felt when my father told me that my hero was a caucasian radio personality sharing fantasies with his gullible audience. I don't recall when he left the airways or why. I never heard him again but, I did heard "wimoway" when the Weavers introduced it to the public. I was livid. I thought they didn't have a right to sing the song or to present it to the world as brand new as if it was theirs alone. Years past by. Imagine how elated I was to see (TV) and hear Miriam Makeba sing the song and perform the Zulu Boot Dance as well. I sang it all the time tried to pronunce the words as I thought they sounded and considered myself as having found my ethnic identity at last. I'm crying again as when father told me about my hero. But I thank you bringing joy to me, I've heard my old favorite song. Also thank you telling the truth and for exposing Michael Weiss to us all. I am now 73 yrs old & wiser. I will pray for on going justice for the Solomon Linda family. 4/7/05
Atlanta, GA

I am completely surprised by the revelation of the origins of this song. I always attributed the song to the Weavers but it clearly and obviously was written by Soloman Linda. Mr. Weiss' behavior is completely appalling. I am stunned at his claims to have "written" the song. Yes, clearly he has written the "Lion" lyric, but that does not give him the right to claim the entire composition as his. Shame on you, Mr. Weiss. The Lindas deserve to live with dignity and the American music industry and Mr. Weiss has deprived them of that. It is as though they are tacitly approving the methods during apartheid that kept Mr. Linda from receiving appropriate compensation in the first place. Greed is a powerful force--unfortunately these actions communicate to the world that Americans are greedy and insensitive. Again, how appalling. 4/7/05
Dorkenu
NY. N.Y.

I have not seen the film however, I am thrilled to read about it. We Africans need to wake up from our slumber. Thanks again for the enlightenment about right and wrong. 4/7/05
Georgia Purdy
Jasper, TX

Independent Lens is like morning after a rain, when the sky looks as if it has been washed clean. It brings a freshness lacking in so much of what we view on television. The Lion's Trail was outstanding. I was in college the first time I heard "The Lion Sleeps Tonight"and thought it was one of the neatest songs I had ever heard; however, I will never hear it again without remembering Solomon Linda and the injustice he and his family faced.

Reimbursing Linda's family is a first step in correcting this wrong. Hopefully, this film will spur a movement to see that others in the same situation can also be compensated. Joe Mogotsi is correct when he says that not receiving royalties and a contract is like giving your life away. To create a work of art and receive little, while others reap the rewards is like somone stealing a part of oneself.

Thank you PBS and Independent Lens for bringing us this bit of truth. 4/6/05
Aki KAUTHAR
phoenix arizona

Thanks PBS for exposing the typical everyday actions of a thief who knows his actions are wrong under the eyes of his own creater yet he shows no concern what- so- ever to evan attempt to right this wrong.GOD will surely bless the Linda family. WE poeple with SOULS in america and the rest of the world love you. 4/6/05
Amy Varner
Denver, Colorado

I would like to thank PBS for airing this film last night. I had never heard of Solomon Linda before, and I am so happy to know his name and a little about his legacy today.

Many folk songs cannot be traced back to a single songwriter - which is part of the beauty of folk music. However, in this case, Solomon Linda's descendents deserve the royalties from "Wimoweh" and "The Lion Sleeps Tonight." The song is clearly the work of Solomon Linda - while others simply added their own twists to it along the way.

The film was beautifully made, and the closing scene with the daughters and family singing "Mbube" sent shivers down my spine. May Americans come to know more about the roots of all the music they listen to - and may we honor and appreciate the original songwriters and cultures that brought us that music.

Thank you, PBS, for opening our eyes to yet a little more of the world and history. 4/6/05
John Leadford
Sunnyvale California

I heard Jimmy Dorsey play "Wimoweh" at the Hollywood Paladium in 1953/54.

The tune cought me by the ear and I was singing "Wimoweh" until others were driven "bonkers" and begged me to stop.

Perhaps my memory is tricking me but I swear that the song included the word "The lion sleeps tonight."

I sang it so much it burned it's way into my memory, sleeping lion and all.

Try as I might, I can't remember the name of the girl that I took to that dance more than 50 years ago but I sure remember the song. 4/6/05
Cedra
Nashville, TN

This story was amazing and demonstrated the triumphant spirit of music and an artist in spite of the greed of record companies, theft (as in Mr. Weiss and his so-called "anglicization" of Linda's music) and racism. Bravo to PBS/Independent Lens and those who seek to pursue Disney and other exploiters. His daughters are entitled to something...they did not ask to live in poverty, nor to be ripped-off. 4/6/05
cynthia boren

Thank you so much for the programming shown on pbs. I'm a black women in my late 40's and it always nice to learn more about your african people.

I'm glad that the courts stepped in and made the situation a little better, but god will make it right. 4/6/05
Dalzell, SC

As I watched the film tonight, my heart sank. All I could think about was Solomon Linda. A great musician who I knew nothing about. As a music teacher I find that very disappointing. I know that Mr. Weiss is not the first person to steal music from a person who didn't know any better. But as I watched the clip of him on the the talk show validating himself by saying that he researched the meaning of "mumbe", I saw a man who knew exactly what he was doing and knew that he was and did get away with it. The request to give the Linda daughters what their father rightfully earned is not new, but it has taken over 40 years for the record label to even acknoledge that they even owed them. This film was wonderful! I loved that it was not one sided. Three different sources said that Solomon Linda wrote the music and African words to the song. The only thing Mr. Wiess did was embellish on teh translation of the of the song. I think that he should have to pay a settlement fee to the Linda family, but of course I do not think that will ever happen. I just find it very ironic that many Americans look down on Africans, but love their rhythm and melodies. 4/6/05
Jo Ann Thompson
Oak Ridge, Tennessee

It is a sad story for music that brings such pleasure. Often, in history, great artist are not recognized or rewarded for their contributions, but in this case the injustic is particularly disheartening because it involves racism, exploitation, and greed. The rule of law did not protect Soloman Linda nor is it likely that U.S. law will rule in favor of his family.

However, the "truth" is some compensation -- to know the truth. "Mbube" will live on in the years to come as will the name--Soloman Linda. 4/6/05
Lillian M.
Houston, Texas

I strongly believe that it would only be fair to help Linda's family, he has passed on, but his family is still struggling in South Africa. Nothing would compare to the amount of money that has been made by duplicating this song. I have heard the song many many times, and several times played by local bands in the U.S, it is time that we africans were recognized and not exploited. No one can take a song and just play it without meeting some legal obligations, they cannot do it to Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston etc, so why do it to our african musicians?

they deserve a large sum of money from all who played the song and hit the charts. 4/6/05
Glenna

I am 60, so I remember the song from the late 50's and of course my grandchildren have the tape of Lion King, which proves it has survived for many years. I had no idea of all the controversy. It's never too late to right a wrong. I don't believe it started out as a racist issue, but it certainly can be interpreted as one now. Yes, I believe it is like Joe Mogotsi said,it was part of Linda's life that made the song in the first place. He is the one who grew up hearing it and understood what it meant and was the first to popularize it.

After seeing the show tonight, I am so saddened by the facts. I hate injustice and I despise a rich man who refuses to share his wealth with those he robbed for his own gain. The Bible says he will have an easier time passing a camel through the eye of a needle , than getting into heaven. Mr. Weiss needs to set things right with his Maker! 4/6/05
Nick Schmansky
Boston, MA

Perhaps Apple Computer could be convinced to give a percentage of sales of any version of this song sold on their iTunes Music Store to the Solomon Linda family. 4/5/05
Lynne Mardoc
South Glastonbury, CT

Thank you for broadcasting this enlightening story. And thank you to everyone involved in making this story. You are all heroes. Thank you all so, so much. Hopefully you can continue to right the wrongs that were done to Solomon Linda and his family. And I hope that somehow, somewhere Mr. Linda knows how much we are all enjoying his song.
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