Friday, June 11, 2010

World Cup song, sampling and Bridgeport Music

I've been meaning to write about the World Cup song by Shakira recorded and distributed by Sony.  And though I'm supposed to be somewhere else at the moment am prompted to these few thoughts by an email from a colleague on the subject.  Shakira's song is up on YouTube:

It samples/copies a well known song, Zangalewa, by Cameroonian band Golden Sounds from the mid 1980s.

Cameroonian blogger, Dibussi Tande, who I learn of via the Langaa Research and Publishing Common Initiative Group (Langaa RPCIG) got there ahead of me, however, and proved to be much more eloquent and comprehensive about the issue that I would have been.
"In 1985 the Golden Sounds, a group composed primarily of members from Cameroon’s Presidential Guards released an album whose title track Zangalewa was based on a parade song which was popular with the rank and file of the Cameroonian army and whose origins could be traced back Cameroonian riflemen who took part in the Second World War.Zangalewa became an international hit which transformed Emile Kojidie, Victor Dooh Belley and group leader Ze Bella into celebrities (to the dismay of the army brass who subsequently created the conditions that led to the disbanding of the group a few years later – but that is another story). The group also included a few members who were not in the military such as Annie Anzouer who with Ze Bella performed some of the group’s most popular tunes such as Maladie difficile à soigner and the Un bébé, and who later went on to have the most successful solo career among all Golden Sounds members. Fast forward to 2010. Ze Bella who had retired from the Presidential Guards in 2002 was enjoying a quiet retirement in his village when he got a call from an acquaintance in France informing him that Shakira had just released a version of Zangalewa. This information was soon confirmed by Emile Kojidy another Golden Sounds alum now living in the United States. They were both right...
To Cameroonians and many African, the origins of the song was no mystery as they instantly recognized it as a remix of “Zangalewa”. Thus began a frenzied online campaign to alert the world that this was not a Shakira original but a remix. The task was made all the more easier thanks to videos of the Golden Sounds performing Zangalewa that were available on the web. The campaign picked up steam as the international media began taking an interest in the story...
Faced with the barrage of worldwide negative publicity Sony and Shakira (probably with the prodding of FIFA which did not want anything that could mar the World Cup) quickly settled. They agreed to credit Zangalewa and began working out details for a financial compensation. Thus, when on May 5, Fifa officially confirmed that Zaminamina, which was now called “Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)”, was indeed the anthem of the 2010 World cup, it also stressed that “The song was written by Shakira, the world-famous singer from Latin America...The chorus is similar to that of a popular Cameroon song made famous by Golden Voices in particular”."

Just one final thought - how would Shakira's sampling of Zangalewa stand up to the US Court of Appeals decision in the Bridgeport Music case in 2006, when the judge said that sampling a single note might be acceptable but anything more is not permissable.

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