Beyoncé has released a song featuring lyrics in Kiswahili, one of Africa’s more widely spoken languages.
The song, “Spirit,” is featured on the Lion King album produced by the star, which is the soundtrack to Disney’s new version of the classic movie The Lion King. The song’s intro features words in Kiswahili: “Uishi kwa mda mrefu mfalme,” a voice chants twice at the start of the song. The phrase, translated into English, means “Long live the king.” The album, which was released on July 19, the date of the global release of the film, features the work of several African producers, according to Beyoncé.
‘‘It was important that the music was not only performed by the most interesting and talented artists but also produced by the best African producers. Authenticity and heart were important to me,’‘ Beyoncé said in a statement issued on Tuesday, July 30.
The statement adds that the album is “steeped in African influences from various corners of the continent, with unexpected collaborations, pulsating rhythms, and crisp production that celebrate the African diaspora.
“This love letter to Africa highlights the setting of the film, rooted in African culture and wondrous narratives.”
Last year, South Africa’s Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party leader Julius Malema called for Africans to adopt Kiswahili as a common language. “Maybe not in our generation, but in generations to come, we must develop a common language that can be used throughout the continent, like Swahili, if it can be developed as the language of the continent,” said Malema.
[Image: Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage]