We finally know what the intro to the 'Circle of Life' in 'The Lion King' really means
They announced a little while back that The Lion King was getting a live-action reboot, featuring an incredible cast, including the likes of Donald Glover and Beyonce. Not much else has been revealed about the film that's due to come out next year, but it has been reported that the iconic opening sequence on Pride Rock will be closely replicated.
I mean, how could they get rid of that? The image of the rising sun over the African savannah as all the animals that live there gather at the rock to meet Simba for the first time, all while The Circle of Life begins to play with that unforgettable opening of "NAAAAAAH SOMBENYAAAAAAH"... or however it goes.
Well, isn't it time that we learn what the intro to the song - which is sung in the African language of Zulu - actually means? The official lyrics to the opening actually read this:
"Nants ingonyama bagithi Babaas Sithi uhm ingonyama
Nants ingonyama bagithi baba
Sithi uhhmm ingonyama
Ingonyama nengw' enamabala".
As mentioned, the opening part of the song is sung in Zulu, a language from South Africa. I imagine not many of you can understand Zulu, so the beginning of the song has always been something of a mystery. But, thanks to a translation of the lyrics from Genius, we now know what they mean.
But... you might be a bit disappointed to know that the lyrics aren't as epic as you might've imagined. They're translated to say something like:
"Here comes a lion, father
Oh yes, it’s a lion
Here comes a lion, father
Oh yes it’s a lion
We’re going to conquer
A lion and a leopard come to this open place".
Right, so they're literally just singing that there's a lion, and "Oh yes, it's a lion".
The lyrics to the song were written by a South African composer called Lebo M, who was asked by Hans Zimmer to help with the film's soundtrack.
"We explained to him, it's a story of one lion who loses his father in tragic circumstances and ultimately has to rise up to his responsibility as king," director Rob Minkoff said in the 1994 documentary The Making of The Lion King. "[His composition] was just magic. It was unbelievable... When he explained the English translation, he had found the heart of the movie."
Yes, while the English translation might be kind of underwhelming, there is something incredibly powerful in the simplicity too.
There are many other nice touches in the film that pay tribute to the continent of Africa. The Circle of Life is partly in Zulu, from South Africa, while all the characters' names are in Swahili, a language spoken in eastern and southeastern Africa. There are also references to Masai traditions, which shows that the huge number and variety of cultures across the continent were taken into consideration when making the 1994 film.
Jon Favreau will be directing the new Lion King, and he'll be giving it the same live action - mixed with CGI treatment - he gave The Jungle Book remake (which he also directed).
We can't wait!