Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)

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"Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)"
Single by Shakira featuring Freshlyground
from the album Listen Up! The Official 2010 FIFA World Cup Album
Released 7 May 2010 (2010-05-07)
Format Digital download
Recorded 2010
Genre Latin pop, world, Afro-fusion
Length 3:22
Label Sony Music, Epic
Writer(s) John Hill, Shakira, Freshlyground, Golden Sounds
Producer(s) John Hill, Shakira
Shakira singles chronology
  • "Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)"
  • (2010)
Music video
"Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)" on YouTube
Music video
"Waka Waka (Esto es África)" on YouTube

"Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)" (Spanish: "Waka Waka (Esto es África)") is a song by Colombian singer-songwriter Shakira featuring South African band Freshlyground. It was released on May 7, 2010, by Sony Music Entertainment and Epic Records as the official song of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. It additionally served as the lead single from the accompanying compilation album Listen Up! The Official 2010 FIFA World Cup Album.[1][2] The song was written and produced by John Hill with additional songwriting by Shakira, Freshlyground, and Golden Sounds.

The K-Mix version of the song was also included on Shakira's seventh studio album, Sale el Sol. "Waka Waka" was performed by Shakira and Freshlyground at the 2010 FIFA World Cup Kick-Off concert in Soweto on June 10, 2010, and at the final on July 11, 2010. "Waka Waka" has sold more than four million copies worldwide making it the best-selling and the fastest-selling World Cup anthem in the digital age.

As of March 2014, the single's music video is the eighth-most watched music video on YouTube with more than 630 million total views.

Background and composition[edit]

"Waka Waka" is based on the traditional African soldiers song entitled "Zamina mina (Zangaléwa)", a 1986 makossa hit for Cameroonian group, Golden Sounds.[3]

A 22 second sample to "Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)" where Shakira sings the chorus

Problems playing this file? See media help.

After the song was officially chosen as the anthem for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Shakira said: "I am honored that 'Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)' was chosen to be part of the excitement and the legacy of the 2010 FIFA World Cup."

"Waka Waka" was written by Shakira and John Hill and co-produced by Hill.[2] The track, which samples the chorus of "Zangaléwa",[4] features Afro-Colombian instrumentation, Soca beat and South African guitars.[5][6] The song consists of rhythmical African sounds, and is intended to represent the vitality and energy of the host continent.[7] The song is set in the time signature of common time, with a metronome of 128 beats per minute. It is composed in the key of D major.[8]

Critical reception[edit]

Chirag Sutar from Radio and Music gave the song a very positive review and awarded it 4 out of 5 stars, saying that "Shakira's version is superb with positive lyrics appealing to a universal audience while maintaining its African sound. The song has brilliant African percussion lines, that can get you grooving instantly. Plus, it also scores for the way it builds up into a celebratory vibe with the chorus line."[9] Entertainment Weekly's Simon Vozick-Levinson wrote that "the hooks here are nowhere near as indelible or inventive as those on last year's awesome She Wolf, but they'll do."[10]

Robert Copsey from Digital Spy gave the song 3 out of 5 stars and said "[...] she sings over beats as fat and bouncy as a well-fed baby. Thankfully, 'Waka Waka' also has a ludicrously catchy chorus cribbed from an old Cameroonian tune and plenty of hip-swingable moments, ensuring it never quite dissolves into an all-out cheese-fest."[11] Indrajit Hazra from Hindustan Times said "Shakira reminded everyone why football and her frenetic rhythms have been a winning team. [...] Waka Waka is the perfect cheering-on song. As far as Shakira goes, her infectious Waka Waka totally works."[12] Martin Caballero of the Boston Herald said that "With its catchy hook and breezy summer vibe, 'Waka Waka' sounds more like a song for a South African tourism advertisement, not the world’s biggest sports event."[13]

Kyle Anderson from MTV said that "Joined by Africa fusion band Freshlyground and a bevy of dancers, Shakira rolls through the funky, inspirational tune with her usual blend of jittery energy and engaging charm. It also doesn't hurt that she's an excellent dancer, as are the performers (many of them children) who flank her throughout the clip. The clip is augmented by footage from soccer matches and worldwide World Cup-related celebrations in a number of foreign cities. Though Shakira's performance is excellent, she can't hold a candle to the intensity of World Cup-caliber soccer players, which means that the key scene from "Waka Waka (This Time For Africa)" is a killer slide tackle."[14] Brian Banks from Music Vice wrote that "The video does a fantastic job of capturing the energy and passion of the World Cup, as so many hopes and dreams fall to the feet of the chosen few. If the hair on your neck is not raised by the football action in this video, then maybe at least your pulse will be raised by the delectable Ms. Shakira."[15] Amy Saeyang Mattox from Gather.com echoed their praise, stating that "It's a wonderfully crisp video and starts off with a soccer scene then there's Shakira singing very uplifting and inspiring lyrics with the main point being that (This time [is] for Africa). The Waka Waka video is very colorful and bright as to be expected from Shakira, a lot of sunny yellows and red are used. Waka Waka (This time for Africa) is a great blend of pop and drums with a dash of sassy sauciness."[16]

Commercial performance[edit]

On the issue dated June 26, 2010, "Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)" debuted at No. 43 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, selling 57,000 digital downloads in its first week of release.[17] This marked Shakira's second-highest debut on the Hot 100, after "She Wolf" opened at thirty-four in 2009.[18] The following week, the song climbed five places to No. 38.[19] It also debuted at No. 47 on the Hot Latin Songs chart and No. 35 on Latin Pop Songs chart. For the following week dated June 26, 2010, it was named Greatest Gainer on both charts reaching No. 26 on Hot Latin Songs and No. 11 on Latin Pop Songs. It also debuted at No. 31 on the Tropical Songs chart for the week dated June 26, 2010.[20] The song has since reached No. 2 on Billboard's Hot Latin Songs and No. 2 on Latin Pop Songs.[21][22] Four months after its release, the song was certified Gold by the RIAA for sales of over 500,000 copies.[23] It also became the biggest selling Latin song of the year, selling over 867,000 digital copies, according to Nielsen Soundscan.[24] As of March 2014, the song has sold 1,763,000 copies in the U.S.[25]

In Canada, the song debuted at No. 65 on the Canadian Hot 100 chart.[26] It dropped out of the chart briefly, before reentering at No. 72 in the June 19, 2010 issue of Billboard and was named Best Comeback.[27] The following week, the song climbed almost 60 places to No. 14.[28] It then climbed a further three places, reaching No. 11.[21] On the European Hot 100, the song debuted at No. 88 before eventually reaching No. 1.[29]

"Waka Waka" debuted at No. 23 on the Australian Physical Singles Chart on June 14, 2010, and then rose to No. 6.[30] On June 21, 2010, the song debuted at No. 39 on the Australian Top 50 Singles Chart and No. 37 on the Top 40 Digital Track Chart.[31][32] In its third week, "Waka Waka" peaked at No. 32.[33] In the United Kingdom, the song entered the chart on June 13, 2010, at No. 38, eventually climbing to its peak position of No. 21, marking Shakira's ninth Top 30 in the country. It has so far spent 11 weeks inside the UK top 40. In June 2011, it re-ntered the UK Singles Chart, peaking at No. 58.[34] The song also charted in Japan, debuting at No. 12 on the Japan Hot 100.[35] On the Spanish Single Charts for the week ending May 16, 2010, the song debuted at No. 18 as the week's strongest entry.[36] Three weeks later, the song topped the chart.[37] On its sixth week in the Spanish Chart, "Waka Waka" was certified Gold for sales of at least 20,000 copies, and was certified Platinum the following week.[38] The single has become Shakira's longest-running No. 1 single in Spain, topping the chart for 17 consecutive weeks.[39] The song sold in excess of 235,000 copies in Spain.[40]

The song debuted on the French Digital Singles Chart at No. 31, selling 2,100 downloads.[41] In its second week, the song climbed twenty-nine places, reaching No. 2 with sales of 7,900 copies.[41] In its third week, it topped the chart with sales of almost 10,000 copies, a 26% increase on the week before.[42] "Waka Waka" sold a total of 373,068 copies in France in 2010.[43] In Germany, the song sold 750,000 copies and was certified 5xGold, becoming Shakira's most successful single there.[44]

On July 12, 2010, Shakira's official website announced that "Waka Waka" was No. 1 in all the countries served by the radio network Los 40 Principales, including Spain, Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Chile, and Argentina. Shakira became the second artist to achieve this feat after Alejandro Sanz.[45]

In India, 300,000 subscribers of Vodafone Essar bought the "Waka Waka" anthem for their mobile phones.[46] It was also the most downloaded song of the year on the Nokia Ovi Music Store.[47]

The single became a worldwide hit, reaching No. 1 in at least 22 different countries, including Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Paraguay, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, and the World Cup's host country, South Africa.[48]

According to FIFA, "Waka Waka" has sold four million copies worldwide.[49] It is the fastest-selling, as well as the biggest-selling World Cup single of the digital age.[50]

Criticism[edit]

Some South Africans[who?] complained that they would have liked a local singer to perform the song instead, and also criticized the selection of other non-African acts such as Juanes,[citation needed] The Black Eyed Peas, Alicia Keys and John Legend to perform at the tournament’s kickoff concert, instead of local musicians.[51] Stuart Derdeyn from The Province said "Red Card for bad taste.[...] This leads to sonic vomit such as Shakira's 'Waka Waka (This Time For Africa),' perhaps the stupidest official song for any major sporting event ever."[52] Amos Barshad from New York Magazine said "The song is a perfectly innocuous bit of inspiration pop — 'when you fall get up, oh oh/and if you fall get up, eh eh,' Shakira suggests at one point — with a few vague nods toward what would be identified by a majority of Western-pop-reared individuals as 'world music.' But are you prepared to hear it over and over and over again?"[53]

Shakira responded to the issue of a non-South African singing the song, explaining that:

"The World Cup is about this melting pot, you know, in which so many cultures come together. So when Sony ... asked me to write a song for the World Cup, I decided to bring a little bit of my culture, too, which is attached to Africa through an umbilical cord. I mean, I was raised listening to music that was heavily influenced by African music ... that's how close Colombians are to African culture. So I decided to use a little of Colombian and Afro-Caribbean elements, these chants from Cameroon ... and invite a South African artist to also bring their own flavor to this song. And I thought in that way we could create a song that would be more emblematic of what the world cup spirit is, that spirit of tolerance and integration and that melting pot that South Africa is right now."[54]

Music video[edit]

Shakira dancing in the "Waka Waka" video

The video, available in standard definition as well as in 3D,[55] premiered on June 6, 2010.[14] Soccer players Gerard Piqué, Dani Alves, Rafa Márquez, Idriss Carlos Kameni, Josip Šimunić, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Lionel Messi appear in the video,[56] along with Shakira and Freshlyground.[57] Archive footage from past World Cups is intercut with scenes of celebration and dancing. The video starts out with the tournament-winning penalty by Fabio Grosso from the World Cup in 2006. Brazilians Ronaldo, Denilson[disambiguation needed] and Pelé are highlighted, along with Diego Maradona, Zinedine Zidane, David Beckham, and the famous penalty miss by Roberto Baggio in 1994 which secured the championship for Brazil.[58] The video was directed by Marcus Raboy. It is the only 3D video to be shown at the World Cup and is also Sony Music's first ever 3D music video.[59]

The video is ranked No. 1 on The Guardian's Viral Video Chart.[60] The video became an international hit with daily views of around three million between June 10 and June 17, 2010.[48] It has since reached over 570 million views on YouTube, becoming the second-most viewed video by a female artist and the seventh-most viewed video overall.[61]

Live performances[edit]

Shakira performing "Waka Waka " in Manchester, UK on December 14, 2010 during The Sun Comes Out World Tour

Shakira and Freshlyground performed the track at the opening ceremony of the World Cup on June 10, 2010, as well as at the closing ceremony, two hours before the final match began on July 11 in Johannesburg, South Africa.[5][62] The outfits for Shakira's World cup performances were created by Italian designer Roberto Cavalli.[63] She also performed the song at the United Kingdom's Glastonbury Festival on June 26, 2010, during the World Cup competition.[64] Before singing the song, she said, "I just performed this in South Africa and thought it would be appropriate to sing it tonight because ... there is a big match tomorrow which I'm planning to watch in some pub in east London. Let's hear you make some noise for England!"[65] She also performed the song as the opening number of the 2010 Premios Juventud Awards on July 15, 2010, along with her single "Gypsy".[66]

World Cup kick-off[edit]

Shakira performing "Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)" at the Palacio de Deportes

Shakira and Freshlyground performed the song at FIFA's Kick-Off Concert on June 10, 2010 in Orlando Stadium in Johannesburg, along with her singles "She Wolf" and "Hips Don't Lie".[67][68] For the opening, Shakira took to the stage in a zebra print jumpsuit under a fringe skirt resembling typical African tribal costumes, and wore leather and jeweled bracelets on her arms.[69][70]

The performance was met with mostly positive critical reception. Fabiola Bohórquez Guerra from La Verdad wrote that "the crowning moment came with the official World Cup song, "Waka Waka", which she sang with the group Freshlyground. Dozens of singers and dancers took their places on stage to perform the infectious theme that goes It's time for Africa. With an energetic choreography, the Colombian gave football fans examples of the ideal enthusiasm to start the finals today on the playing field."[71] Diane Coetzer from Billboard said "[...] And when the first notes of the official 2010 FIFA World Cup Song, 'Waka Waka (This Time For Africa)' were heard and Shakira's South African collaborators - Afro-pop outfit Freshlyground – appeared, the crowd erupted into an unceasing cry of delight."[72]

Despite criticising Shakira's choice of outfit - " [...] then came Shakira, in an ill-advised Roberto Cavalli outfit that looked like a costume from The Lion King" - in her review , Ann Powers from the Los Angeles Times said "'It's time for Africa,' boomed the voice of the announcer in Johannesburg's Orlando Stadium Thursday, at the climax of the all-star concert kicking off soccer's World Cup. It's time for Shakira! Thursday, her answer to those who've criticized her song was a visual as well as a musical one: She filled the stage with African dancers, singers and musicians, who almost overshadowed her as she performed the song. It was just a symbolic gesture, but a strong one in this evening-long review of pop music’s journey from Africa to every corner of the earth, and back."[73] She added that "Despite her fashion misstep, the Colombian powerhouse made a case for herself with a set that focused on the heavy beats in her own music."[73] Rachel Jacoby from InStyle said that "Shakira [...] stole the show during the finale with a rendition of the World Cup Anthem 'Waka Waka' in a barely-there grass skirt and cut-away top. Goooooal!"[74]

World Cup closing ceremony[edit]

Shakira performing "Waka Waka" at the closing ceremony

Diane Coetzer from Billboard said that "Shakira's second consecutive performance at the closing ceremony of a FIFA World Cup sparked an ecstatic response from the vuvuzela-blowing crowd crammed into Soweto's Soccer City. The Colombian singer - who also made a star-turn at the first ever FIFA World Cup Kick-Off a month ago (June 10) - wore a day-glo colored Roberto Cavalli outfit as she launched into "Waka Waka (This Time For Africa)."

Siddharth Saxena from The Times of India said that "in all the riot of colour, light and laser show, Shakira came and swayed to her often heard World Cup anthem. It was all going according to plan, but the show stealer was left for the end of the closing ceremony. A surprise."[75] CBS Sports said "Then came the singing and the dancers, with Colombian star Shakira and Ladysmith Black Mambazo among a colourful cast of thousands singing their hearts out in celebration."[76]

Track listing[edit]

Listing and formats
  • Promo CD-Single[77]
  1. "Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)" - 3:22
  • German, Australian and Italian CD-Single[78][79]
  1. Waka Waka (This Time for Africa) (English Version) - 3:23
  2. Waka Waka (This Time for Africa) (Club Mix) also known as Freemasons Remix - 3:12
  • Waka Waka (This Time for Africa) (K-Mix) Digital Download Single[80]
  1. Waka Waka (This Time for Africa) (K-Mix) - 03:04
  • Waka Waka (Esto es África) (K-Mix) Digital Download Single[81]
  1. Waka Waka (Esto es África) (K-Mix) - 03:04

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Label
France[82] May 7, 2010 Digital download Sony Music Entertainment
Austria[83] May 11, 2010
Belgium[84]
Denmark[85]
Finland[86]
Italy[87]
Netherlands[88]
Norway[89]
Portugal[90]
Spain[91]
Sweden[92]
Switzerland[93]
United States[94]
United Kingdom[10] May 31, 2010
United Kingdom[48] June 17, 2010 Airplay/radio
(Pop Mix Version)
France[95] July 19, 2010 CD single


Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Country Provider Certification
Australia ARIA Gold[152]
Austria IFPI 2x Platinum[153]
Belgium IFPI Platinum[154]
Denmark IFPI 2× Platinum[155]
Finland IFPI Platinum[156]
France SNEP Platinum[157]
Germany BVMI 5× Gold[44]
Italy FIMI 6x Platinum[158]
Mexico AMPROFON 2× Platinum[159]
Spain PROMUSICAE 6× Platinum[160]
Sweden GLF 6× Platinum[161]
Switzerland IFPI 3× Platinum[162]
United States RIAA Platinum[23]

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External links[edit]

Preceded by
"Celebrate the Day"
by Herbert Grönemeyer
and
"The Time of Our Lives"
by Il Divo with Toni Braxton
FIFA World Cup theme song
2010
with "Sign of a Victory"
by R. Kelly with Soweto Spiritual Singers
Succeeded by
"We Are One (Ole Ola)"
by Pitbull with Jennifer Lopez and Claudia Leitte