I Zimbra

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"I Zimbra"
I zimbra talking heads uk single.jpg
UK vinyl single
Single by Talking Heads
from the album Fear of Music
B-side"Air" (3:33)
Songwriter(s)David Byrne, Brian Eno, Hugo Ball
Producer(s)Brian Eno
Talking Heads singles chronology
"Life During Wartime"
"I Zimbra"

"I Zimbra" is a song by American new wave band Talking Heads, released as the second single from their 1979 album Fear of Music.

According to Sytze Steenstra in Song and Circumstance: The Work of David Byrne from Talking Heads to the Present, the music draws heavily on the African popular music Byrne was listening to at the time.[1]


The lyrics contain these lines:

Gadji beri bimba clandridi
Lauli lonni cadori gadjam
A bim beri glassala glandride
E glassala tuffm I zimbra

The lyrics are an adaptation of Dadaist Hugo Ball's poem "Gadji beri bimba". In an interview, Jerry Harrison named "I Zimbra" as his favorite Talking Heads song, and pointed out that the style of the group’s next album, Remain in Light, was indebted to the song’s innovations.

We also knew that our next album would be a further exploration of what we had begun with "I Zimbra".

– Jerry Harrison, Liquid Audio, 1997 [2]


Chart (1980) Peak
US Billboard Hot Dance Club Play[3] 28


Talking Heads

Additional Personnel

  • Brian Eno – electronic treatments, backing vocals
  • Robert Fripp – guitar
  • Gene Wilder – congas
  • Ari – congas
  • Hassam Ramzy – surdo
  • Abdou M'Boup – djembe, talking drum
  • Assane Thiam – percussion
  • Julie Last – backing vocals

Deleted film footage[edit]

The song was one of three songs (along with "Cities" and "Big Business") that were cut from the theatrical release of the 1983 concert film Stop Making Sense but were restored as a bonus feature for the 1999 DVD release.[4]


  1. ^ Steenstra, Sytze (2010). Song and Circumstance: The Work of David Byrne from Talking Heads to the Present. New York: Continuum. p. 53. ISBN 978-0-8264-4559-9.
  2. ^ T A L K I N G – H E A D S . N E T
  3. ^ "Talking Heads > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles". Allmusic. Retrieved 24 December 2010.
  4. ^ New York Times/Allmovie

External links[edit]