Key Key Karimba

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"Key Key Karimba"
Baltimora Single Key Key Karimba.jpg
Single by Baltimora
from the album Survivor in Love
B-side Key Key Karimba (Children Version)
Released 1987
Format 7" single, 12" single
Genre Italo disco, synthpop
Length 4:01
Label EMI Italiana
Writer(s) Maurizio Bassi
Producer(s) Maurizio Bassi
Baltimora singles chronology
"Juke Box Boy"
"Key Key Karimba"
"Global Love"

"Key Key Karimba" is a song by Italo disco act Baltimora, released in 1987 as the lead single from their second and final studio album Survivor in Love. The song was written and produced solely by Maurizio Bassi.[1]


After the success created by Baltimora's 1985 debut hit "Tarzan Boy", the act's following singles were not as successful. "Woody Boogie" found moderate European success, but the singles "Living in the Background", as well as the 1986 single "Juke Box Boy" failed to make a huge impact. "Key Key Karimba" was an attempt for Baltimora to make a comeback after the disappointing sales of the previous singles. Despite performing the song on various TV shows, as well as a music video, the single failed to make any impact worldwide. The song peaked at #37 in Italy though, after "Juke Box Boy" had entered the Top 15 the year before.[2] The two follow-up singles from the Survivor in Love album, "Global Love" and "Call Me in the Heart of the Night" were both commercial failures, and Baltimora disbanded.

Unlike most of Baltimora's material, the usual music composer Maurizio Bassi also wrote the lyrics to the song. Baltimora's usual lyricist was Naimy Hackett. "Key Key Karimba" remains the only Baltimora song to be credited to Bassi alone. The song was recorded and mixed at the Morning Studio in Milano and the overdubs were completed at Abbey Road Studios in London.[3]


The single was released on both 7" and 12" vinyl, via EMI, in Europe, Mexico and Australasia. These European countries mainly consisted of Italy, Germany and Spain. It was marketed, manufactured and distributed by EMI.[4] The single's cover design was done by Umberto Grati and EMI Creative Services.[3] All versions of the 7" vinyl edition featured "Key Key Karimba (Children Version)" as the B-Side.[5] This version was exclusive to the single and has remained exclusive since. This version removes the lead vocal, and only features the children's choir of the chorus in places, with the rest being instrumental, including the song's verses.[6][6]

In Spain the song was released as a promotional only 7" vinyl.[7] In Mexico, a promotional 7" vinyl was issued, featuring "Survivor in Love" as the B-Side. This was an album track taken from the same-titled album, and was written by Bassi, with lyrics by McShane. On this Mexican release, the song's were labelled "Karimba" and "Sobreviviente Enamorado" respectively.[8] In Italy a promotional 7" vinyl was also issued as a double artist set. It featured the artist Off on the A-Side with the song "Electrica Salsa (Baba Baba)" and Baltimora with "Key Key Karimba" on the B-Side. This release was connected to Bari '87 TV.

The 12" vinyl version was released in Italy, Germany and Australasia, with a promotional 12" vinyl also being released in Spain.[9] All featured the same track-listing, consisting of the full six-minute album version of "Key Key Karimba", essentially an extended remix, the "Children's Version" of the song, and the four-minute "Radio Version" of the song too, which was used on the 7" vinyl releases.[10][11][12]


"Key Key Karimba" had a promotional music video created, and this was the last Baltimora made. Since being uploaded unofficially onto YouTube in mid-2008, the video has gained 108,000 views.[13] Combining the children's choir used in the song's chorus, the video features a class of schoolchildren looking bored, before Jimmy McShane arrives singing and dancing. For the first chorus the children stand-up and join in with the singing. One highlighted young girl, by the second verse, transforms into a woman, possibly in fantasy only, who dances with McShane, and by the second chorus the remaining schoolchildren have become young adults too. At the end of the video McShane and the rest of the adults are dancing together.[13]

The song was also mimed on various TV shows, mainly Italian. McShane performed on Mixitalia,[14] Azzurro 87,[15] Rai TV,[16] Tutto[17] and another unknown Italian show. The latter featured a choir of middle-aged women miming the children in the chorus.[18]


7" Single
  1. "Key Key Karimba" - 4:01
  2. "Key Key Karimba (Children Version)" - 4:50
7" Single (Spanish promo)
  1. "Key Key Karimba" - 4:01
  2. "Key Key Karimba (Children Version)" - 4:50
7" Single (Mexican promo)
  1. "Karimba (Key Key Karimba)" - 4:01
  2. "Sobreviviente Enamorado (Survivor in Love)" - 4:59
12" Single
  1. "Key Key Karimba" - 6:00
  2. "Key Key Karimba (Children Version)" - 4:50
  3. "Key Key Karimba (Radio Version)" - 4:01

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1987) Peak
Italy (FIMI)[19] 37


  • Maurizio Bassi - Master Keyboard, Producer, Macintosh Programming, Synthesizer, Akai Musical Equipment, Arranger, Writer
  • Renato Cantele - Chief Engineer, Sound Engineer
  • Alfio Galimberti - Assistant Engineer
  • Giambattista Lizzori - Engineer
  • Gaetano Leandro - Synthesizers (Fairlight Ii, Prophet V, Xpander Obereim Ppg Synth)
  • Giorgio Cocilovo - Electric, Shadow Midi Guitar
  • Dino D'Autorio - Electric, Fretless Bass
  • Gabriele Melotti - Drums, Drum Programming, Percussion
  • Betty Vittori, Malcolm McDonald, Marco Ferradini - Backing Vocals
  • Umberto Grati, EMI Creative Services - Cover Design


  1. ^ "Baltimora - Survivor In Love (Vinyl, LP) at Discogs". Retrieved 2012-06-23. 
  2. ^ "Hit Parade Italia - Indice per Interprete: B". Retrieved 2014-04-13. 
  3. ^ a b "Images for Baltimora - Key Key Karimba". Retrieved 2014-04-13. 
  4. ^ "Baltimora - Key Key Karimba at Discogs". Retrieved 2014-04-13. 
  5. ^ "Baltimora - Key Key Karimba / Key Key Karimba (Children Version) - EMI - Germany - 1C 006-11 8788 7". 45cat. Retrieved 2014-04-13. 
  6. ^ a b "Baltimora - Key Key Karimba (Vinyl) at Discogs". Retrieved 2014-04-13. 
  7. ^ "Baltimora - Key Key Karimba (Vinyl) at Discogs". Retrieved 2014-04-13. 
  8. ^ "Baltimora - Karimba (Key Key Karimba) (Vinyl) at Discogs". Retrieved 2014-04-13. 
  9. ^ "Baltimora - Key Key Karimba (Vinyl) at Discogs". Retrieved 2014-04-13. 
  10. ^ "Baltimora - Key Key Karimba (Vinyl) at Discogs". Retrieved 2014-04-13. 
  11. ^ "Baltimora - Key Key Karimba (Vinyl) at Discogs". Retrieved 2014-04-13. 
  12. ^ "Baltimora - Key Key Karimba (Vinyl) at Discogs". Retrieved 2014-04-13. 
  13. ^ a b "baltimora - key key karimba". YouTube. 2008-07-11. Retrieved 2014-04-13. 
  14. ^ "Baltimora Key Key Karimba Live Mixitalia 1987". YouTube. 2012-02-11. Retrieved 2014-04-13. 
  15. ^ "Baltimora - Key Key Karimba.mpg". YouTube. Retrieved 2014-04-13. 
  16. ^ "Baltimora Key key karimba live 1987". YouTube. Retrieved 2014-04-13. 
  17. ^ "Baltimora Key Key Karimba Tutto 1987". YouTube. 2013-09-05. Retrieved 2014-04-13. 
  18. ^ "Baltimora - Key Key Karimba (1987)". YouTube. 2012-02-05. Retrieved 2014-04-13. 
  19. ^ "Hit Parade Italia - Indice per Interprete: B". Retrieved 2012-06-23.