|Single by Manu Dibango|
|from the album Soul Makossa|
|A-side||"Hymne de la 8e Coupe d'Afrique des Nations" (original)|
|Length||4:30 (original non-edited version)|
|Label||Fiesta Records (France)|
Atlantic Records (US)
London Records (UK/Canada)
|Manu Dibango singles chronology|
"Soul Makossa" is a song released as a single in 1972 by Cameroon saxophonist and songwriter Manu Dibango. It was originally recorded as the B-side for "Hymne de la 8e Coupe d'Afrique des Nations", a song celebrating the Cameroon national football team's accession to the quarterfinals of the Africa Cup of Nations football tournament, as well as Cameroon's hosting the games for the first time; the lyrics were written by Cameroonian poet and musicologist S.M. Eno Belinga. Except for some words in English, it was written in Duala, a native dialect continuum from Cameroon. Manu Dibango later recorded a new version for his 1994 album Wakafrika, titled "Mouvement Ewondo".
In 1972, David Mancuso found a copy in a Brooklyn West Indian record store and often played it at his parties at The Loft. The response was so positive that the few copies of "Soul Makossa" in New York City were quickly purchased. The song was subsequently played heavily by Frankie Crocker, who deejayed at WBLS, then New York's most popular black radio station. Since the original release was so obscure, at least 23 groups quickly released cover versions to capitalize on the demand for the record.
Later in 1972, American-based Atlantic Records licensed the original Manu Dibango version from French record label Fiesta, and released it as a single (with the B-side track being "Lily"). The single peaked at number 35 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1973; Dibango's original version of the song and a cover by Afrique were on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart at the same time. The song also became an international hit leading to even more cover versions by various groups around the world.
The song is probably best known for the chanted vocal refrain "ma-ma-ko, ma-ma-sa, ma-ko ma-ko-sa", which was adapted and used in songs by many prominent artists such as Michael Jackson's "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" from his album Thriller (1982) and Rihanna's hit single "Don't Stop the Music" from Good Girl Gone Bad (2007). The refrain is a play on the word makossa, Dibango's main music genre.
In 2011, a second version of the song titled "Soul Makossa 2.0" was recorded in France by Manu Dibango and Wayne Beckford and was issued as the first single from Dibango's album, Past Present Future.
Michael Jackson/Rihanna lawsuit
Rihanna's 2007 hit single "Don't Stop the Music" uses samples from Michael Jackson's 1983 single "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'". In February 2009, Dibango filed a lawsuit against the two singers, claiming that both songs stole their "mama-say mama-sa mama-ko-sa" hook from "Soul Makossa" without permission. According to Agence France-Presse, Jackson admitted that he borrowed the line for "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" and settled out of court. When Rihanna asked Jackson in 2007 for permission to sample the line, he allegedly approved the request without contacting Dibango beforehand. Dibango's attorneys brought the case before a court in Paris, demanding €500,000 in damages and for Sony BMG, EMI and Warner Music to be "barred from receiving 'mama-say mama-sa'-related income until the matter is resolved". However, the court in Paris rejected his motion as being illegitimate due to him successfully applying for his name being listed on Rihanna’s releases of the song a year earlier. The court in Paris ruled that with this agreement the African artist abdicated from any further claims.
1973 US single
- "Soul Makossa" – 4:30
- "Lily" – 3:02
- Manu Dibango – writer, arranger, vocals, saxophone
- Georges Arvanitas – piano
- Patrice Galas – piano
- Joby Jobs – drums
- Manfred Long – bass guitar
- Freddy Mars – percussion
- Manu Rodanet – electric guitar
- Pierre Zogo – acoustic guitar
|Australian (Kent Music Report)||26|
|France SNEP Charts||17|
|US Billboard Hot 100||35|
|US Billboard Hot Soul Singles||21|
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