Soul Makossa

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
"Soul Makossa[1]"
Single by Manu Dibango
from the album Soul Makossa LP
A-side Hymne De La 8e Coupe D'Afrique Des Nations[2]
Released 1972
Format 7", 12"
Recorded 1971
Genre Jazz-funk
Length 4:30 (original non-edited version)
Label Fiesta Records (France)
Atlantic Records (US)
London Records (UK/Canada)
BorderBlaster (Europe)
Writer(s) Manu Dibango
Manu Dibango singles chronology
"Soul Makossa"
"Pêpê Soup"

"Soul Makossa" is a song released as a single in 1972 by Cameroon saxophonist and songwriter, Manu Dibango. It is often cited as one of the first disco records[citation needed]. In 1972, David Mancuso found a copy in a Brooklyn West Indian record store and often played it at his Loft parties.[3] The response was so positive that the few copies of "Soul Makossa" in New York City were quickly purchased.[3] The song was subsequently played heavily by Frankie Crocker, who deejayed at WBLS, then New York's most popular black radio station.[3] Since the original release was so obscure, at least 23 groups quickly released cover versions to capitalize on the demand for the record.[3]

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 side-two track being "Lily"). The single peaked at #35 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1973; at one point, nine different versions of the song were on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart at the same time.[3][4][5] The song also became an international hit leading to even more cover versions by various groups around the world.[5]

The song is probably best known for the chanted vocal refrain "ma-mako, ma-ma-sa, mako-mako ssa", which was adapted and used in songs by many prominent artists such as Michael Jackson on his track "Wanna Be Startin' Something" from his 1982 smash album Thriller and Rihanna on her 2007 hit single "Don't Stop the Music" from one of her most successful albums, Good Girl Gone Bad.

"Soul Makossa" 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. Manu Dibango later recorded a new version for his 1994 album Wakafrika, titled "Mouvement Ewondo".[5]

In 2011, a second version of the song entitled "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." Les Nubians also featured their own version of "Soul Makossa" entitled "Nü Soul Makossa (featuring Manu Dibango)" on their 2011 album "Nü Revolution."

1973 US single[edit]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Soul Makossa" (4:30)
  2. "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)


Chart (1973) Peak
US Billboard Hot 100[6] 35
US Billboard Hot Soul Singles[6] 21
France SNEP Charts[7] 17

Adaptations and samples[edit]

The song's refrain consists of the phrase "ma-mako, ma-ma-sa, mako-mako ssa", which is a play on the word "Makossa", Dibango's main music genre. After the popularization of the song, the phrase was adapted and used in several popular songs including the following:[8][9][10]

Cover versions[edit]

Michael Jackson/Rihanna lawsuit[edit]

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 and settled the case with Dibango out of court. However, when Rihanna had asked Jackson in 2007 for permission to sample the hook, he had approved the demand without contacting Dibango. His lawyers brought the case before a Parisian court, demanding 500,000 in damages that should have been paid by Sony BMG, EMI and Warner Music until the issue was resolved.[13]


  1. ^ "Manu Dibango discography". 
  2. ^ "Original 45rpm record". 
  3. ^ a b c d e Shapiro, Peter (2005). Turn the Beat Around: the Secret History of Disco. New York: Faber and Faber, Inc. p. 35. 
  4. ^ Marsh, Dave (1999). The Heart of Rock and Soul: The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made. Da Capo Press. p. 548. 
  5. ^ a b c Broughton, Simon; Ellingham, Mark (2000). World Music: The Rough Guide. Rough Guides. p. 441. 
  6. ^ a b "Awards : Billboard Singles". Allmusic. 
  7. ^ "Les classements des titres par artistes (lettre "D")". InfoDisc. Retrieved March 2013. .
  8. ^ "Manu Dibango Music Sampled By Others". WhoSampled. Retrieved 25 June 2011. 
  9. ^ Ethan Hein. ""Soul Makossa" Sample Map". Flickr. Retrieved 25 June 2011. 
  10. ^ Ben Zimmer (26 June 2009). "Ma ma se, ma ma sa, ma ma coo sa". Language Log. Retrieved 25 June 2011. 
  11. ^ Amazon
  12. ^ "Soul Makoussa (Money) - single". iTunes Australia. 16 May 2015. 
  13. ^ Michaels, Sean (2009-02-04). "Rihanna and Michael Jackson sued by African singer". The Guardian (Guardian Media Group). Retrieved 2012-01-17. 

External links[edit]