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The Lion Sleeps Tonight – 1961 – by the Tokens

If you haven’t noticed – I am PUMPING out some arrangements that do NOT require a password. PLEASE – if your ensemble will be performing this – PLEASE consider a donation to the Accordion Blog!!!

WOW – what a history for this song – it dates back to 1939!!! AND here is another tune that you start it and EVERYONE knows the song instantly – wing-a-wepa wing-a-wepa…..

This is another arrangement that I am writing specially for the Accordionists in San Diego and Yuma. I will be conducting this piece with their accordion club ensembles this coming Feb 2016.


  1. I did not mark the speed – because EVERYONE knows the speed for this one!
  2. Key of F
  3. Really should be played as Triples
  4. Ending – Hear the echoes between the parts
  5. Measure 6
    1. 3rd – long counter melody to start then 16th note into next measure
    2. NOW everyone at 6 (4th – short basses – DO NOT ALTERNATE)
  6. Counting Exercise – say SHORT for the 8th notes and LONG for the Quarter Notes
    1. 1st & 3rd – Measure 12 & 34 & 38 & 50
    2. 1st & 2nd – measure 19-20 & 23-24
    3. 2nd – measure 45-46
    4. 2nd & 3rds – measure 17 & 35 (Huhs)
    5. 1st – Measure #40

About the Song:

The Lion Sleeps Tonight“, also known as “Wimoweh“, “Wimba Way” or “Awimbawe“, is a song written and recorded originally by Solomon Linda with the Evening Birds for the South African Gallo Record Company in 1939, under the title “Mbube“.

Composed in Zulu, it was adapted and covered internationally by many 1950s pop and folk revival artists, including the Weavers, Jimmy Dorsey, Yma Sumac, Miriam Makeba and the Kingston Trio. In 1961, it became a number one hit in the United States as adapted in English with the best-known version by the doo-wop group the Tokens. It went on to earn at least US$15 million in royalties from cover versions and film licensing.