The Lion Sleeps Tonight

Also known as "Wimoweh", "Wimba Way" or "Awimbawe", is a song written and recorded originally by Solomon Linda.

PUBLISHED: Oct 15, 2013 • UPDATED: Jan 26, 2016 • LESSON CODE: UL578 • VISITS: 40

ANY ukulele Subjects: repertoirebeginner

View the Download section of this page to download the song files for the complete and most up-to-date versions.

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 Pete Seeger, 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.

This song was a favorite of my late and great ukulele friend Gordon Velasco. He used it many a time for first time ukulele players. A really fun song to play.

There are only three chords which are the primary chords for the major key the song is in. In the key of C major the chords are: C, F and G or G7.

For the melody it starts on the root of the major scale of the key and the first three notes of the melody go right up the sale: 1 2 3 or do, re, me. For C major that is C D E.

Main Song Download(s)

The main downloads for this Song.

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The Lion Sleeps Tonight - Chords
Updated: Dec 31, 2016

Chord lead sheet for The Lion Sleeps Tonight.


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Song Road Map

Tips and tricks for remembering a song.

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Remembering songs is all about the form and harmonic content and movement with taking in the similarities between songs. And, just like a road map they're landmarks that will trigger memories of how to get through various sections, changes or parts of a song.

This section of a song's page presents some tips on how I try and remember a particular song.


No Road Map for The Lion Sleeps Tonight check back soon.

Related Lessons

Related Lessons for The Lion Sleeps Tonight at this time.

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Key Signatures - C Major and A Minor • Updated: Sep 21, 2011

Learn the recognize the key signature for C Major and A Minor. Learn their corresponding Major and Natural Minor scales with basic ukulele chords for each scale. Sometimes called the learning key, the key of C Major is one of the easiest keys to memorize and begin using.

Related Lesson Series

Related Lessons Series for The Lion Sleeps Tonight at this time.

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Common Chord Progressions and Remembering Songs
Updated: Feb 18, 2020

Learning the similarities between chord progressions and songs helps you remember a lot of songs. There's a lot more in common between songs than one might think.

This series of lessons explores common chord progressions.

Remembering songs is lot like remembering the directions for a road trip. There are the turn-by-turn directions, road maps, signs and landmarks. Turn here, turn there, remember this and remember that landmark. With a songs it's the chords, the harmonic cells and form of the song.

With a few music tools and an understanding of the principles of how chords and chords progressions work. You can start unraveling what's going on in a song. There's a lot more in common between songs than you might think. Each song has it's own direction, signs and landmarks.

Playing by Ear
Updated: Feb 18, 2020

Learning to play by ear is the ultimate goal when learning any musicial instrument. This series of lessons is designed to get you to that goal. Whether it's melodies or chords, it can be done.

Harmonic Analysis for Scale and Chord Selection
Updated: Feb 18, 2020

Harmonic Analysis is the process used to determine the harmonic function of chords within a chord progression or song. A chord progression is defined as a sequence of chords, each chord has a root and is a particular chord type. The relationship of a chord's to a scale determines its function within that scale's tonality.

This series of lessons are extracted from my book for use with individual private and on-line students-members.

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