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"Spirit" Cover Art.

Beyoncé Enlists African Artist and Producers for 'The Lion King: The Gift' Album

The upcoming album, curated and produced by Beyoncé, is "steeped in African influences from various corners of the continent," says Disney.

The wait for Disney's live action remake of The Lion King is almost over. Ahead of the film's release next week, Disney has announced that none other than Beyoncé, the voice of Nala, is producing and curating the film's album The Lion King: The Gift, which will feature African artists and producers, according to the studio.

"With The Lion King: The Gift album, Beyoncé curated a masterful recording, a robust soundscape bringing together some of her favorite artists with the most talented and important African artists of the day to both pay tribute to the iconic film and bring the authentic sounds of African music to the world," Disney tells Shadow & Act. "[It features] a beautiful, multi-genre symphony, steeped in African influences from various corners of the Continent, with unexpected collaborations, pulsating rhythms and crisp production that celebrate the African diaspora. This love letter to Africa highlights the setting of the film, rooted in African culture and wondrous narratives"

READ: Here's Every African Designer Beyoncé Wore During Her Trip to South Africa


While details of specific artists and producers featured on the album are scarce, Beyoncé herself, shared a similar sentiment about the project in a statement, describing the album as "sonic cinema," and emphasizing its cross-genre influence:

"I wanted to do more than find a collection of songs that were inspired by the film. It is a mixture of genres and collaboration that isn't one sound. It is influenced by everything from r&b, pop, hip-hop and afrobeat. Each song was written to reflect the film's storytelling that gives the listener a chance to imagine their own imagery, while listening to a new contemporary interpretation. It was important that the music was not only performed by the most interesting and talented artists but also produced by the best African producers. Authenticity and heart were important to me.

The singer has released the song "Spirit," which is the first single from the album. "Spirit" opens with lines sung in Swahili: "Uishi kwa mda mrefu mfalme," sings one voice, with another responding "uishi kwa." As noted in BBC Africa, the phrase means "Long live the king." The song will appear during one of Nala's scenes in the film. Listen to it below.

Spirit (From Disney's "The Lion King") www.youtube.com

The full tracklist will be shared ahead of the album's release, according to Shadow & Act. We're excited to see which of the continent's many talents are featured on the project.

Disney will also release the original soundtrack for the film on July 11, which will feature Beyoncé and Childish Gambino's rendition of 'Can Your Feel the Love Tonight," as well as productions from Pharrell, Hans Zimmer, Elton John and more.

The star-studded Hollywood premiere of the film took place last night, and initial reactions have been notably positive. The Lion King stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, Donald Glover, James Earl Jones, Seth Rogen and more. Both the film and album are set to be released on July 19.

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Photo by Giles Clarke/UNOCHA via Getty Images

Cameroon Holds Vigil to Remember Children Killed in School Attack

Residents in Kumba paid their respects to the seven lives lost, and those injured during the attack over the weekend.

In the latest tragedy to come from Cameroon's historically violent clash between Anglo and Francophone citizens, seven children were murdered after attackers stormed a school with guns and machetes over the weekend.

In what has been deemed as the "darkest and saddest day," by Bishop Agapitus Nfon of Kumba, armed attackers stormed the Mother Francisca International Bilingual Academy, targeting students aged 9 to 12. The tragic event saw dozens of children injured, some critically.

The attack has shocked the nation, with both local and international agencies condemning the horrible offense. On Monday, Cameroonian President Paul Biya denounced the "horrific murder" of the school children, and alluded to the "appropriate measures" being taken in order to bring justice to the families of the victims. Prime Minister Dion Ngute Joseph shared his condolences via a tweet saying, "I bow before the memory of these innocent kids."

The Cameroonian presidency and governing body have blamed Anglophone 'separatists' for the attack, though the group claims no part in the attack.

Human rights groups, however, have blamed both opposing parties, as the conflict has led to the death of over 3,000 deaths and resulted in more than 700,000 Cameroonians fleeing their homes and the country.

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Interview: Meet Velemseni, Eswatini’s Queen of Soul

Soul artist Velemseni's music reflects Eswatini culture and aesthetics. "The Kingdom of Eswatini is a magical and mysterious place, and my music aims to interpret and document that mystique, drawing from genres like Swazi gospel, soul, African soul, cinematic and traditional music," says the artist.