American superstar Beyonce Knowles has broke the internet by releasing a new song which features Kiswahili lyrics. Kiswahili is Kenya’s national language.The song, Spirit, was released on Thursday and will be used as a soundtrack to Disney’s new version of The Lion King.
“Uishi kwa muda mrefu mfalme,” a voice chants twice, with a deeper voice responding “uishi kwa”.The phrase loosely translates to ”Long Live the King.”
Beyonce, voices the role of lioness Nala, next to lead character Simba, played by Donald Glover.The song’s intro features words in Kiswahili that are saluting the king.
“Spirit” opens with two men singing in Swahili, a nod to the fact that Lion King characters hold names that originate in the East African language. These voices follow Beyoncé throughout, bridging choral traditions of Africa and the American South.
But that’s where the song’s intrigue stops, as Bey starts singing lyrics that err on the side of meaningless. When she belts, “Watch the light lift your heart up/Burn your flame through the night,” in the pre-chorus, her weighty, soulful voice does its best to carry one-note lyrics that fulfill the prompt of “uplifting” and nothing else.