Song of the Day #4,315: ‘Soul Makossa’ – Manu Dibango

Our next dearly departed musical artist is Manu Dibango, a saxophonist who hailed from Cameroon and released a famous funk song that inspired one of Michael Jackson’s hits. Dibango succumbed to the coronavirus in late March at 86 years old.

Dibango had a long career spanning multiple genres, but he is best remembered for the song ‘Soul Makossa.’ The track will sound familiar even if you’ve never heard it before because its sound was adopted by so many others, from 70s funk acts to modern day hip-hop artists.

‘Soul Makossa’ was quietly released in 1972 and started catching fire after being picked up by black radio in New York. Cover versions were recorded and released, and eventually Dibango’s original version landed on the Billboard Hot 100 at the same time as one by the band Afrique.

In 2009, Dibango sued Michael Jackson for borrowing from ‘Soul Makossa’ for the “mama say mama sa ma makossa” portion of ‘Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’.’ He also sued Rihanna, who sampled Jackson’s track on her song ‘Don’t Stop the Music.’ The Rihanna case was dropped because she got permission from Jackson, while Jackson’s estate settled out of court.

Makossa
Akeela
Mama ko mama sa maka makossa
Mama ko mama sa maka makossa
Mama ko mama sa maka makossa
Mama ko mama sa maka makossa

Hey soul makossa
Su maiyea
Hey soul makossa
Atteele

Hey soul makossa
Mosoma, mosoma
Hey soul makossa
Koma-koma-koma-koma-koma-koma-koma-koma-koma

Tunga debo ombo e tunga nailso makossa
Anaamoona sisi aooo yasal makossa
Amona yeayea amona yeayea coma saou makossa
Tunga tunga umbo te tunga nesa makossa

Nikaso
Mama ko mama sa maka makossa
Mama ko mama sa maka makossa
Mama ko mama sa maka makossa
Mama ko mama sa maka makossa

Vido
Heh-heh!
Nadea
Hey soul makossa
Makine
Hey soul makossa
Mangola wakina
Hey soul makossa
Mosoma!
Hey soul makossa
Ynot domo

Moodok!
Mmmm-hmmmm

Tunga tunga umbo te tunga nesa makosa now
Makossa makossa makossa makossa makossa
Bathaso mosoon
Yonse yonse batha yonse makossa

Hey soul makossa
Hey soul makossa
Hey soul makossa
Hey soul makossa

Hey soul makossa
Hey soul makossa
Hey soul makossa
Hey soul makossa

Hey soul makossa
Ahfray way bali de salinglay makossa
Hey soul makossa
Mondiday oak amoon oohenga akyeah
Hey soul makossa
Nadamo ahne money money
Hey soul makossa
Musik ohano amoo

2 thoughts on “Song of the Day #4,315: ‘Soul Makossa’ – Manu Dibango

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    It’s cool to know the origin of “mama say mama sa ma makossa.” Sorry this guy is dead, but when the King of Pop uses your phrase, you say thank you and move on, not sue.

  2. Peg says:

    Interesting and a nice tribute to share these artists on your blog.

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