If a song wants to get stuck in MY head, it should learn to speak MY language!
January 15, 2008 1:54 PM   Subscribe

Help me identify this joyous yet infuriatingly non-English choral song!

While in on vacation in Hawaii a few weeks ago, I was killing some time at a shopping plaza when I heard this great (and frustratingly familiar) song. I had been checking out the promotional display for one of the many helicopter tour outfits in the area (can't remember the name, sadly), which had a looping video showing footage of their birds swooping over the gorgeous scenery. Playing over this footage were a few epic-sounding musical scores -- the Indiana Jones theme, the Jurassic Park theme, etc.

One of these songs was a great, joyous African (?) choral piece, and definitely something I'd heard before. I figured at the time that it was something from the Lion King, but when I searched later on iTunes I couldn't find it. I've looked for it off-and-on since then, but no luck so far.

So I turn to you, MeFi! Here's the best I can do to help you all out. I found a "virtual piano" online, and recorded my plunking rendition of the melody via Audacity. I also recorded a snippet of very similar music from the Lion King soundtrack.

The facts:

The song in question was not in English. I can't recall if the singing was in another language, or just meaningless intonations. The style was very tribal and traditional, most likely African, though it's possible it could be something from New Zealand or Thailand or the Pacific islands or some other similar musical tradition. It was sung by a large chorus, which sounded mostly like women and children. It had a very dramatic, yet optimistic feel to it. It has connotations of triumph and liberation to it. It is also very common -- I've heard it before, and you probably have, too. Could be a famous native song, or something from a movie soundtrack.

Thanks in advance!
posted by Rhaomi to Grab Bag (9 answers total)
completely random non-researched answer: ladysmith black mambazo, perhaps?
posted by kidsleepy at 2:14 PM on January 15, 2008

I don't think so. Isn't their stuff usually just a few people? I can't remember how many members they have, but it's not that many. The song I'm thinking of had more than a dozen singers.
posted by Rhaomi at 2:48 PM on January 15, 2008

Could it be something from the soundtrack to The Power of One? The clips on Amazon are very short, but your rendition sounded kind of like the first song ("Rainmaker").
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 3:22 PM on January 15, 2008

The River from The Mission soundtrack? (email me if you want me to send you sample - email in profile)
posted by TheRaven at 4:24 PM on January 15, 2008

Just listened to both of the suggestions -- it's not either of those. :(
posted by Rhaomi at 6:55 PM on January 15, 2008

Could it be Karl Jenkin's Adiemus? The song Adiemus (yep, same as the group name) was what came to my mind. Very optimistic song, or at least I think so.
posted by agenais at 7:50 PM on January 15, 2008

Oh, and I just listened to your plunking rendition. If Adiemus isn't the one, I'll eat my hat.
posted by agenais at 7:55 PM on January 15, 2008

Your hat will live for another day, agenais -- that's exactly it! Thank you!

Also, after a little Googling, I'm reasonably confident I first heard the song in one of the Lord of The Rings movies. Which I guess is why I had some trouble pinning down the origins of the song -- "African" springs to mind a bit more easily than "Middle-Earthlike", I suppose. :P

Anyway, thanks again.
posted by Rhaomi at 11:25 PM on January 15, 2008

I was beaten to it. The minute you mentioned The Lion King, I knew you were looking for Adiemus.
posted by greekphilosophy at 1:39 PM on January 16, 2008

« Older ITs a Jungle Out There   |   When can we expect new MacBook Pros? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.