The Story Behind Kuimba's "Hakuna Matata" song

   When we visited Lark’s family in Africa in 1990 a bumper sticker with the slogan, “Hakuna Matata” was tucked into our bag when we bought some fabric in Nairobi. We knew the Swahili pop song that had been radio hit in Kenya that had turned this common saying into a slogan. We thought it was a song with a pretty face but not much substance.

    But now that Kris was learning some Swahili phrases, he decided he wanted to turn “Hakuna Matata’ into a more (to us) African-sounding song. He came up with the chorus and then requested Lark, who speaks Congo Swahili, to write the rest of it. So she wrote the verses which are done in rap, Kris put the drum beat to it—and there you have it—Kuimba’s Hakuna Matata published in 1991. And Disney, being a bit slow-on-the-draw, didn’t get their version out till 1994.

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“We have received your new CD and want to thank you.  We love it!  I forgot what a beautiful voice you have. Just so you know, I don't think you sound like anyone.  You are just your own amazing artists.  But for the sake of the request I suggest Angus & Julia Stone.  I think people who enjoy them will enjoy you.”
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"The cord that THE BALLAD strikes in my heart is one of music that brings out a deep sense of community, people saying: Hey, this is us. …. The human spirit that will never be snuffed out – no matter the adversary."                                                    Samm Musoke, Nova Scotia

"I fell in love with Lark and Kris’s music the first time I heard it. It has an uplifting, inspiring quality which as a musician and songwriter I appreciate. Subsequently after my grandson was born I started playing him songs and he loved them. We had many a good time dancing to songs and once he was walking and talking he would request the music again and again and loves to dance and/or drum along. Thank you Lark and Kris for your gift of music to the world."                                    Suzanne Lichau, Oregon

"Dear Lark and Kris,
I'm writing on behalf of the South Fraser Gogos ( to thank you so much for your fantastic contribution to our Potluck Evening. You made the Grandmothers welcome quite spectacular and one I'm sure they will remember.

Everyone enjoyed the rest of your music and singing and seeing everyone up dancing is a sight I'll always remember. Wishing you all the very best,                       Jesse Pringle, Go Go Grannies Co-coordinator, British Columbia

"Kuimba weaves a magical spell with their enchanting melodies, mesmerizing harmonies, and penetrating lyrics. The music is at once universal and uniquely personal . . . the musicians share themselves with their audiences in an intimate and moving manner."                                       Julia J. Heydon, PhD. Music, Former Music Director, Oregon Shakespearean Festival