Ospreyshire Origins: Pugnam Contra Fures Leonis Pt. III: Rise of the One True Emperor

Lyrics:

[Swahili]

Tazama! Mfalme anainuka!
Tazama! Ukweli utatawala!
Tazama! Hatutakubali wafalme bandia!

Father, I hear your voice in the eastern sky
Mother, I hear you from the constellations
I will make you both proud in being the one true emperor
As I express myself in this human song,
I will right these misdeeds
I’ll still have unity with mankind and the wildlife in my kingdom
I’ve survived capsized ships, weapons, and bigger animals, and I’ll survive this

(Japanese backup vocals: Taitei o nagaku ikiru.)
(Swahili backup vocals: Mfalme ni bandia. Wambariki mfalme wa kweti.)

I hear the cries from Kinshasa, Toronto, Saitama, Grimes, Kigali, Kampala, Dodoma, and Nairobi
While I fight for peace and make sure my kingdom has dignity
I have to address the king who swindled me

You wouldn’t exist without me, but you’re so full of pride
(Japanese backup vocals: Kare wa honto shishi desu.)
(Swahili backup vocals: Ukweli unaishi ndani yake. Akawa ukweli!)
Like uncle, like nephew
You enjoy usurping the throne
Your gods had no worries
Profiting and suing others
For cultures they don’t own
Much like your father you dreamed of
Devastation and deceit
Have you seen a human before?
Have you found a way
To punish without genocide by starvation?
Shame on those humans who are allured
By your mate’s bedroom eyes
Was she your sister or your cousin?
You vagabond in denial
I never ran away when my parents died
Artifice flows through you
And permeates every time that you breathe
You tried blocking my existence
And denying it, too
You’re a false king
I’ll break your deception (X3)
Cause I’m the one true emperor

Copycats get no mercy!


I wasn’t originally planning on writing a song based on this anime when I was coming up with Dear Innovare. However, with everything I know and have learned last year with this and other cases, there was no way I could avoid talking about it especially when a good portion of this concept album involves plagiarism and theft cases. Also, there’s a contest that I have for the fun facts section if someone wants this song for free if they don’t have the album already.

If I could base songs on the Paprika/Inception controversy and the Battle Royale/Hunger Games controversy, then I’d be a fool not to talk about what one could make a strong case to be THE biggest film plagiarism issue of all time. Well, there’s that and having a couple of friends who actually wanted to hear an Ospreyshire track about the first anime series to be created and broadcast in color. One of those friends would be one of my college buddies Drew and the other is my Scottish mate Dave from ZAP Records himself.

[sigh] Here we go.

For those of you who don’t know anything about this song or anime series, this involves Osamu Tezuka’s creation Jungle Emperor Leo AKA Kimba the White Lion. This was a manga made in 1950, but it got the anime treatment in 1965, so this is older than Speed Racer. Tezuka is also known for creating Astro Boy, Black Jack, Metropolis (no, not the German film), and Dororo which got remade last year. This story is about the life and adventures of a lion cub prince named Kimba (I’m going to refer to their English names from here on out). His goal is to have unity between the animals and the humans, but he has to take responsibility to lead his kingdom after his father Caesar (the original king) gets murdered and…

You know what? I don’t need to go further with a synopsis.

Related image

This shouldn’t surprise anyone. If you want to know my full thoughts on this issue, then check out my Lion King rant post I did last Summer. You can also check out my review of Kimba the White Lion on my other blog. If you really want to get in depth with this insane film plagiarism controversy, then check out this link. I don’t want to repeat myself too much here.

This is infuriating how Disney even to this day have never owned up to stealing most of it’s characters, storylines, and even scenes that were shot-for-shot from Tezuka’s work. The reasons why Tezuka Productions haven’t sued Mickey Mouse are because Osamu mentioned on his will not to burn bridges with Disney (context: he died in 1989 during production of The New Advantures of Kimba the White Lion which would be 5 years before The Lion King was released) and because they don’t have as much money to take them on in court. I disagree and they should’ve sued The House of Mouse. Disney even tried to block Jungle Emperor Leo 1997 from North America at the Fantasia Film Festival in Canada back in 1998, for crying out loud! Simba was originally going to be a white lion in pre-production. Roy E. Disney called Sarabi “Kimba’s mother” in the 1993 Prodigy Q&A Transcript which can be seen in one of the links above. They would have so many strong cases for copyright infringement. Here are examples of these various characters:

Screen Shot 2020-01-07 at 11.52.44 AM.png

Comparisons from the first picture and this screencap:

Lion prince: Kimba=Simba
Deceased father lion: Caesar=Mufasa
Comic relief hyena henchmen: Tom and Tab=Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed
Wise, yet eccentric baboon advisor: Dan’l=Rafiki
Major-domo bird who gets into prat falls: Pauley=Zazu
Major villain that usurps the kingdom: Claw=Scar (BIGGEST RIPOFF VILLAIN EVER!)
Girlfriend lioness who becomes the prince’s mate: Kitty=Nala

Bonus examples:

Lion queen mother: Snowene=Sarabi
Daughter of the main character: Lukio=Kiara (see: Susume, Leo or Jungle Emperor Leo 1997 and The Lion King II respectively)
Son of the main character: Lune=Kion (see: Susume, Leo or Jungle Emperor Leo 1997 and The Lion Guard respectively)

Even The Simpsons made a joke involving this plagiarism controversy. Yes, that’s James Earl Jones doing all the voices in that scene!

Enough of me ranting here. I felt like I’ve done a bunch of it on two of my blogs already. Hahaha! Let’s talk about the music. This is actually the longest Ospreyshire song I ever written and recorded and has more instrumental layers than anything else. I had three different sounds from one keyboard, bass, acousmatics, African percussion instruments (fair trade, FTW!), and my little mbira. I felt so compelled to use both Swahili and Japanese lyrics which was a very nice touch and I wanted to be respectful to those cultures. The lyrics use a TON of Kimba and Lion King references. I won’t explain them all, but here are a few and the meanings therein.

Kimba references:

“Father, I hear your voice in the Eastern sky. Mother, I hear you from the constellations.” This represents the death of both of Kimba’s parents. The Eastern sky also references an opening lyric in the Jungle Emperor Leo 1997 ending theme “Wind Song”. That and he sees the spirits of his dead parents in the sky in the original show (SOUND FAMILIAR?).

“…this human song” This references the Kimba song “Sing a Human Song” in the English dub.

“Saitama…Grimes” Those cities have major significance to Kimba. Saitama, Japan has a baseball team called the Seibu Lions who use that character as a mascot even to today. Grimes refers to a town in Iowa referring to Right Stuf and their anime distribution subsidiary Nozomi Entertainment who have the license to the original show.

Top Lion King potshots in my opinion in no particular order:

“Was she your sister or your cousin?” Who is Nala’s father? No Lion King fan has ever given me a straight answer on that issue, so I directly referenced that infamous incest theory in this song! Do the math.

“Your gods had no worries profiting and suing others for cultures they don’t own…” Three words: HAKUNA MATATA TRADEMARK!

Note: I reference capitals of countries where Swahili has official language status with Kinshasa (DRC), Kigali (Rwanda), Kampala (Uganda), Dodoma (Tanzania), and Nairobi (Kenya).

“Have you found a way to punish without genocide by starvation?” This line calls out Mufasa’s severe protagonist centered morality of the Elephant Graveyard. Starving and isolating others is genocide. Just look at Shark Island in Namibia, the several Native American tribes who were subjugated by the pilgrims, and The Devil’s Punchbowl in Mississippi to name a few. Also, I have to give props to Croatian blogger Vigour of Film Lines for noticing that severe flaw of the Mufasa character and for calling the Elephant Graveyard a concentration camp, too!

Fun facts:

I namedrop the title of my other song “They Dreamed of Devastation and Deceit” in the lyrics. It’s even more appropriate when you consider the subtitle is (Circle of Lies).

Lion King fans! I actually parody two songs from that movie franchise from a musicality standpoint. The intro should be obvious and the other parody aspect kicks in when I start singing halfway through the song. The first person who gets the answers right gets this song for free if they didn’t buy the album.

Hope you liked my somewhat lengthy backstory on that song. This concludes this song/poem trilogy.

The picture of The New Adventures of Kimba the White Lion is from Fandom and is property of Tezuka Productions.

The screenshot of Mufasa, Simba, Caesar, and Kimba is from Mashable and they are property of Disney, Tezuka Productions, and Nozomi Entertainment respectively.

The character comparison guide is from the Internet Archive. All characters are property of Tezuka Productions, Nozomi Entertainment, and Disney respectively.

The video clip is from The Simpsons and is property of Fox.

Mr. Leo “Pray”

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything on this blog.

Some of you may know that I’ve been getting more into African music and even more recently into movies made in that continent. Even though I’ve never been to Africa, I come from a multi-ethnic family and I did a DNA test where one of my results from my maternal side came up as Cameroonian among other ethnic groups in Africa and Europe. I decided to check out the music from that country and stumbled across Mr. Leo. I first heard the song “Pray” and found it touching given that country’s situation currently with the conflicts involving the French-speaking Cameroonians and the English-speaking ones where there have been fatalities. It saddens me how there have been divisions like that in this post-colonial landscape. Luckily, there are people in that country who hate the bloodshed and see each other as brothers and sisters despite what languages they speak. It certainly hit my heart because these people could be distant relatives of mine in some way. I hope you check out this song.

Part of the song is in Banso which is one of the local languages in that country. I found translated parts of that song which make it more heartbreaking knowing what everything means.

Amen chorus part:
Let us kneel down (Amen)
Let us keep praying that (Amen)
The day will soon be clear
Let us kneel down (Amen)
Let us keep praying that (Amen)
The day will soon be clear

Banso part of the 2nd verse:
If you are ignoring your brother
Beware, you are making a mistake
If you are chasing your brother away
Beware, you are making a mistake

Translation credit to Chris Logan

Discovering Ethiopian Rap Music: Cypher Abyssinia 2016

Here’s a quick post that some of you may be interested in.

I haven’t spotlighted many musicians outside of ZAP Records (the label I’m affiliated with), but I thought I would branch out by discovering some music off the beaten path. You’ve all noticed that I’ve been talking a bunch about Africa lately with some various news sources going on there, but I thought I would change it up with their music scene. I’ve been listening to some pop music in Africa mainly in Ethiopia, Eritrea, Ghana, and Togo recently, but I randomly discovered this series of music. It’s called Cypher Abyssinia which is a yearly rap tradition in Ethiopia where their rappers spit some verses together. However, they aren’t rapping in English. It’s all in Amharic, one of the major languages in that country. For those of you that don’t know, that’s the same language that The Weeknd used in the outro to his song “The Hills” (he’s Ethiopian-Canadian, for those that didn’t know), and the alphabet used in that language (Ge’ez script) is one of the inspirations of the Wakandan alphabet in Black Panther. It sounds really cool hearing rap music in an African language. Bonus points for incorporating traditional rhythms and melodies while mixing it with a hip-hop beat. Feel free to check it out!

Video courtesy of AND Tunes