Who hasn’t lip synced to Toto’s “Africa”? Latest: crew of oil supply ship off Equatorial Guinea coast

At last count there were about 140,000 covers of the 1980s American rock band Toto’s song “Africa” on Youtube.  And then there’s all the remixes or samples by more recognized performers.  Just as a sample: R&B crooner Jason Derulo acted out the “rain down in Africa” line in a shower and for Canadian singer Karl Wolf (he was famous in Germany or somewhere like that) “Africa” is a sexy woman in a bikini. Some of your favorite rappers also covered “Africa”: On Madlib‘s “Medicine Show #13: Black Tapes,” GZA of the Wu Tang Clan raps over the beat. So has Wiz Khalifa. Other alumni: Indie band Low and  the massive Slovenian a capella choir Perpetuum Jazzile–their video of making rain sounds have been viewed 15 million plus times on Youtube (and that’s just the video they uploaded.)  The readers of musicologist and blogger Wayne & Wax (Wayne Marshall) dug up a Senegalese rap cover, a Ghostface vs Toto remix and a rap over the credits of American TV show, “Community,” by Donald Glover and Betty White.  But fans also get their turn: think of the guy with the Dutch street organ , this German trio, or the Serbian fans who decided to subtitle the original. Just type “Toto + Africa” into Youtube or your video player.  Which brings us to the latest version that is sure to go viral: the crew of an oil supply ship off the coast of Equatorial Guinea in West Africa (there’s a lot of oil there), decided to lip synch over the original record while tapping out the rhythm with their tools (oil cannisters, bug spray, spanners), while one of them filmed and edited a video of the performance over a few weeks.  Since the song “Africa” has also been subjected to serious analysis already–humorist Steve Almond have broken down the lyrics and blogger and musicologist Wayne & Wax (Wayne Marshall) felt inspired to write a long post about the “Africanness” of the actual tune–we’ll pretend to just enjoy the latest in attempts  by all kinds of people (including Africans) to cover the song.



Sean Jacobs

Sean Jacobs is the Founder and Editor of Africa is a Country. He is on the international affairs faculty of The New School in New York.

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