Seeger stays true to roots

Guest of honor champions artists' rights

NEW YORK — Last week’s screening of South African doc “A Lion’s Tail” in Gotham was low on the glitz, but high on the sincerity. It’s hard to imagine guest of honor Pete Seeger showing up for anything otherwise.

“Lion’s Tail” tells the riveting story behind the tune “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” and the not-so-nice way in which American record companies and artists earned millions from the song, while the tune’s composer, Zulu shepherd Solomon Linda, was never properly recognized.

At the April 27 sesh, Seeger announced a new initiative aimed at protecting the interests of artists in developing countries. Veteran folksinger performed Linda’s “Mbube” with the Weavers in the 1960s, but the African composer got cut out of royalties when another songwriter copyrighted the tune under the title “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.”

The docu unspooled at Gotham’s weeklong South African film fest.

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