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A record that has been sampled every decade since the 1970s: A short history of the song “Jin-go-lo-ba”

The song “Jin-go-lo-ba” was originally released in 1959 by a Nigerian percussionist called Babatunde Olatunji (sometimes credited as “Michael Olatunji”). The title roughly translates as “don’t worry” from Yoruban (one of the main languages used in parts of West Africa).

The record is also sometimes called “drums of passion” which is a fitting description of the song which is filled with African rhythms and a call and response chorus. “Jin-go-lo-ba” was one of Olatunji’s most popular songs and sold millions of copies as a single. The simple exchange between the mother drum (iya ilu) and the baby drum (omele) became Olatunji’s signature sound.

But what’s most interesting about the track is that it has inspired musicians and producers to sample it for nearly 60 years. Every decade since its creation, “Jin-go-lo-ba” has been found at the top of the charts in a new form after being reworked and reused. Serge Gainsbourg was the first to use it in 1964, followed by Santana in 1969. Candido later adapted it in 1979 where it became a Disco Garage carnival song. This version was, in turn, remixed by Shep Pettibone in 1983 with a ‘Breakdown‘ version. The Shep Pettibone version is probably the most faithful to the original and is an interesting reimagining of the track’s original percussive soul. In the early 90s the track was reworked again by Todd Terry. After Olatunji died in 2003, Fatboy Slim created his own cover using the now famous African drum hook from “Jin-go-lo-ba.”

Last month… sixty years after the song’s original creation, a Melbourne based polymath and producer called Andrew Wilson (aka Andras) has opened up his new EP Boom Boom with “Jin-go-lo-ba.” Andras’ version goes back to the heart of the track: percussion. He strips everything back to the drums and dials up the bass to breath life into “Jin-go-lo-ba” for its seventh decade.

Check out the Andras version as well as many of the other versions of “Jin-go-lo-ba” through the decades below.

Andras – Jingo

FatBoy Slim – Jin-go-ba-la

Santana – Jin-go-ba-la

Candido – Jingo

Babatunde Olatunji – Jin-go-ba-la