“Hakuna-Matata” is a phrase in Swahili from East Africa meaning “No trouble” or No worries”. This has found its way into pop culture by way of Walt Disney. First used in Disney’s film The Lion King (1994) and its 2019 remake with a song based around the phrase. Now it’s used as a common day phrase for its exact translation – no worries.
Directed by Jon Favreau, he chose to take a new direction from the originals animated film to a live-action film. Taking a different approach to the film came forward in several ways. From Disney Live-Action, Favreau brings forward an all-new “The Lion King” as the audience journeys to the African savanna where a future king overcomes betrayal and tragedy to become king on his rightful place on Pride Rock.
Donald Glover, Seth Rogen, director Jon Favreau, and more of his Lion King cast discuss how their portrayals of cherished characters still break new creative ground.
Even the trailer and advertising for the new film were rather different than the original. In one promotional video, they present Hakuna Matata in different languages.
Disney’s The Lion King Soundtrack
Although the main phrase “Hakuna Matata” stays in the original Swahili, the rest of the lyrics are within different languages. It’s a way for the film to present itself with an international audience as the base phrase’s intention has no limitations or bias. Everyone can and should enjoy no worries.
Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen who play Timone and Pumba in the new 2019 film have taken a new spin to the characters and thus to the character’s hit song. Singing these hit songs was nerve-wracking for both of them.
When asked “What is it like singing such recognizable songs?” by Rebecca Rubin of Variety, this is how they responded.
“It’s fun because you grow up with them. There was a certain exercise in my head of not being too familiar with the original version. Your first instinct is, “I’ll go listen to the original version and remind myself of what it was like.” The instinct that served me better was to not do that specifically and really trust that Jon would guide me to do all the things that he thought were necessary in order to make the song hit,” said Seth Rogen.
“The songs were probably one of the more intimidating parts to record in terms of having to walk this fine line of nodding to the original and certain elements of the original performances that people just love and would be disappointed not to hear again, but also finding ways to make it our own. Especially “Hakuna Matata” — that song is ingrained in people’s heads. Once you get past the first few takes, you start to fall into your own rhythm. Eventually, the anxiety wears off, but that’s a big one to take on,” said Billy Eichner.
This isn’t the first time Switching Styles has looked at Hakuna Matata in different forms. Check out some more Lion King covers!