Ma Baker, the iconic song of Boney M which has made generations dance, is inspired from a Tunisian folkloric song.
Sidi Mansour, the epitome of Tunisia’s musical heritage
Tunisia has a rich musical heritage and the folk song “Sidi Mansour” is an outstanding example of that. The song, which has been adapted into several languages including Greek, Albanian, Turkish, and Serbian, has been passed down through generations and has become a staple of Tunisian culture. The folkloric song dates back to hundreds of years ago and praises a Sufi Saint, Sidi Mansour, who lived and died in Tunis.
The popularity of the song soared in recent decades thanks to the rendition/interpretation of Saber Rebai in 2000, which has become a trademark of the Tunisian music industry. But the fascinating story of this song doesn’t end there. The tune of Sidi Mansour was the sample and inspiration for one of the most iconic songs in American music history, which is Ma Baker by Boney M.
It is said that Hans-Jörg Mayer, the assistant to Frank Farian, founder and producer of Boney M, heard the song while on vacation in Tunisia and was immediately struck by its unique beat. He brought the song back with him to the studio and the rest is history.
Folklore that inspired a timeless hit
“Ma Baker” was a commercial success and has achieved a certified gold status in several countries such as Germany, Sweden, and the United Kingdom, with total sales of over 1.25 million units in these countries. In addition, the song reached the top of the charts in countries like Austria, Belgium, and Mexico, and it peaked at number 2 on the UK singles chart. The song also reached number 1 on the Eurochart Hot 100, which solidified its place as a timeless hit in the world music industry, owing much of its success to its catchy beat from the folklore of the North African nation.