FANDOM


"Circle of Life" is the opening song of Disney's 1994 animated film, The Lion King, composed by Elton John with lyrics by Tim Rice. It was performed by Carmen Twillie (female vocals) and Lebo M (opening Zulu vocals) as the film's opening song. Elton John also sang a pop version of it with the London Community Gospel Choir, which was included in the film's soundtrack and made into a music video.

Plot

The song takes place at the very beginning of the film, the dawn of Simba's presentation. As the song progresses, various animal herds travel through the Pride Lands to gather at Pride Rock. There, Rafiki meets up with the current King of the Pride Lands, Mufasa and his mate, Sarabi. After blessing their newborn cub, Simba, Rafiki lifts him up high for all the animals to see, and the animals bow before their future king.

The song reprises at the end of the film after Simba has taken the throne, the death of Scar, and avenging Mufasa. Rafiki presents Simba and Nala's newborn cub, Kiara, recalling the opening. In The Lion King 1½, the song is used again.

In The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, Simba breaks the Circle of Life when he exiles Kovu believing he was involved in the ambush set by Zira, forbidding Kiara from getting near him which was Mufasa's paw prints that he himself must follow. After Kiara and Kovu manage to unite the prides, the Circle of Life is restored to its former glory and peace was brought back to Pride Rock once again.

In Disneytoon's 2004 direct-to-video film The Lion King 1½, Timon and Pumbaa are watching this musical number in a dark theater when Timon suddenly uses a remote control to fast forward to where they appear in the film. Pumbaa argues that it shouldn't go out of order and attempts to rewind it back to the beginning. They start fighting over control of it until they agree that it should tell their side of the story. Throughout the rest of it, it is occasionally interrupted to have them comment on whatever is happening.

Lyrics

Nants ingonyama bagithi Baba
Sithi uhm ingonyama
Ingonyama
Nants ingonyama bagithi Baba
Sithi uhhmm ingonyama
Ingonyama
Siyo nqoba
Ingonyama
Ingonyama nengw' enamabala

Ingonyama nengw' enamabala
Ingonyama nengw' enamabala
Ingonyama nengw' enamabala
Ingonyama nengw' enamabala
Ingonyama nengw' enamabala (Se to kwa)
Ingonyama nengw' enamabala (Asana)
Ingonyama nengw' enamabala (Se to kwa)
Ingonyama nengw' enamabala (Asana)

Ingonyama nengw' enamabala (repeats throughout verse)
From the day we arrive on the planet
And blinking, step into the sun
There's more to see than can ever be seen
More to do than can ever be done

There's far too much to take in here
More to find than can ever be found
But the sun rolling high
Through the sapphire sky
Keeps great and small on the endless round

It's the Circle of Life
And it moves us all
Through despair and hope
Through faith and love

Till we find our place
On the path unwinding
In the Circle
The Circle of Life

Ingonyama nengw' enamabala
Ingonyama nengw' enamabala
Ingonyama nengw' enamabala
Ingonyama nengw' enamabala
Ingonyama nengw' enamabala
Ingonyama nengw' enamabala
Ingonyama nengw' enamabala
Ingonyama nengw' enamabala

It's the Circle of Life
And it moves us all
Through despair and hope
Through faith and love

Till we find our place
On the path unwinding
In the Circle
The Circle of Life

Till we find our place
On the path unwinding
In the Circle
The Circle of Life
Circle of
Life

Rafiki:
Nants ingonyama, bagathithi baba!

Choir:
Stiti umm, ingonyama
Ingonyama negwengabo!

Antelope:
Mai ba bo
Haa, ingonnyama baba!

Rafiki:
Nants ingonyama, bagathithi baba, hyaa!

Choir:
Stiti umm, ingonyama
Ingonyama negwengabo!

Antelope:
Hao, kusani bo
Pheki agalela (chou!)

Rafiki:
Nants ingonyama, bagathithi baba, hyaa!

Choir:
Siti umm, ingonyama

Rafiki:
Helele

Choir:
Ingonyama

Rafiki:
Oh, sizonqoba baba helele

Choir:
Ingonyama

Rafiki:
Hayyo! Sizonqo baba

Choir:
Ingonyama baba, enamabala

Antelope:
Ingonyama! Enamabala

(Whoa, ingonyama baba, enamabala)

(Ingonyama negwenamabala continues)

Rafiki:
From the day we arrive on this planet
And blinking, step into the sun
There's more to see than can ever be seen
More to do than can ever be done

Hmm, there's far too much, to take in here
More to find, than can ever be found
But the sun rolling high
Through the sapphire sky
Keeps great and small, on the endless round

It's the circle of life!
(Kalaliko bheki akale!)
And it moves us all
Through despair and hope
Through faith and love

Till we find our place
On the path unwinding
In the circle
The circle of life

(Ingonyama negwenamabala)

(improvisation by antelope)

It's the circle of life!
(Kalaliko bheki akale!)
And it moves us all
Through despair and hope
Through faith and love

Till we find our place!
On the path unwinding
In the circle!
The circle of life

(loud drumbeat)

Umm hmm
Oh ho
Oh ho
Oh ho
Oh ho

From the day we arrive on the planet
And blinking step into the sun
There's more to be seen than can ever be seen
More to do than can ever be done
Some say, eat or be eaten
Some say, live and let live
But, all are agreed as they join the stampede
You should never take more than you give

In the circle of life
It's the wheel of fortune
It's the leap by faith
It's the band of hope
Till, we find our place
On the path unwinding
In the circle
The circle of life

Some of us fall by the wayside
And some of us soar to the stars
And some of us sail through our troubles
And some have to live with the scars
There's far too much to take in here
More to find than can ever be found
But the sun rollin' high
Through the sapphire sky
Keeps the great and small on the endless round

In the circle of life
It's the wheel of fortune
It's the leap by faith
It's the band of hope
Till, we find our place
On the path unwinding, yea
In the circle
The circle of life
(Chorus repeats)

On the path unwinding, yea
In the circle
The circle of life

Trivia

  • "Circle of Life" was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Song in 1994 along with two other songs from the film, "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" and "Hakuna Matata", though the former won the award.
  • The song has become the theme of Disney's Animal Kingdom in Walt Disney World. At Epcot, it is featured in the attraction Circle of Life: An Environmental Fable starring characters from the film.
  • In one of Disney's many self-references, it also appeared as a false beginning of Chicken Little when Buck was trying to open the movie.
  • The Season 3 Phineas and Ferb song "On the Savannah" in the first part of the two-part episode "Where's Perry?" has a similar setting and is also done with African singers.
  • The choral element in between the "it's the circle of life" and "and it moves us all" is an approximate "kalaliko bheki akale".
  • There is a rare work-in-progress version that appeared in both the teaser trailer included in The Fox and the Hound VHS and the original theatrical trailer that people would not find anywhere else.
  • At the 2011 White House Correspondents' Dinner, President Barack Obama jokingly claimed he was going to show his long-form birth video, spoofing an earlier controversy about refusing to show his long-form birth certificate to prove he was, in fact, born in the United States. The opening chant was played from the film, and Simba was seen being lifted to the skies. The song was used to poke fun at Obama's Kenyan heritage.
  • The song was re-recorded in 2003 by the Disney Channel Circle of Stars, a group of actors and actresses who have appeared in Disney Channel television series and original movies. The line-up was significantly different when their next re-recording, "A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes", was released two years later.
  • The instrumental version of the song, with the Zulu vocals still included, is heard when the player uses The King's Domain sky in the Disney INFINITY games.
  • The scene of Rafiki lifting Simba can be briefly seen in an episode of Gargoyles when Hudson is flicking through channels.

Gallery

See also


v - e - d
The lion king logo
Media
Films: The Lion KingThe Lion King II: Simba's PrideThe Lion King 1½The Lion Guard: Return of the RoarVideoThe Lion King (2019 film)

Television: Timon & PumbaaTimon and Pumbaa's Wild About SafetyThe Lion Guard
Soundtracks: SoundtrackRhythm of the Pride LandsThe Legacy CollectionThe Lion King CollectionReturn to Pride Rock: Songs Inspired by Disney's The Lion King II: Simba's PrideBest of the Lion KingThe Lion King 1½: Songs from Timon and Pumbaa's Hilarious AdventureOriginal Broadway Cast RecordingThe Lion Guard
Video games: The Lion KingTimon and Pumbaa's Jungle GamesThe Lion King: Simba's Mighty AdventureKingdom Hearts IIAnimated Storybook: The Lion KingDisney UniverseDisney INFINITY: 2.0 EditionAdventures in Typing with Timon and PumbaaActivity CenterThe Lion King 2: Simba's Pride: Active PlayThe Lion King 2: Simba's Pride GameBreakThe Lion King 1½Disney Crossy RoadDisney Emoji BlitzDisney Heroes: Battle ModeKingdom Hearts III
Books: Classic StorybookDisney's Wonderful World of ReadingGolden Sight 'n' Sound BookLittle Golden BookMarvel ComicsSimba and Nala Help BomoSimba and the Big FloodSimba the Fortune TellerFar from the Pride LandsSimba's Daring RescuePumbaa Runs Away from HomeNo Worries: A New Story About SimbaHow Simba Met Timon and PumbaaWay to Go, Simba!The Lion King 1½

Disney Parks
Rafiki's Planet WatchDisney's Art of Animation ResortDisney's Explorers LodgeCircle of Life: An Environmental FableDisney Animation BuildingIt's a Small WorldMickey's PhilharMagicRhythm of the JungleSorcerers of the Magic KingdomStitch and Friends Summer SurpriseThe Enchanted Tiki Room (Under New Management)The Lion Guard Adventure

Entertainment: AnimagiqueDisney's BelieveDisney's Dreams: An Enchanted ClassicDisney's WishesFantasmic!Feel the MagicFestival of Family & FriendsFestival of the Lion KingHakuna Matata Time Dance PartyIt's Party Time... with Mickey and FriendsMickey's Gift of DreamsMickey and the MagicianOnce Upon a MouseThe Golden MickeysThe Legend of the Lion KingVillains Tonight!
Restaurants: Restaurant Hakuna Matata
Parade: Disney's Magical Moments ParadeDisney Cinema ParadeDisney Magic on ParadeDisney Stars on ParadeFlights of Fantasy ParadeJubilation!Mickey's Soundsational ParadeMickey's Storybook ExpressThe Lion King CelebrationThe Wonderful World of Disney ParadeWalt Disney's Parade of Dreams
Firework: Celebrate the MagicCelebrate! Tokyo DisneylandDisney Dreams!Disneyland ForeverHappily Ever AfterIgnite the Dream: A Nighttime Spectacular of Magic and LightThe Magic, the Memories and YouOnce Upon a TimeTree of Life AwakensWonderful World of AnimationWorld of Color
Halloween: Happy Hallowishes

Characters
The Lion King: SimbaNalaMufasaScarRafikiTimonPumbaaZazuShenzi, Banzai, and EdSarabiSarafinaThe PridelandersHyena ClanWildebeestsGopher

The Lion King II: Simba's Pride: KiaraKovuZiraVitaniNukaOutsidersCrocodiles
The Lion King 1½: MaUncle MaxIron JoeMeerkat Colony
Timon & Pumbaa: The Native ChiefThe Three NativesMontyBaampuNobiFredPantherQuintThe WoodpeckerBruceStinkyRalph and EddieTedsSavage LionBartholomewThe TarsierToucan DanVulture PoliceNedRabbitUncle BoarisUncle ErnieBoss BeaverBoy BeaverLester the WhaleThe TigressJackalThe CobraSpeedy the SnailSmolder the BearLittle JimmyIrwinEl ToroCount DownMr. PigWolverineJumbo Jumbo the ElephantCheetato and CheetataMartin PardonRita BookChef ClaudeCaptain BloodbeardCisco PigCisco Pig's GangDr. CaliostroTorgoThe Meerkat AngelPumbaa Jr.Dr. HappyLeslie LambeauMr. ButtonsSharlaHermanLaraMelClaudiusBahukaTutan PharaohGenieMadame CredenzaDuke MeerkatTatianaMother EagleBaby EarlKing LeopoldPrincess ClaudiaSigmund and LloydHeinrich and SchnitzelMad Dog McGraw, Billy the Goat, and Three-fingered JackelopeDr. ExceterSal MandersJungle InspectorBigfootPimon and Tumbaa
The Lion Guard: KionBungaFuliBeshteOnoTiifuZuriJanjaCheeziChunguJanja's ClanMzingoMzingo's ParliamentMwogaMakuuMakuu's FloatPuaBasiBasi's PodUshariJasiriMadoaTunu and WemaThurstonMbeyaMa TemboAminifuReireiGoigoiDogoDogo's BrothersKijanaReirei's PackTwigaJuhudiShingoMuhanga and MuhangusTamaaNala's FatherSwalaMuhimuHamuAjabuMakuchaMjombaOgpoaHayaBadiliMapiganoMtotoGumbaKambuniKwatoShaukuNneTanoVuruga VurugaYoung RhinoLionessMajinuni and HafifuKing SokweJasiri's ClanHadithiBupuBobokaChuraKifaruMwenziUrohoMwiziKulindaOnaMpishiMakiniShupavuKiburiTamkaNduliKiburi's FloatKengeDhahabuHodariSumuKongweKinyongaKuchimbaShujaaAnga
Printed Media: UruAhadiKopaBomaKulaZuzuJokaLulu
Deleted: DikuBaashoIggyHerr RhinoKwashiBhatiMheetuBanagiDaabiDwalaNaanda

Episodes
Timon & Pumbaa

Season One: "Boara Boara" • "Saskatchewan Catch" • "Kenya Be My Friend?" • "Good Mousekeeping" • "Brazil Nuts" • "South Sea Sick/The Lion Sleeps Tonight" • "Never Everglades" • "Cooked Goose" • "Yukon Con" • "Doubt of Africa" • "How to Beat the High Costa Rica" • "Swiss Missed" • "Russia Hour" • "You Ghana Join the Club" • "Uganda Be an Elephant" • "To Kilimanjaro Bird" • "Rocky Mountain Lie" • "Amazon Quiver" • "French Fried" • "Big Top Breakfast" • "Madagascar About You" • "Truth or Zaire" • "Mojave Desserted" • "Beauty and the Wildebeest" • "Don't Break the China" • "Can't Take a Yolk" • "The Pain in Spain" • "Frantic Atlantic" • "Unlucky in Lesotho" • "Rafiki's Apprentice" • "Tanzania Zany" • "Guatemala Malarkey" • "Mombasa-In-Law" • "TV Dinner" • "Back Out in the Outback" • "Gabon with the Wind" • "Timon's Time Togo" • "The Law of the Jungle" • "Manhattan Mishap" • "Paraguay Parable" • "Be More Pacific" • "Going Uruguay" • "Let's Serengeti Out of Here" • "Congo on Like This" • "Okay Bayou?" • "Shake Your Djibouti" • "Yosemite Remedy" • "The Sky is Calling" • "Mozam-Beaked" • "Ocean Commotion"
Season Two: "Palm Beached" • "Jamaica Mistake?" • "Oregon Astray" • "New Guinea Pig" • "Isle of Manhood" • "Puttin' on the Brits" • "Klondike Con" • "Isle Find Out" • "Beetle Romania" • "Rumble in the Jungle" • "Wide Awake in Wonderland" • "Zazu's Off-by-One Day" • "Animal Barn" • "Roach Hotel" • "Africa-Dabra!" • "I Don't Bolivia" • "Shopping Mauled" • "Library Brouhaha" • "Catch Me if You Kenya" • "Scent of the South" • "Monster Massachusetts" • "Handle with Caribbean" • "Forbidden Pumbaa" • "Washington Applesauce" • "Alcatraz Mataz" • "Oahu Wahoo" • "I Think I Canada" • "Zazu's Off Day Off" • "Beast of Eden" • "Sense & Senegambia" • "Timon on the Range" • "The Man from J.U.N.G.L.E." • "Maine-Iacs" • "Fiji-Fi-Fo-Fum" • "Rome Alone" • "Amusement Bark" • "Once Upon a Timon" • "Home is Where the Hog Is" • "Beethoven's Whiff" • "Bumble in the Jungle" • "Mind Over Matterhorn"
Season Three: "Whiff" • "To Be Bee or Not to Be Bee" • "Luck Be a Meerkat" • "Just When You Thought You'd Cuisine it All" • "Lemonade Stand Off" • "Big Jungle Game" • "Boo Hoo Bouquet" • "So Sumo Me" • "Now Museum, Now You Don't" • "Visiting Pig-nitaries" • "The Truth About Kats and Hogs" • "Escape from Newark" • "Truth Be Told" • "Circus Jerks" • "Nest Best Thing" • "Super Hog-O" • "Don't Have the Vegas Idea" • "Hot Enough for Ya?" • "Werehog of London" • "Bigfoot, Littlebrain" • "Astro-Nots" • "Robin Hoodwinked" • "Seregenti Western" • "All Pets are Off" • "Two for the Zoo" • "The Swine in the Stone" • "You May Have Already Won Six Million Bakra" • "My Meteor, My Friend" • "Jungle Slickers" • "Don't Wake the Neighbear" • "Recipe for Disaster" • "Going Over-Boar'd" • "Ivy Beleaguered" • "Broadway Bound & Gagged" • "Steel Hog" • "Dealer's Choice Cut" • "Space Ham" • "You Bet Your Tuhkus" • "No-Good Samaritan" • "Living in De Nile" • "One Tough Bug" • "Pirates of Pumbzance" • "Miss Perfect" • "Hakuna Matata U." • "Pig-Malion" • "Why No Rhino" • "War Hogs" • "The Big No Sleep" • "Common Scents" • "Mister Twister" • "Don't Be Elfish" • "Lights, Camera, Traction" • "The Running of the Bullies" • "Special Defects" • "Wishy Washy" • "Ice Escapades" • "Guru-Some" • "Jailhouse Shock" • "Nearly Departed" • "Early Bird Watchers" • "The Spy's the Limit" • "Ready, Aim, Fire" • "Timoncchio" • "Ghost Boosters" • "Stay Away from my Honey!" • "Sitting Pretty Awful" • "He's a Bad, Bad, Bad Sport" • "Dapper Duck Burgers" • "It Runs Good" • "Hot Air Buffoons" • "Timon in Love" • "Kahuna Potato" • "Mook Island" • "Cliphangers"

The Lion Guard
Season One: "Never Judge a Hyena by its Spots" • "The Rise of Makuu" • ""Bunga the Wise" • "Can't Wait to be Queen" • "Eye of the Beholder" • "The Kupatana Celebration" • "Fuli's New Family" • "The Search for Utamu" • "Follow That Hippo!" • "Call of the Drongo" • "Paintings and Predictions" • "The Mbali Fields Migration" • "Bunga and the King" • "The Imaginary Okapi" • "Too Many Termites" • "The Trouble With Galagos" • "Janja's New Crew" • "Baboons!" • "Beware the Zimwi" • "Lions of the Outlands" • "Never Roar Again" • "The Lost Gorillas" • "The Trail to Udugu" • "Ono's Idol" • "Beshte and the Hippo Lanes" • "Ono the Tickbird"
Season Two: "Babysitter Bunga" • "The Savannah Summit" • "The Traveling Baboon Show" • "Ono and the Egg" • "The Rise of Scar" • "Let Sleeping Crocs Lie" • "Swept Away" • "Rafiki's New Neighbors" • "Rescue in the Outlands" • "The Ukumbusho Tradition" • "The Bite of Kenge" • "Timon and Pumbaa's Christmas" • "The Morning Report" • "The Golden Zebra" • "The Little Guy" • "Divide and Conquer" • "The Scorpion's Sting" • "The Wisdom of Kongwe" • "The Kilio Valley Fire" • "Undercover Kinyonga" • "Cave of Secrets" • "The Zebra Mastermind" • "The Hyena Resistance" • "The Underground Adventure" • "Beshte and the Beast" • "Pride Landers Unite!" • "The Queen's Visit" • "The Fall of Mizimu Grove" • "Fire from the Sky"

Locations
The Lion King Trilogy: AfricaMount KilimanjaroPride RockThe Pride LandsThe Water HoleThe Elephant GraveyardThe GorgeJungleRafiki's Ancient TreeThe Outlands

Timon & Pumbaa: Zazu's TreeMadame Credenza's PlaceSavage RockBoss Beaver's Log Land
The Lion Guard: Lair of the Lion GuardJanja's Den

Songs
The Lion King: Circle of LifeThe Morning ReportI Just Can't Wait to Be KingBe PreparedHakuna MatataCan You Feel the Love TonightI've Got a Lovely Bunch of CoconutsHawaiian War Chant

Instrumental Scores: This LandHyenas...To Die ForUnder the StarsKing of Pride RockDidn't Your Mother Tell You Not to Play with Your FoodWe are All ConnectedHyenas in the Pride LandsElephant GraveyardI Was Just Trying to Be BraveStampedeMufasa DiesIf You Ever Come Back We'll Kill YouBowling for BuzzardsWe Gotta Bone to Pick With YouKings of the PastNala, is It Really You?Remember Who You AreThis is My HomeThe Rightful King
Rhythm of the Pride Lands: KubeLea HalalelaIt's TimeLalaBusaNoyana
The Lion King II: Simba's Pride: He Lives in YouWe Are OneMy LullabyUpendiOne of UsLove Will Find a Way
The Lion King 1½: Digga TunnahThat's All I NeedSunrise, SunsetGrazing in the Grass
Musical: Lioness HuntRafiki MournsOne by OneGrasslands ChantChow DownThe Madness of King ScarShadowlandEndless Night
Timon & Pumbaa: Alone TogetherStand by MeYummy, Yummy, YummyThe Lion Sleeps Tonight
The Lion Guard: Call of the GuardA Beautiful Day (Ni Siku Nzuri)Zuka ZamaTonight We StrikeKion's LamentIt is TimeHere Comes the Lion GuardWe're the Same (Sisi Ni Sawa)Don't Make a StinkBunga the WiseDuties of the KingOutta the WayJackal StyleOur Kupatana CommunityMy Own WayUtamuAll Hail The VulturesHero InsideBird of a Thousand VoicesPanic and RunTrail to HopeLife in the Pride LandsWe'll Make You a MealFind Your RoarChungu's LamentBaboonsBeware of the ZimwiLions Over AllStand Up, Stand OutKuishi Ni KuchekaRunning with the KingHadithi the HeroMakin' Hippo LanesTickbirds and RhinosTeke Ruka TelezaEveryone is WelcomeThe Traveling Baboon ShowA Real MealFujoThe Path of HonorBring Back a LegendToday is my DayI Have A PlanGotta Look on the Bright SideThe Worst Hyena We KnowMay There Be PeaceBig Bad KengeChristmas in the Pride LandsThe Twelve Ways of ChristmasI Do Have a Great Deal to SayFabulous DhahabuGive a Little Guy a ChanceWe're the SmartestGood King SimbaThe Faster I GoI'm Gonna Run This DumpNow You See Me, Now You Don'tWisdom on the WallsHe's The Zebra MastermindKwetu Ni KwetuNothin' to Fear Down HereShujaa Ponda
Deleted: To Be KingWarthog RhapsodyThe Lion of the MoonOld Fearless BuzzThe Madness of King Scar

See Also
Rafiki's Bakora StaffKing of the JungleMusicalLion GuardRoar of the EldersThe Disney AfternoonFind Out WhyHouse of MouseOne by OneAs Told by Emoji