Lee Recommends: “Mr Tembo” by Damon Albarn

Not many songs make me cry. I can’t always explain why those that do make my eyes go all watery and red and my throat feel like I’ve swallowed a brick.

When I listen to the Blur frontman’s track ‘Mr Tembo’ it’s tears of joy. Mr Tembo is an orphaned elephant that Damon met in Tanzania. I don’t suppose there are many songs in music that are inspired by or written for elephants, but this is one of them. It’s love and hope and happiness bundled up into about 3 and half minutes.

There’s the beautiful gospel singing of The Leytonstone City Mission Choir that turns up the joy factor to 11, and the earworm of a chorus: ‘Mr Tembo is on his way up the hill/With only this song to tell you how he feels’. Damon and his band obviously had so much fun filming the video, and you get to see footage of the little elephant for who the song was penned.

If you are having a bad day, or, as the song suggests ‘need a helping hand’ to get to a better place, let Mr Tembo work its magic.

(Song recommendation by Lee Thompson)

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