Adele ‘Hello’ Swahili cover: Copyright infringement or flattery

Dela Maranga, a Kenyan Afro-pop singer, is well-respected by peers and fans. The songstress’s fame grew in December 2015 when she released a Swahili cover to Adele’s popular “Hello”. Nearly 6 months later the video has racked over 500,00 views. However the cover has left some wondering if Maranga has broken the law.

Although the track has been met by many positive reviews, some fans are also concerned about the cover being done without seeking Adele’s consent to translate it. A number have been questioning if the translation is not infringing on copyright. Listeners raised the question as to whether or not there was copyright infringement involved. This is because Maranga did not seek approval from Adele or anyone from the British singer’s management to translate and use the song.

When being interviewed by Showbuzz, Maranga stated that there was no infringement. She went on to say that:

“This is a cover. I did it just for YouTube and it is not for commercial purposes…if people ask me to perform it, I will.”

The effort that she and her team put into the cover is evident. Maranga told Showbuzz that they ”couldn’t wait for people to hear it” after they were done.

The cover was produced by Sauti Sol’s Polycarp, Benjamin Webi and Andrew Wanjohi

Polycarp from Sauti Sol confirmed this by writing the following:

“WOW! If only y’all knew how random this was! This was just one night of recording. Nothing was planned. And we released the next day just for fun. The response thus far is just overwhelming. None of us expected this…”

Although Maranga’s popularity has undoubtedly increased since the cover’s release on YouTube, it seems that a more clear-cut explanation as well as clear guidelines are needed in order to guide laymen with what is and what is not copyright infringement.


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