As their name suggests, the Men’s Bathroom Choir have one helluva quirky gimmick, but they also back it up with some serious vocal talent. The 14-piece group received many requests to sing “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” and when they got around to it, they delivered on all fronts.
The group performed the classic folk song mostly acapella, without only a hi-hat and some percussion for musical accompaniment. Lead vocalist Timofei Sennikov shows off a sky-high falsetto vocal during the performance that is just gorgeous to hear. The other boys deliver the goods with plenty of style as well in a complex vocal arrangement. “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” is the group’s most popular song on YouTube, with 5.6 million views, and you can hear it for yourself below.
The Men’s Bathroom Choir was founded by students from Gibbs High School in St Petersburg, Florida. Sennikov, who was 18 at the time, founded the group in 2020 after noticing the pleasant acoustics of the school’s Building 5 restroom. The group began meeting twice a week during lunchtime in the bathroom to sing music that they arranged themselves.
The choir’s first YouTube video “Drunken Sailor” quickly went viral, and is currently their second-most popular video with 3.5 million views. They now have seven videos with over a million views, but the boys had no idea it was going to take off in such a big way. “Our intention was just to sing,” Sennikov told the Tampa Bay Times. You can hear their take on “Drunken Sailor” in the video below.
Music lovers on YouTube came out in force to show appreciation for the boys’ talents, adding comments such as “This was the best version I’ve ever heard. You guys rock” and “That kid hitting those high notes is absolutely mind blowing.”
You can hear fellow students laughing outside the restroom door when the boys finish “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”, but the school staff were thoroughly impressed by the Men’s Bathroom Choir. Gibbs High School choir director Matthew Clear, 31, recalls hearing the choir singing for the first time as their voices seeped into the hallway, and then the group becoming more organised over time.
“This is like heaven as a teacher,” he told the Tampa Bay Times. “They’re taking everything we have taught them and using it to make music. That’s the biggest reward as a teacher.”
“The Lion Sleeps Tonight” was an excellent choice to show off the boys’ vocal talents. The song was originally written in 1939 by South African composer Solomon Linda in the Zulu language. American songwriter George David Weiss later wrote English lyrics, and in 1961 the song became a number one hit in the United States for doo-wop act The Tokens. The song has been covered countless times in the years since, including by big names such as R.E.M., NSYNC, Karl Denver, Henri Salvador and Jimmy Dorsey. If you would like to see more from Men’s Bathroom Choir, you can subscribe to their YouTube channel or follow them on Instagram.