"...it isn´t a noise, it´s my language!"

That´s how Miriam Makeba explained the phonetic characteristics of her language to a 1970s Dutch studio audience. Smiling and gentle she would make sure that there was a trace of anger and sadness in her face when she mentioned the colonial madness that descended on South Africa.

Forced into exile for 31 years, Miriam Makeba went to the USA with the help of Harry Belafonte, who also introduced her to a world wide audience. Dressed in a leopard fur dress, she was welcomed as another purveyor of exotica, but she also made her voice heard before the UN, pleading against apartheid and promoting a global boycott against South Africa.

In 1967 "Mama Africa" became a global sensation with the amazing "Pata Pata", which is the song she is remembered for until today.

"Pata Pata" is one of my earliest and happiest musical childhood memories. There is something truly primal and gripping about the song that transcends time and place. It doesn´t matter where and when you put it on, people will instantly react to it.

The ebb and flow of the melody and the constant interplay of the lead and backing vocals is absolutely magical. The guttural "click", which could be mistaken for a percussion accent adds the icing on this groovy cake.
"And everybody starts to move, as soon as Pata Pata starts to play", truer lyrics have never been written!

Pata Pata

Since "Pata Pata" became such a surprising and phenomenal hit, which could never be repeated, Makeba was often seen as a novelty act and one-hit-wonder and she was later labelled as "World Music". Of course there was much more to her.

Before she became a pop-star of "Muppet Show"-dimensions, Makeba toured the planet to send shivers down the spine of audiences everywhere. Something in her voice can really bring tears to my eyes.

Thanks to a big fan of hers, Youtube features an amazing number of songs taken from a concert Miriam gave in Sweden in 1966.
Here she shows her incredible vocal talent with interpretations of African songs as well as Gospel and Bossa Nova. Truly magnificent and beautiful. Watch and listen to her rendition of "Chove Chuva" and be floored by her power, her incredible style and mesmerizing performance.

Chove Chuva


Ask the Rising Sun



You have to see this one: "Amampondo" starts out with Miriam introducing her fantastic band (American bassist, Brazilian guitarist, Caribbean drummer) while sexily grooving herself into a song that is pure sex and seduction and vocal artistry. Too Hot!


Miriam Makeba, always a strong voice against racism and hatred officially ended her career earlier this year with a farewell tour. She did however take to the stage at various occasions. Yesterday she gave a free concert in Italy in honour of anti-Mafia activist Roberto Saviano. As she left the stage she suffered a stroke and she died soon after in a hospital.

Make sure to watch this last clip! "When I´ve passed on" will ruin your Monday for a few minutes, but it will also make you happy that you have heard it.

When I´ve passed on

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