6 days ago
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Myriam Makeba - Comme Une Symphone D'Amour
Myriam Makeba - Comme Une Symphone D'Amour (1979/89)
Here's a change of pace from the recent spate of synth music. Myriam Makeba was, as it happens, married to the great Hugh Maskela, a few of whose albums I posted over the summer. If you liked those, you'll find this just as agreeable. Otherwise, I doubt anyone can help themselves from falling for the woman known as Mama Afrika. For some background I'll just toss out some Wikipedia.
Makeba then travelled to London where she met Harry Belafonte, who assisted her in gaining entry to and fame in the United States. She released many of her most famous hits there including "Pata Pata", "The Click Song" ("Qongqothwane" in Xhosa), and "Malaika". In 1966, Makeba received the Grammy Award for Best Folk Recording together with Harry Belafonte for An Evening With Belafonte/Makeba. The album dealt with the political plight of black South Africans under apartheid.
She discovered that her South African passport was revoked when she tried to return there in 1960 for her mother's funeral. In 1963, after testifying against apartheid before the United Nations, her South African citizenship and her right to return to the country were revoked. She has had nine passports,  and was granted honorary citizenship of ten countries.
Her marriage to Trinidadian civil rights activist and Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee leader Stokely Carmichael in 1968 caused controversy in the United States, and her record deals and tours were cancelled. As a result of this, the couple moved to Guinea, where they became close with President Ahmed Sékou Touré and his wife. Makeba separated from Carmichael in 1973, and continued to perform primarily in Africa, South America and Europe. She was one of the African and Afro-American entertainers at the 1974 Rumble in the Jungle match between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman held in Zaïre. Makeba also served as a Guinean delegate to the United Nations, for which she won the Dag Hammarskjöld Peace Prize in 1986.
This is the 1989 CD re-release of this album (best of?) featuring 5 bonus tracks including "The Click Song" as mentioned above. It dips between pop, jazz, and traditional numbers in french, english, and xhosa. Wonderful album, here's some youtube vids as a preview for those unacquainted with the 'Mistress of African Song'.
African Convention (on this record)
(Fun tidbit: The Lion Cries seems to have been 'covered'/ripped-off by Paul Simon on Graceland. Guess it wasn't just Ladysmith Black Mambazo then.)