Tuesday, December 08, 2009
Jango Song Of The Day-Miriam Makeba
Album:The Definitive Collection
Miriam Makeba was known as Mama Afrika. She was an innovator of African music and also a civil rights activist. Pata Pata was her biggest chart hit and probably her signature song. She was born Mar. 4, 1932 in Johannesburg, South Africa. She began her career in the 50s with the legendary vocal group The Manhattan Brothers. Then she had her own group The Skylarks. But she wasn't making money in South Africa. She met Harry Belafonte and he brought her to the US in 1966. Meanwhile she found that her South African passport was revoked and she remained in exile for many years. She recorded for RCA in the early 60s and then moved to Reprise and reached #11 on the Billboard Hot 100 with Pata Pata in 1968. This comp from the British label Wrasse Records is a good intro to her music. Her 1968 marriage to civil rights activist Stokely Carmichael resulted in a move to Guinea. Miriam continued to perform in obscurity mostly in Africa until she toured with Paul Simon in 1987. Nelson Mandela urged Miriam to perform in South Africa in 1990. Her exile was over. She was named a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador in 1999. Miriam Makeba died on stage in Italy from a heart attack on Nov. 9, 2008 at age 76. Here's Miriam Makeba performing Pata Pata in Sao Paolo, Brazil 1968.