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The Silence of Mariam Makeba
Posted by: petersz (69.181.22.---)
Date: November 10, 2008 08:48PM

The Silence of Mariam Makeba

Another ordinary day in my life.
Exuberant pulse
Of our future…now a note is missing
From morning air. Our world
Has lost to the silence
In Italy after her concern,
The laughter…hears the air…
The image of liberation…
Hurry, mothers, hurry, hurry.

Re: The Silence of Mariam Makeba
Posted by: petersz (69.181.22.---)
Date: November 10, 2008 09:01PM

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Origin: Johannesburg, South Africa

Decades: 1950's, 1960's, 1970's, 1980's, 1990's, and 2000's

Following a three-decade-long exile, Miriam Makeba's return to South Africa was celebrated as though a queen was restoring her monarchy. The response was fitting as Makeba remains the most important female vocalist to emerge out of South Africa. Hailed as the Empress of African Song and Mama Africa, Makeba helped bring African music to a global audience in the 1960s. Nearly five decades after her debut with the Manhattan Brothers, she continues to play an important role in the growth of African music.

Makeba's life has been consistently marked by struggle. As the daughter of a sangoma, a mystical traditional healer of the Xhosa tribe, she spent six months of her birth year in jail with her mother. Gifted with a dynamic vocal tone, Makeba recorded her debut single, "Lakutshona Llange," as a member of the Manhattan Brothers in 1953. Although she left to form an all-female group named the Skylarks in 1958, she reunited with members of the Manhattan Brothers when she accepted the lead female role in a musical version of King Kong, which told the tragic tale of Black African boxer, Ezekiel "King Kong" Dlamani, in 1959. The same year, she began an 18 month tour of South Africa with Alf Herbert's musical extravaganza, African Jazz And Variety, and made an appearance in a documentary film, Come Back Africa. These successes led to invitations to perform in Europe and the United States.

Makeba was embraced by the African-American community. "Pata Pata," Makeba's signature tune was written by Dorothy Masuka and recorded in South Africa in 1956 before eventually becoming a major hit in the U.S. in 1967. In late-1959, she performed for four weeks at the Village Vanguard in New York. She later made a guest appearance during Harry Belafonte's ground-breaking concerts at Carnegie Hall. A double-album of the event, released in 1960, received a Grammy award. Makeba has continued to periodically renew her collaboration with Belafonte, releasing an album in 1972 titled Miriam Makeba and Harry Belafonte. Makeba then made a special guest appearance at the Harry Belafonte Tribute at Madison Square Garden in 1997.

Makeba's successes as a vocalist were also balanced by her outspoken views about apartheid. In 1960, the government of South Africa revoked her citizenship. For the next thirty years, she was forced to be a 'citizen of the world.' Makeba received the Dag Hammerskjold Peace Prize in 1968. After marrying radical Black activist Stokely Carmichael, many of her concerts were cancelled, and her recording contract with RCA was dropped, resulting in even more problems for the artist. She eventually relocated to Guinea at the invitation of president Sekou Toure and agreed to serve as Guinea's delegate to the United Nations. In 1964 and 1975, she addressed the General Assembly of the United Nations on the horrors of apartheid.

Makeba remained active as a musician over the years. In 1975, she recorded an album, A Promise, with Joe Sample, Stix Hooper, Arthur Adams, and David T. Walker of the Crusaders. Makeba joined Paul Simon and South Africa 's Ladysmith Black Mambazo during their world-wide Graceland tour in 1987 and 1988. Two years later, she joined Odetta and Nina Simone for the One Nation tour.

Makeba published her autobiography, Miriam: My Story, in English in 1988 and had it subsequently translated and published in German, French, Dutch, Italian, Spanish and Japanese. Following Nelson Mandela's release from prison, Makeba returned to South Africa in December 1990. She performed her first concert in her homeland in thirty years in April 1991. Makeba appeared in South African award-winning musical, Sarafina, in the role of Sarafina's mother in 1992. Two years later, she reunited with her first husband, trumpeter Hugh Masekela, for the Tour Of Hope tour. In 1995, Makeba formed a charity organization to raise funds to help protect the women of South Africa. The same year, she performed at the Vatican's Nevi Hall during a world-wide broadcasted show, Christmas In The Vatican. Makeba's first studio album in a decade, Homeland, was released in 2000. ~ Craig Harris, All Music Guide

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/10/2008 09:07PM by petersz.

Re: The Silence of Mariam Makeba
Posted by: lifeisbutadream (86.108.91.---)
Date: November 11, 2008 04:37PM

Very touching, Peter. I hear you loud. I like the way absence simply piles up here:

Another ordinary day in my life.
Exuberant pulse
Of our future…now a note is missing
From morning air.


Re: The Silence of Mariam Makeba
Posted by: Steevo (69.19.14.---)
Date: November 11, 2008 09:53PM

Great tribute piece. I love the plea to the mothers because.... Hell I don't know why. I just like it.

I just returned from a conference where Maladoma Some (West African) gave some gereat insight into the importance of ritual and music in the many cultures of the continent. That's why this caught my attention.


Re: The Silence of Mariam Makeba
Posted by: les712 (66.189.172.---)
Date: November 12, 2008 02:18AM

Nicely done, Peter.


p.s. At the following link, Peter, you will find all the "Lyric Centrals" up to #13: []

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 11/12/2008 03:22AM by les712.

Re: The Silence of Mariam Makeba
Posted by: petersz (69.181.22.---)
Date: November 12, 2008 03:33AM

Thanks for stopping by, Steevo, and thanks for the links, Les.



Re: The Silence of Mariam Makeba
Posted by: les712 (68.116.90.---)
Date: June 18, 2010 11:42PM

All the commotion about South Africa recently, made me recall this post.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/18/2010 11:42PM by les712.

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