By j. poet | Published September 2021
South Africa’s Miriam Makeba was the first African musician to achieve international fame. Her many hits, and a 1965 Grammy award, gave her a platform to address apartheid and worldwide discrimination against Black people. Although they never met, Somi considers her a mentor and pays tribute to her on this collection. These 17 songs from Makeba’s repertoire have been transformed with more of a jazz feel and the polish of modern production values. “Pata Pata” is the most atypical example. The tune is remade as a sound collage, with samples from Makeba’s various anti-apartheid interviews spliced between with brief snippets of the melody. The rest are more straightforward. “Unhomme,” the a capella track from Makeba’s debut, becomes a slow ballad. “A Piece Of Ground” was originally a folky protest song; Somi gives it a swinging, jazz-funk groove. Collaborators include Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Gregory Porter and Angelique Kidjo.
Zenzile: The Reimagination Of Miriam Makeba: The Reimagination Of Miriam Makeba: Umhome; House Of The Rising Sun; Milele; Hapo Zamani; Love Tastes Like Strawberries; Khuluma; Pata Pata; A Piece Of Ground; Kwedini; Lakutshon’ilanga; Olili; Mbombela; Jike’lemaweni; Nonqonqo; Malaika; Ring Bell, Ring Bell; Mabhongo. [TIME?]
Personnel: Somi, vocals; Herve Samb, guitars; Nate Smith, drums; Michael Olatuja, bass; Keith Witty, bass, percussion; Toru Dodo, piano; Mino Cinelu, percussion; Cobhams Asuquo, organ, piano, percussion; Phindi Wilson, Bongi Duma, Nhalanhla Ngobeni, Vuyo Sotashe, vocal chorus; Lakecia Benjamin, alto saxophone; Jeremy Pelt, trumpet; Myron Walden, soprano and tenor saxophones; Mazz Swift, Juliette Jones, violin; Jessica Troy, viola; Marika Hughes, cello; Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Gregory Porter, Angelique Kidjo, Seun Kuti, Thandsiwa Mazwai, Msaki, Nduduzo Makhathini, vocals.
Ordering Info: salonafricana.com