|Best Of The Early Years
|At last - a Best of The Early Years of Miriam Makeba.
Miriam Makeba was born on the 4th March 1932, and is a living legend.
She started singing with the Manhattan Brothers, one of the most famous black groups in South Africa in the early to mid 1950’s. " Laku Tshone 'Ilanga," was her debut single in 1953.
When Miriam left The Manhattan Brothers, she set up the group The Skylarks who became one of the most successful African female groups of all time.
She was reunited with the Manhattans with the show business sensation “King Kong” in 1959. It was billed as an “All African Jazz Opera”. Never before had such a fine array of township talent been gathered into one production and its success with both black and white audiences was unprecedented.
Miriam’s life changed when she went to New York, she became the protégé of Harry Belafonte and within weeks of her arrival had appeared on nation-wide prime time TV, started recording an album and went on tour with Harry Belafonte.
"Pata Pata," Makeba’s signature tune become a major hit in the U.S. in 1967 (it was originally recorded in South Africa in 1956).
Following her marriage to Stokely Carmichael, she fled with him after he was charged by the FBI with inciting the riots that broke out in Washington after the assassination of Martin Luther King. They fled to Conakry, Guinea. Here she carried on singing and recording as the request of the President.
This album chronicles these most productive and creative years in Miriam’s career. Several albums have chronicled these individual periods, but never before have they all been brought together on one album - The Best Of The Early Years
|EVERYBODY LOVES Mama Africa, but in recent years Makeba’s albums have been patchy affairs full of over-sentimental ballads. The two dozen selections here take us back to the South Africa of the Fifties before she was forced into exile and when everything she sang still had a freshness and wonder. Many of the songs are biting commentaries on life under apartheid. But there is also a simple joy to the traditional Zulu tunes, and the original 1956 version of Pata Pata knocks spots off the pop version that became an international hit a decade later.
The Times (Rating: 4/5)