We Built This City On…

8 10 2009

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It is a little known fact that the ancient Nabataeans were early adaptors of new sound recording technologies.  They began with cylinder discs (called columns) but found them awkward.  Later, around 70 BC, they sliced the cylinders into wafer thin segments, well thin for the time, and began recording on the flat side.  Thwarted by a region-only spindle size and fierce competition from the Hittites (every tune a Hitt!) and the Phoenicians (the original Purple Reign), they were soon forced out of the market.  Not to mention the freight, as these babies were 33 1/3 tons.  Alas, here at Petra, unshipped goods, in a format that defies migration, linger still.

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But, I may be mistaken about all this.  What I do know is that the walk through Al-Siq, and the first glimpse of the Treasury through the slice of rock, luminous pink curtained black, is a remarkable thing and well worth a trip through time.

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All I can think of is our last administration, and the inability to tackle any problem successfully, and how everything was ‘hard work”   Please.  Have a look at Ajunta, Machu Picchu, Angkor Wat, Petra.  Imagine signing off on 40 years to carve a rock facade and we can’t rebuild twenty rows of wooden shotgun houses in New Orleans!   Disgrace, I mean I digress.

I’ve spent the last 10 days here in Amman Jordan setting up the first stages of Muslim World Music Day (formerly the Muslim Music Crash Course) at Columbia Universities Middle Eastern Research Center.  It has been a whirlwind of meetings, show-and tells, planning, report writing and visits to archives, schools, libraries, embassies, musicians and government offices.  The project director handling things from Jordan – the man with ALL the contacts – is Kareem Talhouni.

If you don’t know, Muslim World Music Day is an attempt to catalog all the relevant recording in the world, in one day, and surround this core database with informational and entertaining content, online.  Read all about it at our pre-website blog  www.arcmmcc.wordpress.com

Dr+cassettes_smlOne nice find was a thesis, written in English, but only published in Arabic, on Jordanian music, written by Prof Abdel Hamid Hamam the Dean of the College of Art and Design, University of Jordan.  Written in Wales no less.  We will excerpt it in both languages on the Muslim World Music Day website.

Equally amazing is the work of Dr. Mohammed Taha Ghawanmeh , Music professor and Dean of fine art @ Yarmouk University, Irbid, Jordan.  Dr Ghawanmeh has spent his life collecting the traditional music of Jordan, and the result is a 500 cassette edition, each cassette one hour long and accompanied by a booklet of lyrics, notation and explanatory notes.  This is hard work at its very best.  Only two sets of the series now exist and I can only hope that some scholars or universities that read this could find this work useful for their institution of scholarly pursuits.   Here’s the contact for the fine arts dept :  fac_finart@yu.edu.jo and Arabic speakers can call +962 79 574 3535

By the way on the road to Petra I has coffee, and after a 800 step climb rested in a rock solid tea room overlooking the rose red monestary.  Life used to be so hard…

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My favorite reaction to the project was from a woman at the Center who wanted to know if every whore and slut who parades nearly naked on the TV, shaking her stuff, and singing in Arabic would be a part of the website.  She then showed me a few of Nancy Ajram’s videos (mild by my standards) and then exclaimed with a smile, “This is my favorite!”  And shaking her shoulders, “I love to dance to this one.”   Hey, Nancy was on Ophra last month!

With downloading so prevalent and pirating commonplace, music shops have all but disappeared in Jordan – one small chain, The Music Box, holding its own.  Plus the visual versions are very seductive as DVDs and music on TV predominates.  Live music is scarce in formal performance.  This photo is from a concert at Al Hussein Cultural Center taken by Robert Reeder, an ex pro photographer visiting Amman.   Musically, it was the kanoon playing of Tewfik Mirkham (sp?) that was luminous.

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My endless search for actual music collections was finally rewarded on the last day of my visit to Amman with a trip to The Jordan Radio and Television Corp.   Our animated host, Ms. Hala Zureiqat, Director of Jordan Television, listened to our pitch, conferred with her Director, then nearly shouted, “We’re in!”   What has made this trip rewarding is that so many people in the region are willing to support the Muslim World Music Day –  a new idea, on first hearing – so enthusiastically.

In one of the rehearsal rooms we were treated to a short concert by 73 year old singer Mohammed Wahib – sweet, toothless and energetic.  The song is, “Slaima.”

The station has saved nearly its entire history since the 60s on reel to reel tape, and it is mostly catalogued.  The recent past is digitized and can be called up inhouse, electronically.   But for me the real fun was to finally see some real vinyl – 45s, LPs and a full shelf unit of approx 4,300 seventy-eights.

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We will work to make sure this material is cataloged for the project and who knows what trash or treasures we will unearth.  Maybe an early Nabataean disc?





Board Member Ellie Greenwich Dies

26 08 2009

Elle copy

A founding member of the ARChive’s Board of Advisors died today.  With sadness we report the death of songwriter Ellie Greenwich.  Pretty much a recluse for many years now, her great music lives on through classic songs like  “And Then He Kissed Me,” “Da Doo Ron Ron,” “Chapel of Love,” “River Deep, Mountain High” and “Be My Baby.”   She also sang some perfectly silly ones like “Niki Hoeky.”  Her version of this is rockin’.  Do Wah Diddy, she will be missed.

…above LP from the ARC collection :   Ellie Greenwich Composes Produces and Sings. (United Artists, USA, UAS 6648, LP, 1968).





Our Times has come…

8 05 2009

Today ARC was featured in the NY Times, in the NY/Regional section, with a nice story by David Gonzales.  There were two electronic versions, and these featured cover art and sound files – you can go to  here 2 hear.

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I was asked to dig through the ARChive for some unusual things I liked, and ignored new things that the Times might have reviewed.  But they didn’t publish my comments or the discography to the story,  so here goes…

Anna Domino
“Land Of My Dreams” on East and West (Les Disques Du Crepuscule, Belgium, TWI 187, 12″, vinyl disc Ep, 1984)    This is an early effort.  Equally swell is Anna’s take on the American folksong via her latest band, Snakefarm.

Big Miller
“Did You Ever Hear the Blues?”  on Did You Ever Hear the Blues?”, (United Artists, USA, YAS 6047, 12″, 33.3, LP, 1959)  Big = Clarence Horatio, a Kansas City Blues shouter, doing a pile of songs penned by Langston Hughes.

Twilight Zoners
“Twister” on  Zerø Zerø Øne  (ZIP (Zoners In Plastic) Records, UK, 7” 45 rpm, Ep, 1979).
We have 12 different handmade Xerox covers of this DIY crackly UK single out of the 45 different ones crafted, the whole run was 1000 copies.  Vocals in the background by my pal, Tilly Tilson.  Gordon/Glen is still rockin’ here.

Admiral Dele Abiodun And His Top Hitters
(Olumo, Nigeria, Orps 79, 12″, vinyl disc Lp, 1978)
Out on a limb here, but this is the greatest side of Juju music ever recorded. And it is the only one I know of that about ¾ through shifts into a Fela-esque Afrobeat layered in psychedelic guitar ecstasy.  Here’s that bit of this 19 min. masterpiece.

Avengers
“The American in Me” on the Avengers EP (White Noise, USA, WNR 002, 12″, 45 rpm vinyl disc, Ep, 1979)  Raw SF punk + vocalist Penelope Houston.    Only a snippet here as we had no rights.

Bing Crosby, Louis Armstrong, Rosemary Clooney and the Hi-Lo’s
“Music to Shave By”   (Auravision/Columbia, USA, 6” paper/flexidisk, 33rpm,  196?)
Back of the disc says “ This is the first Hi-Fi recording ever to be included in a national magazine,” probably Life.   This is cloying music at the service of industry, and Bing, by the way, once started a paper ad record business.   There’s a great webthing on paper + flexies, hosted by WFMU, @  http://www.wfmu.org/MACrec/

The Buddah Box
I found this in a religious store, between a Buddhist and Hindu temple in the Little India section of Singapore.  Chips deliver a lively series of religious chants and songs, in a variety of languages, in endless repetition –  change partners by slapping a top button.  Works on batteries too, as you never know when your chant challenged.

Los York’s
“No Puedo Amar” on El Viaje: 1966-1974  (Munster, Spain, MR 285, 12″, vinyl disc-2Lp, 2008)
Out of Lima Peru, this quintet personified the organ loving Latino rock, when you could actually hear the electronic click triggering the sound.  Wonderful stuff, called garage now, part of the lovingly resurrected South and Central American obscurities by Spain based Munster Records.





Dave Clark – Can’t Pay, Won’t Pay

10 03 2009

We know the world has lost its moral compass when Gandhi chotskis hit the auction block.  Further proof is when former rockstars ask for a favor, on a quick turnaround, and than stiff you.  No we won’t go into ALL the folks who don’t pay their bills, knowing that ARC is too small to ever sue anyone, but here’s the latest.   We were asked to send a scan the cover of “Coast to Coast” (Epic, USA, LN 24128, Mono, [1965]) by Dave’s office.  We did it in a few hours, sent the scan, sent the bill.  A month later, nada.  We recontact and they say they sent by wire transfer.  We send them a copy of our banks transactions, proving it was never received.  They say well, it’s OUR problem.

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So Dave.  I know times are tough.  You may not have the $100.  Sad.  Buy hey, when you wanted the scan we did it quickly, expertly, on faith.  That was our responsibility.  Your responsibility is to pay.  So despite the brazen stance in front of the US map, Dave Clark is no friend of America!  From the Stamp Act to the Dave Clark unpaid bill, it’s the same old story…





Strategien Gegen Architekturen

4 03 2009

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Recently the ARSC list posted info on the problems with the increasing number of unstable modern concrete structures, and how safety concerns were rumored (not true) to have led to the relocation, and unavailability, of the great pop music collection at Bowling Green State University.  But an archive in Cologne did collapse.  The heading for this info was, cleverly, Einstürzende Neubauten.

So just for fun, here is our hard-to-catalog list of Einstürzende Neubauten recordings @ ARC, alpha by title, not including compilations, white label promos or the uncatalogued 30plus twelve-inch singles and 11 seven-inch singles in the collection.   As point of reference ARC has catalogued 32 more EN recordings than the Library of Congress and 27 more than Bowling Green.

Einsturzende Neubauten
• 80-83 Strategien Gegen Architekturen  (Homestead, USA, HMS 063, 12″, vinyl disc-Lp, 1986)
• 80-83 Strategien Gegen Architekturen  (Mute, UK, STUMM 14, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, 1983)
• 1991 – 2001  (Mute Corporation, 9165-2, 5″, compact disc-2CD, 2002)
• 1/2 Mensch  (Rough Trade, USA, BIZZ/ART 1, 12″, vinyl disc-Lp, 1985)
• 2 x 4  (Roir, 133, 5″, compact disc, -)
• 2 x 4  (Roir, 8235, 5″, compact disc, 1997)
• Die Hamletmaschine  (Ego, Germany, 111, 5″, compact disc, -)
• Drawings of O.T.  (PVC, USA, PVC 9902, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, 1984)
• Ein Dokument 1985 In Tokio (Inclues a Booklet)  ( cassette –)
• Faustmusik  (Mute, 9021-2, 5″, Compact Disc, 1996)
• Faustmusik  (Ego, Germany, EGO 501, 5″, Compact Disc, 1996)
• Feurio!  (Rough Trade, Germany, RTD 065 T, 12″, vinyl disc-Single or Ep, 1990)
• Five On The Open-Ended Richter-Scale  (Thirsty Ear, THI 57016, 5″, compact disc, 1995)
• Fuenf Auf der Nach Oben Offenen Richterskala  (Relativity, USA, 88561-8188-1, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, 1987)
• Haus Der Luege  (Thirsty Ear, 57017, 5″, compact disc, 1995)
• Haus der Luege  (Rough Trade, USA, ROUGH 71 US, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, 1989)
• Haus Der Lüge  (Rough Trade, USA, RoughUS 71CD, 5″, compact disc, n.d.)
• Interim  (Mute, 61509-2, 5″, Compact Disc, 1997)
• Kalte Sterne – Early Recordings  (Mute, UK, CDStumm137, 5″, compact disc, 2004)
• Kalte Sterne – Early Recordings  (Mute, 9249-2, 5″, Compact Disc, 2004)
• Kollaps  (Zickzack, Germany, ZZ 65, 12″, vinyl disc-Lp, n.d.)
• Live At Club Chicago (Advance CASS)  (, , 12″, cassette , –)
• Perpetuum Mobile  (Mute, 9237-2, 5″, Compact Disc, 2004)
• Perpetuum Mobile  (Mute, UK, CDStumm221, 5″, compact disc, 2004)
• Schwarz (12″, vinyl disc-Single or Ep, –)
• Silence Is Sexy  (Mute, 9132, 5″, compact disc-2CD, 2000)
• Strategies Against Architecture II  (Mute, 61100-2, 5″, compact disc-2CD, 1991)
• Strategies Aganist Architecture  (Mute/Elektra, 61677-2, 5″, compact disc, 1994)
• Tabula Rasa  (Beton, 106, 5″, compact disc, 1993)
• Tabula Rasa  (Mute, 61458-2, 5″, Compact Disc, 1993)
• Tabula Rasa  (Mute, UK, CDStumm156 , 5″, compact disc-2CD, 2004)
• “Thirsty Animal” / “Durstiges Tier”  (Ripoff [?], Germany, n.n., 12″, , 1982) w/ Lydia Lunch.
• “Yu-Gung” // “Seele brennt” / “Sand”  (Some Bizzare, UK, BART 12, 12″, vinyl disc-Single or Ep, 1985)
• Zeichnungen des Patienten O.T.  (Some Bizzare, UK, SBVART 2, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, 1983)





We gave him the boot, now send him your shoes!

17 12 2008

My Fellow Americans…

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I think everyone should send an old pair of shoes to Bush to let him know what we think of him – with the wish that they be donated to the poor – signed Muntadhar al-Zeidi.   Wrap in newspaper.  Add a label.  post…

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The image of 100,000 shoes piled outside the White House is a good parting shot.  Pass it on…

attn: George W. Bush

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Searching the ARC database here’s a portion of our “shoes aren’t bombs” memorial discography:

Just Because You Wear Big Shoes – The Jody Grind
Cold, Cold Shoes – Fleshtones
The Steel Shoe – Risers
Hillbilly Shoes – Montgomery Gentry
Dead Man’s Shoes – Caberet Voltaire-
Take Your Shoes Off – Midnight Star
Get Your Feet Out of My Shoes – The Boothill Foot-Tappers
Old Brown Shoe – The Beatles
Brown Shoes Don’t Make It – Mothers of Invention
Worried Shoes – Daniel Johnston
I’ve Got Sand In My Shoes – The Drifters
Chattanooga Shoe Shine Boy – Red Foley
Blue Suede Shoes – Carl Perkins
Red Shoes by the Drugstore – Tom Waits
Walk In My Shoes – Hazel Dean
The Shoemaker – Mad Daddys
No Shoes – John Lee Hooker
Red Shoes by the Drugstore- Tom Waits
Wigs, Blues and High Heeled Shoes – Burning Tree
If the Shoe Fits – Leon Russell
My Father’s Shoes – Leon Russell
Shoe Shoe Shine – Centerfold
Layin’ Down My Shoes And Clothes – The Johnny Shines Blues Band
The Story Of Someones Shoe – The Style Council
Travelin’ Shoes – Elvin Bishop
Blue Shoes Stepping – The Bible
Walk a Mile in My Shoes – Harry Belafonte and Lena Horne
Shoe Broke My Heart – Souled American
Hair Shoes – Pale Saints
In Their Shoes – The Boston Tea Party
Leather On My Shoes – Chris De Burgh
Travellin’ Shoes – Bill Wood
Muddy Shoes – Elmore James
Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes – Paul Simon
Welfare Shoes – Dancing Hoods
Shoes – Brooke Benton
Wing Tip Shoes – Henry Lee Summer
Shoeshiner’s Drag – Lionel Hampton
Nobody Can Fill Your Shoes – Conway Twitty
Soul Shoes – Graham Parker
My Little Suede Shoes – Sadik Hakim
Shoe Shine Man – Jimmy Davis & Junction
Red Goose Shoes – Sharky’s Machine
Who Will Shoe Your Pretty Little Foot – Von Dexter Orchestra
Shoemaker’s Holiday – Jimmie Lunceford and His Orchestra
Mama Get Down Those Rock & Roll Shoes – NRBQ
(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes – Elvis Costello
Standin in My Shoes – Leo Kottke
Step In My Shoes – Ruby Turner
Shoeshine Boy – The Humblebums
The Captain’s Fat Theresa Shoes – GTO’s
Put On Your Dancing Shoes – Steve Winwood
Soft Shoe Booty – King Sun
Rock and Roll Shoes – Ray Charles
Italian Shoes – Dynatones
House Shoes – Bar-Kays
Turtle Shoes – Bobby McFerrin
Walkin’ Shoes – Tora Tora
My Father’s Shoes – Cliff Eberhardt
Country Shoes – Alexis Korner & Snape
Shoes – Dick Curless
Those Shoes – Eagles
Wooden Shoes – Texas Instruments
She’s Got Another Pair of Shoes – Alan Price
Hole in the Shoe Blues – Thomas Jefferson Kaye
2000 Shoes – Big Audio Dynamite
Shoes – Bobby Bland
Sailin’ Shoes – Littlr Feet
Happy Shoes – Joe Beck
Shiny Black FBI Shoes – A Tent
Goody Two Shoes – Adam and the Ants
Breakin’ in a Pair of Shoes – Manny Albam and His Orchestra
Brown Shoes – Karen Alexander
Wedding Shoes – Alistair Anderson with Fennig’s All-Star String Band
Sand in My Shoes – Toni Arden
A Shine on Your Shoes – Fred Astaire
Stepping Out of These Shoes – Mick Audsley
Tied Shoes – Auracle
Take Your Shoes Off Baby – Gene Austin
Stranger in Blue Suede Shoes – Kevin Ayers
Dancing Shoes – Kathi Baker
(I Don’t Want To) Hang Up My Rock and Roll Shoes – The Band
Mercury Shoes – Jesse Barish
I Wont’ Step on Your Shoes – Barnaby Bye
Rockin’ Shoes – Paul Barrère
Boogie Woogie Dancing Shoes – Claudja Barry
Old Shoe – Joe Bauer
Soul Shoes – Graham Parker
Who’s Going to Shoe Your Pretty Little Foot – Allan Block & Ralph Lee Smith
My Shoes – Hippos Blue
New Shoes – Pearl Bailey
Sweet Goody Two Shoes – The Blend
Rock In My Shoe – Hank Williams, Jr.
Two Shoes – Carlos Núñez
Jungle Shoes – Bernie Krause
In His Shoes – The Screaming Tribesmen
When My Shoes Are Loose – Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer
Boogie Shoes – KC & the Sunshine Band
Paper In My Shoe – BooZoo Chavis
Sensible Shoes – David Lee Roth
Water In And Out of my Shoe – Men & Volts
Shoe Salesman – Alice Cooper
Paper Shoes – Yoko Ono
Radio Shoes – Bruce Cockburn
Hair Shoes – Pale Saints
…and over 400 more!





Miriam Makeba

10 11 2008

It was sad to learn today that Miraim Makeba died.  ARC keeps running bios on many artists, so here is our last entry we did on Ms. Makbe, from 1999.  We’ll update again soon and send along.

Miriam Makeba    South Africa
nee : Zenzile. Zenzi, Mazi, Mama Africa, Empress of African Music, Empress of African Song,
b : Johannesburg, March 4, 1932

If ever there was a Grande Dame of World music, it would have to be Miriam Makeba.  Beyond the long career, crossover success, and international appeal is the dignified image, a symbol and a person fighting for women’s rights, human rights, and racial equality.  Having fled South Africa for freedom in America, she was soon forced to leave America as that same freedom was denied her.  Makeba never claimed to be anything other than a musician, and she never shied away from opportunities to speak out.  A normal amount of mistakes and too many hardships chipped away at the icon, while the strength and dignity and the music remained.

Like so many artists Makeba first sang on stage with her church choir and at school, Kilmerton Training Institute sponsored by the Methodists in Pretoria.  Late in her career Makeba revealed that her love of singing began with the great many spirit songs she learned from her mother, an isangoma or traditional healer.  Bouncing between her mother’s and grandmother’s household, the teenager found work as a nanny and maid. It was not much of a decision to become a musician.  Makeba was cleaning taxis for her nephew who also performed in an amateur group, the Cuban Brothers.  He asked her to sing and she accepted.

The Cuban Brothers were neither Cuban nor brothers, but a small combo with Makeba fronting a male vocal quartet.  One evening Nathan Mdlhedlhe (Mdledle) of the Manhattan Brothers caught the act and asked Makeba to audition.  The Manhattan Brothers (Black Manhattan Brothers: Nathan, Joe Mogotsi, Rufus Khoza, Ronnie Majola) were South Africa’s number one close harmony group who utilized a variety of top musicians in their stage shows.  Makeba was hired and, for stage purposes, uses the name; “Miriam,” for the first time.  For Makeba this was a tremendous opportunity – a much needed good turn for a 20 year old with a lifetime of experiences, including the death of her father, breast cancer, the birth of her first child and abandonment by her husband.

The Manhattan Brothers, who began as a mbube acappela group, rose to fame in the tradition of the quartets that developed out of American jazz and swing orchestras, mimicking the style of the Mills Brothers and the Ink Spots.  For the most part Makeba covered jazz and pop standards, listing Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughn as her favorite performers.  But the Manhattans retained an interest in the music performed in the sheebens and by mine workers drawn from many ethnic groups throughout Southern Africa.   When Makeba came aboard they were once again performing local music in local languages, as well as Western standards in the Xhosa and Zulu languages.  Touring widely with the Manhattans Miriam encountered other African musical styles from Rhodesia (later Zimbabwe) and the Congo region.  One story relates that the Manhattans encouraged Makeba to perform the traditional gumboot dance, possibly the first woman to do so onstage.  When she began Miriam was billed as, “our own nut brown baby”  Soon she was known as, “the Nightingale.”  When Miriam’s picture graced Coca-Cola billboards and magazine ads, everyone in South Africa knew Miriam Makeba name.

Makeba recorded many 78s with the Manhattan Brothers for Gallotone. along with her first headlining effort, “Lakutshona Ilanga.”  This Xhosa song of lost-love became a hit, and to reach an American audience an English language version, “You Tell Such Lovely Lies,” with lesser lyrics was penned.  Even though it was illegal for a Black to sing in English, Makeba recorded this version at the insistence of her record company.  Gaining experience and skills, and a new found interest in local music, in 1956 Makeba released her first composition, “Pata, Pata” (Touch-Touch).  The song was also a hit and part of a major dance craze in South Africa.

While loosely still with the Manhattans, around 1956 Makeba sang with a similar style all-female ensemble put together by Gallotone called the Skylarks.  The group featured three other remarkable voices, Abigail Kubheka (Kebeka) and the sisters, Mary and Mamie Rabotapa.  She also began extensive touring with promoter Alf Herberts’, ‘African Jazz and Variety’.  This was a very popular review, with Makeba, her idol and chief singing rival in the day, Dorothy Masuka, and two future husbands, Sonny Pillay and Hugh Masekela.  In general the female singers still mimicked American pop-jazz vocalists like Ella Fitzgerald.  This was the sophisticated direction Makeba was taking.  Later she would offer a prime example when she scat sang Ellington’s, “Rockin’ in Rhythm.” (on the collection, Something New From Africa , 1959).

Makeba was chosen to play Joyce, the female lead in the musical, “King Kong.”  This 1959 play drew from the cream of Jo’berg’s musical talent, including Kippie Moeketsi, Jonas Gwangwa, Dollar Brand, and Hugh Masekela.  Playing the lead of heavyweight boxer Ezekeil “King Kong” Dhlamini, was the man who gave Miriam her first big break, the Manhattan Brothers’ Nathan Mdlhedlhe.  Billed as a ‘Jazz Opera’, the play was an American style musical with bits of kwela pennywhistle street music.  Staged in a university auditorium to allow for a mixed race audience, this rise and fall saga was hugely successful, adding luster to Makeba’s star.

The series of events that led to Makeba’s exile started with her cameo in Lionel Rogosin’s documentary film, “Come Back Africa.”   Taking it’s title from the ANC anthem, the story line follows migrant worker’s life in Sophiatown under minority rule.  Here Miriam’s role was essentially playing herself, offering two numbers in a nightclub scene.  Rogosin worked tirelessly to promote Makeba’s talent and showed the clip of her singing to any and all.  He arranged to bring Makeba to the film’s premier at the Venice Film Festival in 1959, where it won the Critic’s Prize.  He also arranged an appearance on American TV and at a nightclub in New York City.  After the festival Makeba went to London where her newest fan, American singer Harry Belafonte, helped her secure an elusive US visa.  The White South African government saw Makeba’s success and growing international soapbox as a serious threat.  Her passport was revoked, essentially preventing her from returning home to her family.  At the end of 1959 Miriam Makeba went to America.
Both her cause and her music gained Makeba powerful allies in the US entertainment industry, primarily Belafonte and TV host Steve Allen.  Her performance on Allen’s prime time Sunday evening show drew an audience in the millions.  It was television that made Makeba a star in America.  In the golden age of the variety show, the unusual “Click Song” (“Qogothwane”) found a ready TV audience.  The clicking sound, Ngongongtwang, is basic to the Xhosa (Xosa, Zhosa) language, made with a percussive flick of the tongue off the roof of mouth.  Seeking to make it understandable to the average American, Time Magazine likened it to, “the popping of champagne corks.”  Makeba became so identified with the sound that reviews now called her, “The click-click girl.”

It didn’t hurt that Makeba was photogenic, ‘exotic’ and elegant.  So were her fans.  Sitting in the first row, at her first live show at the Village Vanguard were Sidney Poitier, Duke Ellington, Nina Simone and Miles Davis.  Belefonte, who was pretty much managing her career, even commissioned her gowns – Kennedy era silk sheaths, with a shawl covering one shoulder – only hinting at something, somewhat, African.  The repertoire underwent a similar change.  Gone were the jazz numbers, R&B leanings and the wider range of African song.  Makeba’s snappy material, now concentrated on updated Zulu and Xhosa traditional music as well as her own composed songs.  It was a sound that fit right in with the folk revival movement that American music was enjoying. From the very first LP Makeba was clearly being up-marketed as a folksinger for a mixed-drink crowd.

Albums were developed with trademark consistency; many South African traditional numbers, a song from another African country, a calypso or two, a blues, a romantic European number, something from Brazil and almost always a lullaby.  She also attracted a loyal cast of savvy sidemen and producers/orchestrators.  Sivuca, the Brazilian guitarist and accordionist, played regularly with Makeba.  Masekela was another frequent collaborator.  Later they would marry for a while, but they never stopped working together.  Belafonte, who seemed to find his soul mate in Makeba, performed live and recorded with her, as well as orchestrating and producing her early albums.  For nearly ten years every summer they went out on tour together.    A press agent’s dream came true when Makeba was asked to perform at President Kennedy’s birthday party at Madison Square Garden in 1962.  Unfortunately all the talent in the world couldn’t compete with that other MM, sewn into her dress and oozing, “Happy Birthday Mr. President.”

Despite her shyness offstage, Makeba’s high profile made her an ideal spokesperson for the situation in South Africa.  In 1963 she testified at the United Nations Committee Against Apartheid.  She described spectacular and ordinary indignities, including the Sharpsville Massacre (1960), police brutality, mass arrests and the limiting and humiliating pass laws.  The government of South Africa responded by banning her records from the radio and in the shops.   But in the States Makeba went from success to success.  In 1963 she gave a solo concert at New York’s Carnegie Hall amid a hectic performing schedule.  Even more widespread success came with the 1967 release of a rehashed, “Pata Pata.”   With RCA behind the single the song made the American charts and became a hit worldwide.

As meteoric as her rise was her fall in the American entertainment industry.  In 1968, Miriam divorced Masekela to marry radical black activist Kwame Toure (Stokely Carmichael).  All of a sudden a person applauded for fighting against apartheid in South Africa was considered a radical for associating with those suggesting a similar struggle needed to be waged in America.  Recording opportunities vanished and concerts were cancelled.  Reprise illegally cancelled her recording contract.  The FBI followed her everywhere.  While not officially censored by the government, America treated her exactly like South Africa and essentially took away her right to work.  At the invitation of Guinean president Sekou Toure, in 1968 Miriam and her husband moved to Africa, remaining in Guinea for nine years.  Based in Conakry she began touring again, mostly Europe, South America and Africa.  She also became a Guinean delegate to the United Nations where she twice addressed the General Assembly, speaking out against the evils of apartheid.

Makeba continued to tour widely, lecture and record in Europe as her American albums slowly went out of print.  About her only US concert was in 1975 at Lincoln Center.  At Nigeria’s FESTAC festival in 1977 she triumphed as South Africa’s unofficial representative.  Closer to home in 1982 she joined up with Hugh Masekela for a huge concert in Botswana , with thousand of South Africans crossing the border to attend.  In 1986 her continued push for racial equality earned her the Dag Hammerskjold Peace Prize.  The following year Makeba was profiled in the Faith Isikapere documentary film, Exiles.

In 1987 Makeba made the controversial decision to join Paul Simon’s “Graceland” tour.  The African National Congress had spent years trying to enforce a boycott of South Africa, endorsed by the UN, until apartheid came to an end.  A cultural boycott was an important element, as entertainers garnered inordinate press.  The Graceland album was partially recorded in South Africa and therefore denounced by the ANC.  Makeba had often spoken in support of the boycott.  When Aretha Franklin was considering performing in South Africa in 1971, Miriam was outspoken; “No artist can go to South Africa without getting dirty herself.  …you can’t roll around with pigs and not end up covered with mud.”

Yet she joined the Graceland team stating that the success of the live shows would accelerate change.  The results were that many regarded her participation as traitorous and for the first time in years she was being offered work in America.  Sangoma, became Makeba’s first album released in the US since 1967, and her first album ever to feature only South African material.  For those who thought the fire had died, while promoting the album there was an offhand, ever-present condemnation; “You shoot a bird in South Africa, you go to jail.  You shoot a Nigger, it’s all-right!”

In 1988 her autobiography, Makeba, My Story, was published in six languages, and Miriam performed at a massive Free Nelson Mandella concert before 40,000 in Bologna, Italy.  In a bit of genius Diva programming in 1990 Makeba toured with Nina Simone and Odetta.  At the end of the year Makeba returned home, the following April performing her first concert in South Africa in 30 years.  Also in 1991 Makeba joined Dizzy Gillespie’s “Live The Future!” world tour.  Acting again after so many years, in 1992 Miriam appeared as the title characters’ mother in the film of the musical, Sarafina.

1995 one of her busiest years ever as she toured the world to sold out concerts.  Highlights included the filming of the TV special, “Christmas In The Vatican,” a concert in Beijing with Dee Dee Bridgewater and Marianne Faithful, the filming of a biographic documentary for London’s The South Bank Show directed by Melissa Raimes, becoming a Great Grand-mother, and at the end of the year a return to South Africa to perform for now President Mandella.

Makeba has received a staggering amount of awards, prizes, testimonials and honorary degrees to recognize her long commitment to women’s rights, political freedom and ending Apartheid.  If your in Berkeley June 16 is Miriam Makeba Day, while the date is March 22 in Tusagee, Alabama.  There’s even a street named after her in Guadeloupe. She’s also been sued over the authorship of her hit, ‘Malaika,’ in East Africa, and survived one plane and eleven car crashes.  Add to this her bouts with cancer, five marriages and the death of her beloved and troubled only daughter.  At times she wrote that she was close to madness, and was convinced that mischievous amadlozi spirits had taken hold of her.  After 50 years the spirits, apartheid and all the controversy have now receded.  The music is once again stage front, Makeba still a striking performer in a role that has run from gamine to grandmother of African song.

• A Promise  (Sonodisc, CD 5506, CD, 1986).  Featuring Joe Sample, Stix Hooper, Arthur Adams, and David T. Walker From The Crusaders.
• Africa  (Novus / BMG, 3155-2-N, CD,1991).
• African Convention  (Esperance/Sono, Espcd1907, ).
• All About Miriam  (Mercury, MG 21095, LP, no year listed [1967]).
• Appel à l’Afrique  (Syliphone, Guinea, LP ).
• The Best Of Miriam Makeba  (RCA, LSP-3982, LP, 1968).
• The Click Song   (Sonodisc, Cd 5564, CD) Comme
• Une Symphonie D’amour  (Sonodisc, France, Cd7501, CD ).
• Country Girl  (Sonodisc, France, Cd6518, CD
• Eyes on Tomorrow  (Polydor, 849 313-2, CD, 1991) Featuring Dizzy Gillespie, Nina Simone, Hugh Masekela And Nelson Lee
• Forbidden Games  (RCA, LP, 1962).
• Greatest Hits  (WEA, LP, 1979).
• I Shall Sing  (Esperance / Sonodisc, Sncd1901, ).
• In Concert  (Reprise, 6253, n.d. [60s]).  Her first LP for Reprise recorded at New York’s Philharmonic Hall, Lincoln Center, with a small combo including Sivuca.
• In Concert  (Peters International, PLD 2082, LP, 1977).  Recorded at the Theatre des Champs-Elysees, Paris.
• Keep Me In Mind  (Reprise, LP, 1967).
• Le Monde De Myriam Makeba  (Sonodisc, France, Cd5563, CD).
• Live At The Champs Elysee  (Sonodisc, France, LP, 1975).
• Live Au Palais Du Peuple De Conakry  (Sonodisc, France, Cd8470, CD).
• Live From Paris and Conakry  (Drg, 5234, May, 1996).
• Live In Conakry  (Sonodlsc, France, LP, 1975).
• Makeba!  (WEA/Reprise, RRC 2213, 1968).
• Makeba Sings!  (RCA, LSP-3321, 1965).  Orchestra here led by Hugh Masekela, who did most of the arranging.  Quite a band here, including Jonas Gwangwa, Kenny Burrel, and Milford Graves
• The Magic Of Makeba  (RCA, LSP-3512, 1966).
• The Magnificent  (Mercury, SR 61082, no year listed).
• The Many Voices Of Miriam Makeba  (Kapp, KS-1274, 1962).
• Miriam Makeba  (RCA, LPM-2267, LP, 1960).  Her first solo US LP, featuring “The Click Song” and “Mbube.”  All the monies earned here went directly to Gallotone to buy out her South African contract!
• Miriam Makeba Goes International   (WEA, LP, 1977).  With Perry Lopez & The Belafonte Singers
• Miriam Makeba Live From My Brothers And Sisters (CCP, LP, 1978).
• Miriam Makeba Live In Africa  (Philips, , 1967).
• Music Volume 6: Miriam Makeba  (RCA, France, NL 42421 A, LP, n.d. [1980s]).
• Pata Pata   (Reprise, R 6274, LP, n.d., [1967] / Sonodisc, France, Cd6508, CD).
• Pata Pata (Esregistrement Public Au Théâtre des Champs-Elysées 30 Septembre 1977)  (Sonodisc, C1005, LP, 1977).
• Rhythm & Song  (Peters International, PLD 2073, 1980
• Sabelani  (CCP, LP, 1979)
• Sangoma  (Warner Bros., 9 25673-1, LP, 1988).  Also avail on CD from Wea / Warner Bros. Hugh Masekela plays trumpet.
• Sing Me A Song  (DRG, 5233, CD, 1993 / Sonodisc, France, Cd12702, CD, 1994).
• Symphony De Mour (Symphony Of Love)  (Sonodisc, France, LP, 1975).
• The Voice of Africa  (RCA Victor, LSP-2845, LP, 1964).  Arranged and conducted by Hugh Masekela.
• The World of Miriam Makeba  (RCA Victor, LPM-2750, LP, 1963).
• Welela  (Mercury, 838 208-2, LP, 1989).
• World Of African Song  (Burns and MacEachern Ltd , 8129-0138-x, LP, 1971).  African Folk Songs

Miriam and Bongi Makeba
• Miriam and Bongi Makeba  (Sonodisc, France, LP, 1975)
• Together  (Syliphone / Sonodisc, France, SYL C 007, n.d.).

Miriam Makeba & the Skylarks.
• Volume 1   (Gallo, TELCD 2303, ).    cuts from the 50s and great.
• Volume 2   (Gallo, TELCD 2315, ).
• The Best Of The Skylarks  (Kaz, UK, Kazcd26, CD).
• Skylarks  (Gallo, South Africa, [LP],1953).    Makeba site
• Skylarks (Re-Issue)  (, , 1992).    Makeba site

Miriam Makeba & Harry Belafonte.
• Belafonte Live At Carnegie Hall (2 Songs)  ((RCA, LP, 1960).
• Songs for Africa  (RCA, RCAL 6015, LP, 1985).  Hugh Masekela plays trumpet
• Together  (Ariola Express (GER), 495 592, 1989).  Notes says an anthology.  Some titles Orch conducted by Hugh Masekela
• Miriam Makeba & Harry Belafonte  (BMG, LP, 1972).








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