Makeba remains the most important female vocalist to emerge out of South Africa although she was exiled and banned from her country for more than 30 years. Mama Africa, as she is often called, helped bring African music to a global audience in the 1960s.
She made her debut with the, already famous in her country, Manhattan Brothers in 1953, a group that blended ragtime, swing and doo-wop with African choral and Zulu harmonies.
By 1956, at the suggestion of her record company and along with her career as a singer for the Manhattan Brothers, she formed the all-female vocal group, the Skylarks. The group's influence was drawn from groups such as the Boswell Sisters and the Andrews Sisters but also from traditional melodies of South Africa. Ragtime, gospel and traditional jazz were fused with local rhythms and vocal harmonies to end up in a series of irresistible recordings.
Her appearance in the American documentary film "Come Back Africa", which had been shot covertly about conditions under apartheid, played a key role in her life. Miriam was invited to attend its premier at the Venice Film Festival in 1959, and she didn't return to South Africa for the next 31 years. The turbulence that her decisions caused to her relationship with the apartheid regime forced her to remain abroad, which resulted in the revocation of her passport, forcing her into exile. The devastating "Miriam's Goodbye to Africa", her last recording with the Skylarks, proved to be prophetic.
Her first solo recordings effortlessly combined folk, pop, and jazz idioms with her South African roots. Her collaboration with Harry Belafonte during the first half of the 60's was a very fruitful period of her career. Their duet (in Swahili) for "My Angel", about a Kenyan man too poor to marry his sweetheart, is a song that really stands out from that period. It is worth pointing out that Belafonte based his famous Banana Boat Song to the traditional song Kutheni Sithandwa, which she had sang while in the Skylarks. Major hits followed with "Click Song" and "Pata Pata". The latter, Makeba's signature tune, entered the top 10 of the US pop charts in 1967; it was the first time an African artist achieved that.
After her marriage with the Black Panther member Stokely Carmichael in 1968, she was evidently blacklisted by promoters in the USA and many of her concerts were cancelled, while her recording contract with RCA was dropped. After the couple's "escape" to Guinea, Miriam's career became more low-key with only sporadic releases throughout the years.
Following Nelson Mandela's release from prison, he, as a personal admirer, asked her to return. Her return in December 1990 followed a triumphant concert in April 1991, her first in her homeland for more than thirty years.
Miriam Makeba passed away on 9 November 2008.
As for the upload, although this collection is considered as one of the most consistent someone can find about her, one has to shuffle a lot to follow the chronological order of the songs. Thus, I have rearranged the sequence of the tracks, based on the year of release of each song.
part1: Makeba as a member of the Manhattan Brothers and the Skylarks
01-Tula Ndivile (with the Manhattan Brothers)
02-Baby Ntsoare (with the Manhattan Brothers)
03-Live Humble (with the Skylarks)
04-Mitshakasi (with the Skylarks)
05-Makoti (with the Skylarks)
06-Sophiatown Is Gone (with the Skylarks)
07-Orlando (with the Skylarks)
08-Uyadela (with the Skylarks)
09-Intandane (with the Skylarks)
10-Kutheni Sithandwa (with the Skylarks)
11-Holilili (with the Skylarks)
12-Uthando Luyaphela (with the Skylarks)
13-Hush (with the Skylarks)
14-Inkomo Zodwa (with the Skylarks)
15-Miriam & Spokes Phata Phata (with the Skylarks)
16-Miriam's Goodbye To Africa (with the Skylarks)
part2: Makeba in her solo career
19-Ntyilo Ntyilo (with Hugh Masekela) (1960)
21-Ngola Kurila (1960)
22-Thanayi (a.k.a. Nomalungelo) (1960)
23-Liwa Wechi (1960)
26-Love Tastes Like Strawberries (1960)
27-In The Land Of The Zulus (Kwazulu) (1965)
28-My Angel (Malaika) (with Harry Belafonte) (1965)
29-Click Song No.1 (1966)
30-Mas Que Nada (1967) (2003 version)
32-Pata Pata (1967)
34-Mama Ndiyalila (1974)
35-Talking & Dialoging (1974)
37-Jolinkomo (live in Paris, 1977)
38-Isangoma (Witch Doctor) (1978)
39-Mbube (The Lion Cries) (1978)
40-Chicken (Kikirikiki) (a.k.a. Sekusile) (1979)
album review link: here
download link (part1 - Makeba as a member of the Manhattan Brothers and the Skylarks): here
download link (part2 - Makeba in her solo career & covers, info etc): here
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