Miriam Makeba: Pata Pata (1966)

May 28, 2007


I woke up this morning with Miriam Makeba on my mind. I have no idea why, but I searched for her name, found a website that didn’t load for me, but found a recent (May 4, 2007) article by Karen Lotter (suite 101) which begins:

Miriam Makeba, Mamma Africa, lived in enforced exile for 31 years. Since her return to South Africa in 1990 she has become known as an unstoppable great- grandmother.

YouTube hosts quite a number of her videos including her famous “The Click Song” (1966). Because the video is on a DVD collection that is for sale, I am not allowed to embed any of those videos here. Here is “Oxcam” (1966) that was an out-take from that collection. The song is based on ever-repeating chord progression,

I . . .
V/V . . .
V . IV .
I . . .

which in classical terms, is known as a chaconne. The chaconne (never really called a chaconne then) was extremely popular in the 1960s. Songs like “G-L-O-R-I-A,” “Just Like Me,” “Not Your Stepping Stone,” “Satisfaction,” and “Louie, Louie” were all chaconnes, easy for beginning garage bands to cut their teeth on, and all good dancing songs.

In February 1966 Miriam Makeba performed at the Bern’s Salonger in Stockholm, Sweden. This concert was shown on Swedish television in 1967.

And here is a live performance of her most famous song “Pata Pata” shown on television in San Paulo, Brazil (1968). Electrifying!

We love you Miriam: you are a living legend.

[Photo: Courtesy Heads Up International]

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