Where were you in 1972? If you were listening to the radio, you would surely have heard "Pata Pata", the bouncy number which carried Miriam Makeba's voice all round the world. So it's great to have it back as the title track of Pata Pata
, plus 10 other tracks from the original album.
These are triumphant times for the first lady of African music: she recently celebrated her 70th birthday by accepting the Swedish prize whose previous recipients have included Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen and Stevie Wonder. She spent 30 years in exile from her native land, and was re-exiled from the US during that time for her tireless campaign for racial equality; she has survived car crashes, a plane crash, cancer, four divorces and the deaths of her only child and grandson.
But since her return in 1990 her good works have redoubled; they include South African charities for Aids awareness and women's causes. Her art was always sweet and simple, no matter how urgent and combative her message: this CD has great charm. Most of the tracks are accompanied by a mélange of guitars and African instruments, over which her voice rides clear and clean, with just the occasional hint of vibrato. There are Cuban moments and pure Kwazulu moments, but it all hangs together in a seamlessly beguiling whole. --Michael Church
(WRANER/REPRISE) 12 tracks