Home to the Story of South African Jazz
Miriam Makeba started her musical career singing with the Manhattan Brothers. In the mid-fifties the choice of music began to change. Miriam Makeba joined the Skylarks and became hugely popular.
Miriam Makeba is also known as Mama Afrika. She was recorded singing in the opening of the epic film 'Rumble in the Jungle' about Mohammed Ali over George Foreman in the Congo, made by Spike Lee. The film begins with Miriam Makeba's enigmatic, dramatic and rhythmic breathing - 'ha ha haa —shhhha.' Like a snake evoking the passion of the ancestors, like a spiritual guru possessing all with the beauty of her voice - those subtle sounds portray a vivid expression of the depth and meaning of African culture. Miriam Makeba had that ability to open her heart and release magic.
Interview Miriam Makeba
I always say I was away physically but mentally and otherwise I have always been home. I never forgot the languages; I could just still picture home the whole time.
I had mixed feelings. I was happy I was sad, I didn't know what to expect. I usually sleep on the plane but I never slept. I was scared. I had been away a long time. But, as soon as I got out of the airport and saw all of the people who were there, all the artists and my family, I felt quite at home. I just jumped into the rhythm right there. It was like I never left.
There was one leader that told me you should never refuse to go anywhere in Africa because when you sing your song, you sing to people all people and maybe you can change a lot of peoples way of thinking, just by your song. When you are invited, go and sing. So I have been to many many different countries, in fact there are only six countries in Africa I have never been to.
On her album, 'Homelands,' Miriam Makeba was celebrating the great joy of returning to her country after years and years in exile where she lived all over the world. Miriam said:
You find a strand of love in this album, love for ones country in ‘Masekane', love for ones country in ‘Homeland', how I miss my home how happy I am to be back. Love for ones continent for the song Africa is where it lies, love for ones' great grandson in the song ‘Lindelani' and in the song ‘In Time', I feel like I am talking about myself. 'In time you get older, in time you get married, I never once change my mind about the things I wanted in my life. I've been through changes like everybody else. My heart has been broken, but now the light shines on, the wounded heart will heal in time. God always answers ones prayer no matter how hard you will fall.