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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Miriam Makeba

Miriam Makeba

1960

Miriam Makeba

Album Summary

Miriam Makeba is a self-titled, debut album by Miriam Makeba. It was released in 1960 by RCA Victor. Zenzile Miriam Makeba (4 March 1932 – 9 November 2008), nicknamed Mama Africa, was a South African singer, songwriter, actress, and civil rights activist. Associated with musical genres including Afropop, jazz, and world music, she was an advocate against apartheid and white-minority government in South Africa. Makeba was among the first African musicians to receive worldwide recognition. She brought African music to a Western audience, and popularized the world music and Afropop genres. She also made popular several songs critical of apartheid, and became a symbol of opposition to the system, particularly after her right to return was revoked. Upon her death, former South African President Nelson Mandela said that "her music inspired a powerful sense of hope in all of us."

Wikipedia

Rating

3.13

Votes

5488

Genres

  • Jazz
  • World
Reviews
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Fri Jun 04 2021
4

Really pleasant surprise as I don't normally listen to anything like this. Loved her voice and the blues influences in here. Super cool to hear 'Mbube' and to get some context for 'The Lion Sleeps Tonight' (even though Miriam's version is a cover)

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Sun Sep 19 2021
5

If I had to put together a short list of the musicians who had the most influence on my taste in music, she would be in the top 5.  I didn't  fall in love with African music until I bought  Miriam Makeba's Welea album, Frustrated with most of the music I was being fed by radio, I was sifting through the "Music I Never Heard Of" section in the local record store and randomly picked this since she looked like a warm and interesting woman who I hoped would play music that would be more interesting than FM. Her music was peaceful and optimistic which in itself is quite remarkable given her life.  I would play that album before going to work when I knew I had stressful meetings.  I later found the Click song, among others, and learned  that she played with Harry Belefonte, played at the concert festival held in conjunction with the Rumble in the Jungle, and backed up Paul Simon on his Graceland tour. There are many lovely songs on the 1001 offering. The Click Song is charming and her story about the name is  cute. Saduva is one of my favourite songs. She had a longer (and better) version with excellent instrumentation on her Welea album. Lakutshon and One More Dance, both innocuous musically,  demonstrate how beautiful her voice is. At the end of the day I like Welea more than the 1001 offering but this is her first album and  her role in bringing South African and other African music to western audiences is second to none. Yeah Paul Simon played a big role and touched more people in North America and Europe but he likely was influenced by her.  

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Sun Feb 07 2021
5

Que música incrível! Me fez aprender muito mais sobre a história dela, descobri q o Sivuca trabalhou com ela na decada de 60 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3znK08BoKfU). Me fez ver um outro contexto da revolução musical dos anos 60

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Mon Jul 12 2021
5

Wonderful energy, great singing and a wonderful person behind it all.

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Sat Aug 14 2021
5

What a delicious album this is, the talent, the music, the resistance. Her generation brought down apartheid on South Africa, from pariah to hero. She spoke she sung, hope more of her records are on the list.

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Fri Jul 23 2021
1

I listen to a few tracks and it’s interesting music but I don’t know that I will revisit this.

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Tue Jun 29 2021
5

Primeira vez escutando musica tão diferente de meu gosto musical, de primeira já curti, me lmbrou de minha infancia assistindo rei leão e kiriku. Ai ela é muito calminha, amei essa mulher! Ela ta morta :o wtf. triste. Amei a musica, salvei o album, escutarei mais vezes com certeza!

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Sat Jul 23 2022
5

I very much enjoyed this album. Some moments I felt like I may be in church and others at a party. I appreciate the exposure to an artist that I would otherwise likely never have listened to.

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Sat Jul 23 2022
5

I first learned about Miriam Makeba some years ago when I was researching South African music for a school project, and I immediately became a fan. "Pata Pata" has been in my playlists ever since. This was a wonderful album and I loved listening to this amazing voice so much. What an interesting collection of songs! I love when this project brings us to artists I haven't known so well, but really appreciate, such as this. Love Love Love.

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Mon Oct 17 2022
5

Good lord, we need more albums like this! Never heard of Miriam but she absolutely killed her debut. A mix of some fantastic native African songs and some more modern songs, including covers like "House of the Rising Sun." "Mbube" blew me away because it's essentially an original, proto-version of "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" that feels 100x more authentic and lively. She's got a hell of a voice too, on some of the slower tunes like House of the Rising Sun, I was reminded of the power that someone like Nina Simone has in her voice. Lots of great call and response all over this too, which I always enjoy. The way Charles Coleman was laughing on "One More Dance" was a little bit much and distracting at first, but I couldn't help but love that song by the end too. I can't imagine hearing this album in 1960 and not being completely gobsmacked, considering I'm impressed more than 60 years later. Screw it, five stars. Good luck beating this next week. Favorite tracks: Mbube, Retreat Song, Click Song, Lakutshn Ilanga, Naughty Little Flea, Where Does It Lead, House of the Rising Sun, One More Dance, Iya Guduza. Album art: Just a portrait type shot of Miriam, but it's got that warmth and texture that lots of albums from the '50s and early '60s had, which I can't get enough of. It's the type of album that I'd buy at Goodwill with 100% certainty. 5/5

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Tue Mar 02 2021
2

african outdated but not ugly

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Mon Apr 12 2021
5

Amazing voice and awesome afro-American album. Variety is great and the click songs are unique. I don’t even mind not understanding half of the album that isn’t English.

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Wed Mar 03 2021
5

Magnifique album, très heureux d'avoir découvert cette artiste.

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Tue Mar 02 2021
5

She’s awesome.

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Wed Apr 14 2021
5

Great african vibe, super fresh!

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Wed Apr 14 2021
5

WOWOWOW!!! i read up about her and i love her lmaooo her voice is amazing and lover her stuff and this album was pretty good! i wanna show my future kids her songs :)

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Tue Apr 20 2021
5

This is absolutely beautiful.

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Sun May 16 2021
5

really nice voice, and really nice music with a twinge of cynicism in places most joyous

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Mon May 17 2021
5

Amazing.

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Sun Aug 01 2021
5

Beautiful singing voice

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Mon Sep 27 2021
5

Very positive album. Smile all the songs!

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Tue Sep 28 2021
5

Loved it. Worthy of a Jain song dedicated to her.

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Mon Jan 24 2022
5

Wow, I was blown away by her voice! I can’t believe I’ve never heard of Miriam Makeba before. Really emotes in her singing.

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Sat Jan 29 2022
5

Maravilhoso!!!!!!!

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Wed Mar 02 2022
5

that was a super cool album 10/10 I don’t know how she’s able to sing The Click Song but that was impressive af

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Tue Apr 12 2022
5

First time listening to this one. Love her voice and the influence was huge.

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Mon Apr 25 2022
5

Brilliant, and exemplifies why I was keen to do this: I would probably never have listened to this album otherwise. The click song and a couple of the covers were the only ones I recognised on first listen, but I loved pretty much every track. Wonderful

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Sat Apr 30 2022
5

Wow! Wow! Wow! Paul Simon can stay home, we got Miriam now

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Mon Jun 06 2022
5

i hope shes a 4! No this is probably a 5 star album.

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Tue Jun 28 2022
5

These are fantastic songs. I liked e.g. the guitar in Saduva.

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Thu Jul 14 2022
5

Fresh and sweet

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Sat Jul 16 2022
5

Classic slice of time, incredible voice and unique narrative perspective. A la Ella Fitzgerald. Naughty Little Flea top 10.

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Sat Jul 23 2022
5

Wonderful! A terrific voice and variety of styles. Very very enjoyable. More please!

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Fri Aug 26 2022
5

Will definitely be coming back to this album

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Tue Aug 30 2022
5

Where was Miriam Makeba all my life? What a delightful album - funny, haunting, bold, beautiful - I’m totally in love. So far the best new discovery for me from this list.

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Wed Aug 31 2022
5

Takes me back to the 60s, South West Africa, parties, dancing. I LOVE Miriam Makeba

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Sat Oct 01 2022
5

Would never have a reason to come across this if not for the list. Loved it.

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Tue Oct 04 2022
5

What a voice! This album is such a treat to listen to. Beautiful melodies, great musicianship, and perfect singing. I’ll listen to this again for sure and more of Miriam Makeba’s albums.

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Tue Oct 11 2022
5

Beautiful

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Tue Oct 25 2022
5

canzoni molto belle, voce perfetta, canzoni diverse e che trasmetotno emozioni bello

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Tue Nov 08 2022
5

VERY good I really loved this

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Mon Nov 21 2022
5

A beautiful album to say the least. The vocals are effortlessly gorgeous with equally amazing music to accompany them. Favourite songs: The Retreat Song, Lakutshn Ilanga, and House of the Rising Sun. I love her voice — it is so smooth and claming and sets the mood of the album perfectly.

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Sat Nov 26 2022
5

Amazing, like judy garland

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Fri Dec 09 2022
5

a perfect summer album personal favourites: [Where Does It Lead?] [Olilili] [House of the Rising Sun] [Lakutshn, Ilanga]

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Mon Dec 19 2022
5

A beautiful voice and a huge force for change in South Africa at the height of apartheid.

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Mon Jan 02 2023
5

Sensational. Xhosa is such a beautiful language.

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Fri Jan 06 2023
5

I do tend to get a lot of enjoyment out of music in other languages. I think that when I can’t understand what the lyrics are saying, I can enjoy the voice more as an instrument rather than a means of conveying a message. I quick google tells me that Miriam Makeba sang in Xhosa, Zulu and Sotho. I’m not sure which of those the songs on this album (or any combination of them), but I’m excited to listen! Songs I already knew: none Favourites: Mbube, The Naughty Little Flea, One More Dance This was a very enjoyable album. There are a few songs sang in English as well as African dialects, and the variation is very enjoyable. Miriam’s soft voice is a pleasure throughout, whether I can understand the lyrics or not. The styling of the music sometimes sounds somewhat similar to samba which I wasn’t expecting. Mbube (a version of The Lion Sleeps Tonight) was fantastic and even more enjoyable than the Tight Fit version which I do also like. Overall, a very enjoyable album which I’d recommend to anybody with an interest in music from around the world.

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Fri Apr 02 2021
4

Fresh. No skips but some I’d return to.

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Sat Jul 10 2021
4

Great African music. She has a very good voice.

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Mon Jun 14 2021
4

Fantastic album, especially if you're into world-style music. For me, this is a really strong 4-star album. I would definitely listen to it again, but it's not a genre I reach for often.

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Wed Feb 17 2021
4

This was great! Not only is there a wonderful story behind Miriam, but the music is also great. This is my first 'world music' album to appear on the list.

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Tue Mar 30 2021
4

Enjoyed this far more than I expected. I imagine I'll be listening to this again soon and probably some of her other material.

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Sun Feb 14 2021
4

somewhat expectedly beautiful african folk. glad to know it. fav track: lakutshn ilanga

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Fri Jun 04 2021
4

Pathos and joy in equal measures, this voice could lift a mountain. Moments of transcendence, especially Holilili.

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Mon Jan 25 2021
4

Good album. Something different

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Fri Jan 22 2021
4

Wasn’t expecting traditional African music but it is nice. I have never listened to this type of music before. Where does it lead is an amazing song. I love the mix of western songs and traditional African.

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Sun May 09 2021
4

Piercingly beautiful voice that will keep you hooked the entire album, dynamic record, love the mix of African and western folk. super strong 4

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Wed Feb 24 2021
4

yeeeeeeeaaaaaah woooooooooooooooooo 7/10 i love it

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Fri Apr 09 2021
4

Very nice

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Wed Jul 14 2021
4

Click, retreat. Voice and percusión

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Wed Jun 09 2021
4

Cool stuff except for the second to last song... Just weird

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Fri Mar 12 2021
4

Tym razem bardzo murzynsko wylosowalo, pierwszy albumik solowy poludniowoafrykanskiej spiewaczki zwanej takze jako Mama Africa, jako jedna z najbardziej znanych wokalistej czarnego kontynentu i pierwszej afrykanskiej zdobywczyni grammy, co do albumiku to jest to minimalistyczny albumik zawierajacy 14 kawalkow z czego tylko 4 sa spiewane po angilelsku, reszta natomiast to muzyka rodem z RPA, wiec jezykowo Xhosa lub Zulu dominuje, nie jestem pewien czy sa to orginalne kompozycje, bo raczej sa to piosenki ktore gdzies tam sobie juz byly spiewane wsrod plemion afrykanskich, a to jest jedynie ich zapis na tasmie, bo angielskie songi kojarze, wiec wiem, ze sa to covery, a co do czarnych kawalkow to jedynie the click song, moj ulubiony kawalek z albumiku daje info ze jest to Qongqothwane czyli piosenka spiewana podczas weselicha majaca przynosic szczescie, jakbym nie obejrzal jak spiewa to live, to bym nie uwierzyl, ze mozna wydawac taki klikajacy dzwiek i czysto spiewac jednoczesnie, caly albumik to prezentacja tego wokalu, bo jednynym instrumentalem jest to gitarka akustyczna, flet oraz chorek, spiewajacy troche jak w gospelu, ale ktory robi takze za klaskaczy i tupaczy, jak to w murzynskich klimatach jest zazwyczaj, na plejke wrzuce wspomnianego click songa oraz openingowy the retreat song

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Thu May 13 2021
4

I always wondered who sung Pata Pata. Now I know! really enjoyed the album

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Thu Feb 04 2021
4

so cool, loved mbube calling back to my childhood

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Thu Feb 18 2021
4

This was even better than I expected it to be. A lot of these songs are really good and Makeba's vocals are incredible. I really should listen to more South African music because this is good. This style sounded kind of familiar and I think that's because it was an influence for Paul Simon. Also I think Mbube was the basis for The Lion Sleeps Tonight.The songwriting is honestly on par with a lot of Simon's songs although (like some of Paul Simon's albums) this album is a bit inconsistent. I absolutely HATE Charle's Coleman's laughing on One More Dance no matter how much I try to appreciate it. It doesn't make sense for a song about a woman's husband dying and it's so annoying. If the album had stayed as good as it started, it would have been 5 stars. Still, one bad song and a few less memorable ones certainly don't spoil the entire album for me. Favorite Songs: The Retreat Song (Jikele Maweni), Suliram, The Click Song, Olilli, Mbube, Where Does It Lead? Least Favorite Song: One More Dance Strong 8/10

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Thu Feb 04 2021
4

Interesting

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Sun May 30 2021
4

Her voice is beautiful. I love the rhythm and sound of the songs that are not in English. Those in English are a bit boring and fall flat in comparison, except for the one about the little flea.

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Sun Jul 18 2021
4

Wiederentdeckung! Aber richtig gut!

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Thu May 13 2021
4

Så fedt!

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Fri Jun 04 2021
4

I was torn on what to rate this for a while, its definitely not my genre, but Istill appreciated it a lot.

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Fri Jun 11 2021
4

I don't think I ever would have encountered this if I were not listening through this list, but I am so glad I had the opportunity. This album had fabulous vocals, a ton of catchy songs, and was a fantastic start to my morning.

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Tue Jun 08 2021
4

This album makes me happy!

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Wed Jul 07 2021
4

-Definitely out of my typical tastes but very interesting -love the vocal performance -I had no idea she preformed House of the Rising Sun before The Animals

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Tue Aug 17 2021
4

A real talent. She makes a foreign language album fantastic regardless of lyrics

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Mon Aug 30 2021
4

Beautiful voice, beautiful sound. Great discovery.

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Tue Aug 31 2021
4

Música africana mezclada con música melódica de los años 40... está bien.

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Wed Sep 22 2021
4

Great stuff - really interesting variety of songs! Incredible vocal talent. Fave track - "Mbube" for that "Lion Sleeps Tonight" quality. Also "The Click Song", for clicking!

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Thu Sep 23 2021
4

A great album that made me realize I really enjoy African music.

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Mon Oct 04 2021
4

1st October 2021 Started at the airport on the way to Spain for Jen's surprise birthday trip! Finished on the Monday. This was a real surprise treat. I loved the power and tenderness of her voice, the classical but very much African vibe, really great and will get repeated listens.

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Fri Oct 08 2021
4

I have Pata Pata on vinyl and it's a popular one around the house. I have loved her since college when I heard her on the college radio station and had to call in to find out who it was. Her music always lifts my spirits. Gonna knock this down to 4 though cause the song with Charles Coleman and the Flea Song throws the album off a bit for me.

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Fri Oct 08 2021
4

What a breath of fresh air, finding this really calming and lifting. Reading about her, she had quite a life.

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Wed Oct 13 2021
4

I’m breaking my mold here. Even though I will not be adding this album to my library, it is something worth hearing for all. The biggest reason I won’t be adding it is the language barrier, which is my limitation. But then again, these are my ratings, so the built in limitation is a necessary condition. Miriam Makeba’s angelic voice is one to remember. Her vibrato is majestic. The album sounds like it could be current or from 1960…timeless. The music is light and feels effortless, like floating from cloud to cloud in Super Mario WII. The House of the Rising Sun cover is divine, and I will be adding it to a playlist.

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Wed Oct 13 2021
4

From playful to contemplative, Miriam Makeba shows on this album why she is one of the most important artists to come out of South Africa. That she was recording these songs and selling these albums during the oppressive years of apartheid in her home country proves what a force her voice and her music is. I had the good fortune to hear her sing live during Paul Simon's Graceland tour - what a treat, what an inspiriation.

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Wed Oct 13 2021
4

Absolutely beautiful, I loved this voice, though I don't know what she's saying most of the time. Must be in the right mood to listen to this, I chose late in the evening and it was perfect. Highlight of this album is Lakutshon' Ilanga, so relaxing. The album artwork and lo-fi production only added to the listening experience. She seems to have been an important figure in fighting apartheid and had an exceptional career from Johannesburg to New York to Italy. Super happy to have been turned on to this album and Miriam Makeba.

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Mon Oct 18 2021
4

Firstly, it must be said that her voice is astounding. An extraordinarily emotive performer, equally adept at doleful ballads and exuberant, joyful numbers. This album has such great stuff. However, the Harry Belafonte-style songs sound a little dated to my ears. But they are tolerable, and there is true gold elsewhere on this album. Beforehand, I knew nothing about Miriam Makeba, and this was a most impressive introduction.

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Mon Nov 01 2021
4

Man, she's got some pipes. The close harmonies really date it. Best track: Mbube

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Wed Nov 03 2021
4

Wonderful, joyous stuff. 8/10

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Tue Nov 16 2021
4

First album bringing baby home; beautiful worldly vibes, great for Abi D.

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Sun Nov 21 2021
4

Great introduction to Miriam Makeba. Amazing voice.

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Thu Nov 25 2021
4

Miriam Makeba by Miriam Makeba (1960) “A diversification among human communities is essential for the provision of the incentive and material of the Odyssey of the human spirit. Other nations of different habits are not enemies: they are godsends. Men require of their neighbours [1] something sufficiently akin to be understood, [2] something sufficiently different to provoke attention, and [3] something great enough to command admiration.” — Alfred North Whitehead, Science and the Modern World Why should a serious listener from the West give heed to a debut album from sixty years ago by a then 28-year-old singer from South Africa? Professor Whitehead, above, has given us part of the answer. The remaining part can be found in the fact that this record is just plain enjoyable. She sings in English, Xhosa, Sotho, and Zulu (as far as I was able to figure out), but the music is wonderfully accessible to all ears. Miss Makeba has an outstanding voice. With power in the lower end of her range, with highs that run the gamut from delicate to harsh, she displays a natural vocal talent that is, in Whitehead’s terms, understandable, provocative, and admirable. It is not for nothing that she later earned the moniker ‘Mama Africa’. Her songs are not political, even if her acceptance in the West was (one should ask her mentor Harry Belafonte about both of those claims). It was only later that she was forbidden to return to her native land. Those white South African blokes took apartheid seriously. The calypso-flavored track “The Naughty Little Flea” could be considered subversive if one subscribed to the military philosophy described in Robert Taber, The War of the Flea (1965). It is interesting to compare & contrast this song with how apartheid actually fell. Nevertheless, with a smile, Brigitte Bardot really was “a delicious beast” (Ya just gotta listen). And for giggles, “Just One More Dance” (Charles Colman is a scream—he rivals Jim Backus/Phyllis Diller in “Delicious [The Laughing Song]”). This must be one of the funniest turn downs evah. But I strongly recommend that the first-time listener start with track #4, “Unhome”. This solo a cappella delight commands respect—politics and giggles be damned. If you’re in the mood for something more familiar, listen to her cover of “House of the Rising Sun”—much more convincing that Bob Dylan (are you shocked?) or the Byrds. Or try track #7, “Mbube”, and see if you can discern why someone like me would have 23 recorded versions of this song in his digital library. But this one is my new favorite. Even my nine-year-old granddaughter (with patience) recognized it. Can you? To ignore this album would be a cultural poverty. 4/5

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Fri Nov 26 2021
4

Very cool. Beautiful voice and interesting textures

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Wed Dec 01 2021
4

Very nice and nostalgic, with some fun standout songs. Nothing really dazzled me to the five, but this is a confident high 4.

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Wed Dec 01 2021
4

This is a tough rate. I only really liked about half the songs; the other half I didn't care for. Much of it sounded too much like some boring "easy listening" type of music. But the tracks I liked? I LOVED. The Click Song and Mbebe are definitely going on heavy rotation from now on, and that rendition of House of the Rising Sun was gorgeous. I think it is just enough to push into to a 4th star for me; rare for an album with half I didn't really enjoy.

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Mon Dec 06 2021
4

It was refreshing to finally get an album that was in a genre I have rarely ever heard. Not only was it unique, but it was extremely enjoyable to listen to as it went from soft lullabyes to uplifting chants. Miriam has a baller voice and I'm glad this is on the list. Favs: the click song, mbube

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Tue Dec 07 2021
4

Not sure how confident i am commenting on this, I think she's got a very lovely voice and the Wikipedia page is quite a saga of struggle, fame and incredible talent.

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Wed Dec 08 2021
4

It's very interesting to know this different and (at the same time) comfortable new type of song. I believe that it opened my eyes to a whole new world, but it's a world that I already know very well and this is wonderful.

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Tue Dec 21 2021
4

Belle musique africaine. J’aime l’albûm ca s’ecoute tres bien. 4.35

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Thu Dec 30 2021
4

Not sure if this is because I'm listening on Christmas week, but it sounds like another Christmas record to me. Nice ballads, sensitively arranged and beautifully sung (apart from One More Dance). Probably not something I'll ever return to, but I enjoyed it.

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Thu Dec 30 2021
4

Great energy. So uplifting and positive! Beautiful voice and music!

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Fri Dec 31 2021
4

Beautiful voice! I thoroughly enjoyed this whole album!

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