I turned on the radio Monday morning and came in on the middle of a piece by the stunning Ofeibea Quist-Arcton about Miriam Makeba. I became very aware that Ms. Quist-Arcton was using the past tense which meant only one thing.
Miriam Makeba died early this morning after performing. It couldn't be a more fitting way for you to pass away. You lived in exile from your beloved South Africa for decades, singing the songs of your homeland. You made sure the world paid attention to the horrors of apartheid. And you did it with song.
This song is Pata Pata. In the interview I heard this morning, Ms. Makeba explained it is traditional wedding song. The English-speaking Africans called it "the clicking song" because they couldn't make the Xhosi sound. I've tried on number of times to make that sound with the back of my tongue up against the back of my mouth. I sound like a drowning badger.
Farewell Mama Afrika. You truly made a difference with your music.