Freitag, 1. Juli 2022

Miriam Makeba & The Skylarks Vol. 1

If you like jazz vocalese, doo-wop, old-time soul, gospel, South African township music, or any combination of the aforementioned, you will probably love this set by Miriam Makeba and the Skylarks. Together with Volume 2 it provides a comprehensive overview of the group's recorded legacy.  

Makeba and the Skylarks were one of the most successful South African vocal groups to blend American influences (Mills Brothers-style pop, gospel, and jazz) with South African tribal rhythms and vocal styles (primarily mbube, a four-part harmony approach originated by Zulu miners). Their music holds up extremely well four decades after it was recorded. The vocal harmonies are both complex and infectious, the backing instrumentation is loose and jazzy, and the sound is superb considering the music was recorded between 1956 and 1959.  

Language is no barrier when listening to the beautiful harmonies of Makeba and the Skylarks. Even when Miriam and the girls sing in Xhosa or Zulu, it’s easy to understand their joy. A few tracks are also sung in English.  

While growing up in a tough Johannesburg township, Miriam Makeba first sang in Protestant school choirs. After achieving initial fame with the Manhattan Brothers, Makeba recorded a few singles under her own name before Gallo Records asked her to front a South African girl group loosely patterned after the Andrews Sisters and the McGuire Sisters.  

Makeba’s lead vocals have a pure and innocent quality that belies her savvy as a bandleader. In the early days she did not hesitate to fire several Skylarks who couldn’t cut the mustard, but eventually Makeba arrived at a fixed line-up consisting of Mary Rabotapi, Abigail Kubeka, and Mummy Girl Nketle. Another singer or two occasionally augmented Makeba and the girls. The most frequent addition on this album is Sam Ngakane, a deep bass singer who also produced some of the group’s biggest hits, including "Hush" and "Inkomo Zodwa."  

Enhancing the gorgeous vocal harmonies were some excellent South African jazzmen, most notably the band’s white musical director and talented clarinetist-saxman-pianist Dan Hill, as well as the great South African pennywhistler Spokes Mashiyane, who coaxed as much soul out of his simple instrument as any human could. Like the finest mainstream jazz, this music has a relaxed, spontaneous feel that is a complete joy to hear. It’s easy to understand why these lifting melodies gave hope to blacks living the nightmare of apartheid.  

After Makeba left South African in 1959 to attend the Venice film festival, the South African authorities would not allow her to return. Her records were banned from South African radio, and the Skylarks broke up a short while later. Even in exile Makeba’s fame continued to grow, and she went on to lead an amazing life: She survived a plane crash and multiple car wrecks. Along with Marilyn Monroe, she sang at JFK's 1962 birthday bash at Madison Square Garden. She recovered from cancer. She married and divorced Hugh Masekela and Stokely Carmichael. She become the first African artist to win a Grammy. She received the Dag Hammarskjold Peace Prize for her anti-apartheid activism. And she returned in triumph to South Africa in 1990 at the invitation of Nelson Mandela. Today Miriam Makeba is known worldwide as "Mama Africa."

Thanks to


01 Inkomo Zodwa 02:26
02 Nomalungelo 02:25
03 Make Us One 02:33
04 Siyavuya 02:38
05 Holilili 02:34
06 Sindiza Ngecadillacs 02:25
07 Live Humble 02:24
08 Mtshakasi 02:18
09 Uthando Luyaphela 02:27
10 Phansi Kwalomhlaba 02:34
11 Kutheni Sithandwa 02:35
12 Miriam and Spokes' Phatha Phat 02:36
13 Yini Madoda 02:34
14 Umbhaqanga 02:37
15 Miriam's Goodbye To Africa 02:46
16 Table Mountain 02:22

Miriam Makeba & The Skylarks Vol. 1
(256 kbps, front cover inlcuded)

2 Kommentare:

Greg hat gesagt…

Hm... the same - could you PLEASE repost it?

Guitarradeplastico,scraping oddities hat gesagt…

Many thanks

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