RIP Miriam Makeba
Live version of “Pata Pata“
South African singer Miriam Makeba died yesterday while touring in Italy. She was 76 and best-known for being a vocal anti-apartheid activist, her 1967 song “Pata Pata“ and her marriages to fellow country trumpeter Hugh Masekela and American “Black pride“/”Black Power” activist Stokely Carmichael.
“Pata Pata” was co-written by Miriam Makeba and Jerry Ragovoy. After Makeba was signed to Warner/Reprise Records and published her first singles, the record company needed several songs to finish a Makeba album. Legend has it that she had told Reprise she wanted to do ballads, so they put her together with Jerry Ragovoy, the R&B writer/producer who was on staff at Warner Brothers at the time. Not being familiar with her, the night before their first recording session, he went to see her in a club in Greenwich Village, where she did a show comprised completely of African folk music. He was captivated to the point that, the next day, he just had Makeba and her sister sing a number of the songs into a tape recorder. One of them became “Pata Pata.”
Studio version of “Pata Pata“