Miriam Makeba Celebrates her Homeland

Dateline: April 14, 2000

Miriam Makeba is an artist from South Africa. Her new album Homeland is on the label Putumayo.

South Africa is the home to many influential artists such as Ladysmith Black Mambazo, who gained international recognition when they toured with Paul Simon during his Graceland era. Johnny Clegg and Juluka blends Anglo pop with Zulu rhythms, while Hugh Masekela's jazzy approach offers a message of hope and optimism.

Putumayo World Music is focussing on this musically rich part of the word on two new releases. South African Legends is a survey of all of the aformentioned artists, as well as regional favorites West Nkosi and Soul Brothers, who do not have much of an audience outside of South Africa.

But even more exciting is the release Homeland from the distinguished Miriam Makeba. Her first studio album in six years, Makeba's work coincides with Freedom Day South Africa on April 27 (her album is slated for release on the 25th).

Homeland features ten new recordings, including "Pata Pata 2000," an updated version of Makeba's well-known international hit "Pata Pata" which made the Top Ten in 1967. Miriam Makeba has been doing what she does for a long time. She was the first African recording artist to win a Grammy (An Evening with Belafonte/Makeba), and the first to have a Top Ten Hit.

Most striking though, is how Makeba uses her work and celebrity to demonstrate her commitment to world issues such as human rights, women's rights, and anti-drug campaigns. She has performed for a number of world leaders including the Pope, Nelson Mandela, Fidel Castro, Francois Mitterand, and others.

For more about Miriam Makeba and her life, you can check out her autobiography Makeba, My Story, which was published in 1988. Better yet, listen to Homeland and hear what she is all about.

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