An old LP cover dug out from the Concertzender archives. Myriam Makeba.
On the cover Myriam Zenzi Makeba alias "Mamma Africa" kneels in a field of grass, dressed ‘native’, her hair in beautiful cornrows decorated with beads and cowrie shells. However the title ‘Country Girl’ and her attire let us think of traditional South African music, it turns out to be great seventies afro pop mixed with a little bit of jazz. The record was released under the French label Sonodisc in 1978. Logically, because at the time Makeba was living in Guinea, a former French colony, for some years. Born in 1932, in a township not far from Johannesburg, South Africa, Makeba became known as a jazz singer in the fifties, but because of her protests against the South African Apartheid she had to flea the country in 1959. After her testimonial against Apartheid at the United Nations in 1963, her records were banned and her nationality declared invalid by the South African government. In America she lived in exile for years, kept singing and campaigning, met the controversial Black Panther activist Stokely Carmichael and married him. The US wasn’t longer a safe haven: her records and concerts were cancelled. The married couple moved to the West African Guinea. Only in 1990, after an invitation from the former president of South Africa Nelson Mandela, Makeba returned to her home country. In 2005 Makeba retired, after a farewell tour. Luckily we still have her recordings! ‘Country Girl’ includes the track ‘Witch Doctor’, written by Makeba’s only child, her daughter Bongi. Therefore we have in addition some titles of the only LP of Bongi Makeba, ‘Blow on Wind’. Bongi Makeba died in childbirth in 1985.