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88Nine Radio Milwaukee

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Mama Africa! (aka Miriam Makeba)

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This week Sound Travels in a scatological fashion; a 'lil of this and a 'lil of that. Today, the theme is also a tie-in to the Milwaukee Film Festival and a particular film that's playing. The film in question is sort of a biopic about legendary First Lady of African music, Miriam Makeba. also known as "Mama Afrika," Miriam Makeba is a crucial figure in modern African music as she helped pave the way for countless others by forging the first in-roads into the American and global scene as an African singing artist.

She was also widely known for her politics, denouncing racial discrimination in her home country and abroad. For those views she was exiled from her native country South Africa and for her further connection to The Black Panthers' Stokley Carmichael, she was black-listed in the United States where her budding career was truly taking off. A very interesting lady indeed!

Well, the MFF has your ticket ready if the music moves you so. It seems that her life, shown through archival footage, interviews with friends and family as well as clips from live concerts is on display in the film Mama Africa which is playing several times yet. You can see it at The Downer Theater (tonight at 5pm), Oriental Theater (10/7 5:30pm) and at Fox-Bay Cinema (10/9 5:30pm). My advice, check into it!

Here are the songs, a wide range of tunes from many parts of her career, and a musical primer for this intriguing documentary...

Miriam Makeba & The Skylarks "Kutheni Sithandwa"

[audio=1]

Miriam Makeba & Harry Belafonte "Train Song" An Evening With Belafonte/Makeba

[audio=2]

Miriam Makeba "The Click Song" Pata Pata

[audio=3]

Miriam Makeba "Umquokozo" Makeba!

[audio=4]

Miriam Makeba "Teya Teya" The Guinea Years

[audio=5]

Miriam Makeba & Mbongi Makeba "Do You Remember Malcolm"

[audio=6]

Miriam Makeba "Pata Pata" Pata Pata