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Sweet Sensations II: African Divas Sing…

16/08/2009

“Every Friday and Saturday night, its Pata Pata time. The music keeps going on and on, till the morning sun begins to shine.” Miriam Makeba

Sweet Sensations II: African Divas Sing… Miriam Makeba…

Sweet Sensations II: Those fabulous African Divas Sing…
Music has always carried the day for me. Whether I am in a good mood, bad mood or somewhere in-between,  music sets the mood that transports me someplace else; it anchors me.

Last week, I added the songs, voices, and lyrics of six African Divas for you to kick back and enjoy. These are women whose recordings and live shows I have enjoyed over the years. I admire all the women on my list and as I mentioned last week, this is not a comprehensive list. There are many singing divas I have not included because it is extremely difficult to build a blog around a list that could truly cover all the best singing divas on the continent. I have selected some of my top favorites and I will revisit this subject in the future and bring you more beautiful voices.

This week, we will visit the remaining five divas on my list of favorite singing ladies from the African continent: My favorite Divas… Again, these are singing queens many of us know and some of us might have forgotten or never met. Welcome to my mini showcase with promises to gradually present a global tour of my favorite ladies of song.

Stay with me, will you? Sweet Sensations I and II introduce us to the music of (in alphabetical order) some of the African continent’s greatest ladies of song. We met in PART I: Angelique Kidjo, Asa, Cesaria Evora, Ejigayehu “Gigi” Shibabaw, Folasade “Sade” Adu, and Judee. Now meet in PART II: M’bilia Bel, Miriam Makeba, Oumou Sangare, Patience Dabany, and Suzanna Lubrano.

*To make best use of lyrics space, you may follow the lyrics all the way down on the left, and then follow the highlighted lyric parts all the way down on the right…*

“If a song’s about something I’ve experienced or that could’ve happened to me it’s good. But if it’s alien to me, I couldn’t lend anything to it. Because that’s what soul is all about.” Aretha Franklin

Mbilia taking a breather from the African sun.

Mbilia taking a breather from the African sun.

M’bilia ‘Mbilia Bel’ Mboyo, the Queen of Congolese rumba, was born in Zaire (the Democratic Republic of the Congo) and became very popular in the early 1980s performing with top African artist Tabu Ley Rochereau on the Afrisa International band. She was adoredfor performing in the popular African Conga rumba style known as soukous; a fast paced dance music with afro rhythmic beats. After she left Tabu’s band, M’bilia moved to Paris in 1989 and joined forces with Rigo “Starr” Bamundele. Mbilia became a huge success traveling around the world with Rigo Starr and enjoyed comparisons to Makeba whom she admired. Her first album with Rigo Starr entitled “Phenomene” was a phenomenal success and solidified her solo career and position as an international performer.
Mbilia Bel reigned as one of Africa’s transcontinental divas in the 1990s and her fast paced songs were always a dance hit at African parties. She performs her songs in several languages; Lingala, French and Swahili and brings a unique sultry sound to the soukous afro zouk beat/sounds that fans enjoy. Naza is a song from “Welcome” which was her first album of the new millennium (2001).”Welcome” is filled with songs that showcase Rumba and Afro beat elements that work beautifully with Mbilia’s great voice. Below, she sings ~ Naza


M’Bilia Bel singing NAZA (I Exist)
*See Video Disclaimer Below

Lyrics to NAZA: I Exist (Translated)
NAZA NAZA TE Naza Naza TE
NAZA NAZA TE Naza Naza TE

NAZA NAZA NAZA Naza Naza Naza
NAZA NAZA NAZA TE Naza Naza Naza TE

(2X)
Na Boyi koloba na bino soki na lobi na Memi ngambo
Na Bangi miso ya nzambe epekisa motema mabé
Na Boyi kotonga bato soki na tongi na memi ngambo
Na bangi miso ya nzambe epekisa kotonga mabé
Bino baluki Makambo mosala ko tongo baninga
Yuta kala ko yina boto koluka pasi ya bana ya baninga

Refrain:(2x)
Na Boyi eh Na Lobi eh Na Lobi eh Na Boyi eh
Ekila ya nzambe motema mabé Ouh ouh ouh ouh
Tika mwana ya moto kufa na malembe Na kozonga sima te
Futa nyongo odefaki na satan eh Fwila mulakwe Fwila bundundu
Nga na yo famille te Ouh ouh ouh ouh ouh ouh
Toyaki mboka mboka Banga eh Banga eh
Ponini oko Luka Liwa na nga
Na banga yo té na banga nzambe
Mokili naye te Na na yo eh

Repeat left side Refrain above
Bana ya Kwata au taux du jour Fwila monakwe Fwila monakwe
Bana ya kitambo magasin mère na bino aza Fwila kutima Fwila kutime
Na Lobi eh Na Boyi eh Ouh ouh banga eh ouh ouh banga eh
Ouh ouh ouh ouh Na Lobi eh Na Boyi na eh
Mama eh Mama eh Na lobi eh Lobi na eh
Ouh ouh ouh ouh

“When music fails to agree to the ear, to soothe the ear and the heart and the senses, then it has missed its point.” Maria Callas

Miriam in a reflective mood... long before the music stopped.

Miriam in a reflective mood… long before the music stopped.

Zenzile Miriam Makeba, often referred to as Mama Africa, was born in Johannesburg, South Africa to a Xhosa dad and Swazi mom who encouraged her to start singing as a child. Miriam recorded Pata Pata in 1956 which became a major international hit and she traveled around the world performing to enthusiastic audiences. Due to her activism and efforts to bring attention to the oppression of apartheid in South Africa, Miriam Makeba’s citizenship was revoked in 1963. She returned home, for the first time in years, at the urging of Nelson Mandela in 1990.
Miriam was married to Hugh Masekela and Stokely Carmichael, moved to Brussels after her only daughter, Bongi, died and traveled constantly to share her music. Miriam Makeba was a dynamic, consummate entertainer and her songs were as passionate as the lady herself. I remember meeting and interviewing Miriam Makeba for a small African publication in the early 1990s. She was elegant, gracious and brutally honest about her life; its ups and downs. Sadly, she passed away in Castel Volturno near Italy on November 9th 2008. She will be missed. Below, she sings ~ Pata Pata


MIRIAM MAKEBA ’67 Pata, Pata


Miriam Makeba – Pata Pata
*See Video Disclaimer Below

Lyrics to PataPata
Pata Pata Pata Pata is the name of a dance
Saguguka sathi beka We did down Gauteng* way
(Nantsi, pata pata) Everybody starts to move
Saguguka sathi beka As soon as Pata Pata begins to play
(Yiyo, pata pata) Every Friday and Saturday night
Yi yo mama yiyo mama Its Pata Pata time
(Nantsi, pata pata) The music keeps going on and on
Yi yo mama yiyo mama Till the morning sun begins to shine
(Yiyo, pata pata)

“You have got to discover you, what you do, and trust it.” Barbra Streisand

Oumou looking every bit the African Diva here

Oumou looking every bit the African Diva here

Oumou Sangare was born in Bamako, Mali, into a Wassoulou musical household. Her mother was the great Malian singer Aminata Diakité and Oumou grew up appreciating the traditional hunting songs and accompanying stories from the griot tradition that were popular in the area. She is often called “The Songbird of Wassoulou.” She recorded her first successful album, Moussoulou (“Women”), with the help of another great artist Amadou Ba Guindo. Amadou was the arranger/bass player on her 1st album. Oumou is a very generous entertainer and is known to add more songs to her live shows; just to keep her audience jumping, dancing and shouting for more. Below, she sings ~ Saa Magni.


Oumou singing Saa Magni
*See Video Disclaimer Below

Lyrics to Saa Magni: Death is Terrible (Translated)
Dedicated to Amadou Ba Guindo
O death; O death Death is so harsh
Death is so cruel Death who struck down Amadou Ba Guindo
But spares no creature Nothing can stop it
Not even fame Or having many children, great riches and many friends Amadou is gone And when I go to Douentza I will not see him again

He will never be seen again in Bamako
In Douentza Tenin Ongoïna cries for you
Whilst in Bamako Amadou cries for you
As Adja’ cries for you
Your widow Fanta cries for her missing husband

For Guindo has disappeared, struck down by treacherous death
In Bamako your old friend Alou Tracré misses you
How bitter is death, how bitter separation
It is hard to break the friendship links
How hard it is to be separated from one’s people, Guindo
But death spares no one
The Grim Reaper of hope did not spare Amadou Guindo

If it did not spare the Prophet Mohammed Just as it struck down Amadou Chérif
Leaving his father Bouba in pain May his soul rest in peace
How harsh is separation, how harsh death
And merciless death strikes without distinction
Villainous death crouches at a bend in the path, lying in wait for us

May God preserve us from it But death spares no one
It strikes in the prime of life Perfidious death crouches at a bend in the path
O death; O death You did not spare Guindo
No creature can escape you O death; O death, how you are cruel

Death is terrible, death is terrible, oh my brothers,
Guindo has lain down for ever
Death won’t leave you alone even if you’re rich. or popular
or you have small children -death needs you, he’ll come
and find you anywhere and take you with him
Death has claimed B Guindo, all Mali mourns him,

his wife has been left on her own, Oumou has been left on her own,
Death showed no pity for Amadou Ba Guindo

“I don’t think you get to good writing unless you expose yourself and your feelings. Deep songs don’t come from the surface; they come from the deep down. The poetry and the songs that you are supposed to write, I believe are in your heart.” Judy Collins

The ever youthful Ms. Patience rocking the music - lyrics please!

The ever youthful Ms. Patience rocking the music – lyrics please!

Patience Dabany, a highly regarded Gabonese chanteuse, was born Marie Joséphine Kama in Brazzaville Congo. Patience was raised in a musical family; her mom was a traditional singer and both her dad and brother played string instruments. Her parents started her on the path to a successful music career by encouraging her to sing from an early age. She traveled throughout Brazzaville as a member of the local choir singing popular traditional songs.
In 1959, setting her music aside, she married the President of Gabon, Omar Bongo, and started a family. By 1986, the marriage had ended and Patience returned to her love for music. A prolific songwriter, Patience has written music for film and collaborated with many over the years including artists such as James Debarge, Tabu Ley Rochereau, and Tshala Muana. She continues to perform when possible. She lives in the USA and Libreville and her music is loved by her fans around the world. Below, she sings ~ C’est Pour la Vie ~ This is for Life


Patience Dabany singing C’est Pour La Vie (This is for Life)
*See Video Disclaimer Below

The search for the lyrics or translation continues.
If you have them, do share…

“You could write a song about some kind of emotional problem you are having, but it would not be a good song, in my eyes, until it went through a period of sensitivity to a moment of clarity. Without that moment of clarity to contribute to the song, it’s just complaining.” Joni Mitchell

Suzanna performing in Angola to a full house.

Suzanna performing in Angola to a full house.

Suzanna Lubrano is a very popular, award winning Zouk singer. She was born in Cape Verde and now lives in Rotterdam. Zouk means “festival/party” and is a fusion of rhythmic party/festival music sung in creole with French and English influences. It is particularly associated with musicians from francophone (French speaking) and lusophone (Portuguese speaking) countries on the African continent. Suzanna performs her R&B tinged upbeat songs around the world; captivating her audience in English, Dutch and French creole. In 2003, she won the Kora All African Music Award for Best Female Artist of Africa of the year. Below, she sings ~ Taxi


Suzanna Lubrano singing Taxi
*See Video Disclaimer Below

Lyrics to Taxi:
I’m leaving… Taxi Because you don’t care about us… Taxi
Taxi in front of the door, waiting to bring me to the station
The train leaves at 6 You had enough time to change my mind
And convince me You had enough time to change my mind
And convince me to stay (4x chorus)
Now I’m telling you Now I’m telling you bye

You had enough time to change my mind And convince me
You had enough time to change my mind And convince me to stay
Now I’m telling you bye I’m leaving ‘cause you don’t care
Now I’m telling you bye (3x chorus)
You don’t need to look for me anymore
You had enough time to convince me to stay Taxi in front of the door(4x)

You made time for everyone instead of me(2x)
Your priority went to everybody, but not me
My heart… I’m sorry I didn’t understand all the signs you gave me
Now I’m telling you Now I’m telling you bye

These featured Divas are first rate performers and loved everywhere. As Judy Garland once said, “Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.” Let me know what you think of the list I have shared. Share your list with me and if you know any up and coming divas from the continent you’d like me to meet, do share. Thank you! Merci!

COPYRIGHT DISCLAIMER FOR VIDEOS***
Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.

Photo Credits:  Miriam Makeba by Jankie via Flickr, Various Newsmedia publications, Wikipedia, and other sources TBD.

Until Next Time…
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©
Elizabeth Obih-Frank
Mirth and Motivation
Positive Kismet

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13 Comments leave one →
  1. 18/08/2009 12:36 am

    Thank you for the beautiful picture of Miriam Makeba! That’s exactly what I admire her for: Being so honest not only about her success, but also about her several failed marriages, her losses and mistakes. That makes a star more human. I envy you for having met her, is that interview still available somewhere?
    African Music Safari

    Eliz says: Thank you for your wonderful comments! I agree with you that she was so transparent and down to earth. I interviewed Miriam Makeba and wrote a piece as a freelancer for a publication that was not online in the early 90s.
    My photographer reminded me today, I called to ask her if she had any copies, that we recorded the interview and I collected all the photos and materials from her. The publisher moved offices after 9/11 and God knows where this stuff will be. I have moved things around and packed away stuff for the last several years in my home and will have to dig around for it all. I will let you know if/when I find where I saved the copies. Actually, I am now inspired to find it all. Cheers!

    Like

    • 20/12/2010 11:20 am

      Thank you for your wonderful comments! I agree with you that she was so transparent and down to earth. I interviewed Miriam Makeba and wrote a piece as a freelancer for a publication that was not online in the early 90s.
      My photographer reminded me today, I called to ask her if she had any copies, that we recorded the interview and I collected all the photos and materials from her. The publisher moved offices after 9/11 and God knows where this stuff will be. I have moved things around and packed away stuff for the last several years in my home and will have to dig around for it all. I will let you know if/when I find where I saved the copies. Actually, I am now inspired to find it all. Cheers! 🙂

      Like

  2. Goz permalink
    20/08/2009 3:02 am

    Well done Liz.. I can imagine the hours of research, collating of material, editing, etc that had to have gone into these tributes but more importantly I can sense your warmth, regard and appreciation for these artistes, that also did…you have given honour to whom it is due.. I salute your courage, generosity and love. Much kudos & keep it coming!

    Eliz says: Thanks so much Goz for your generous words and consistent support. You are a very special shining light!

    Like

    • 20/12/2010 11:21 am

      Thanks so much Goz for your generous words and consistent support. You are a very special shining light! 🙂

      Like

  3. 22/08/2009 12:35 am

    I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

    Susan

    http://mariahcareylyrics.net

    Eliz says: Thank you Susan for your thoughtful comments. I always appreciate feedback and will check out your site as I do love Mariah Carey’s music.

    Like

    • 20/12/2010 11:21 am

      Thank you Susan for your thoughtful comments. I always appreciate feedback and will check out your site as I do love Mariah Carey’s music. 🙂

      Like

  4. 22/08/2009 9:18 pm

    What a useful post here. Very informative for me..TQ friends…

    Cheers,
    sweethomeimprove.com

    Eliz says: Thank you for visiting and leaving a generous comment. I appreciate your feedback and will check out your site too.

    Like

    • 20/12/2010 11:22 am

      Thank you for visiting and leaving a generous comment. I appreciate your feedback and will check out your site too. 🙂

      Like

Trackbacks

  1. Back to Blogging: Revisiting the Past & Embracing the Future « Eof737's Mirth and Motivation
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  3. Sweet Sensations I: African Divas Sing… | Mirth and Motivation
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