Elliot Ross
2 minute read
7 Dec 2013
00:00

Music for Mandela: the World’s Songs

Elliot Ross

WHEN we sent a message around the Africa is a Country “office” inviting contributors to suggest songs for Madiba (both music about him and tracks to stand as tributes to the man), the suggestions came flooding in...

WHEN we sent a message around the Africa is a Country “office” inviting contributors to suggest songs for Madiba (both music about him and tracks to stand as tributes to the man), the suggestions came flooding in.

This is the international edition of our Songs for Mandela. It’s a bumper playlist, and in no particular order.

• Miles Davis, Amandla, from his 1989 album of the same name.

• Burning Spear, and Mandela Marcus.

• Jamaican dancehall giant Shabba Ranks, Mandela Free.

• Gil Scott-Heron with Johannesburg .

• From Haiti, Dieudonné Larose, Mandela.

• Senegalese rapper Didier Awadi with a cracker from his album Presidents d’Afrique — Amandla (Mandela). Awadi did a great job splicing in lines from Mandela’s inauguration speech.

• Salif Keita with Mandela from his 1995 album, Folon. Keita’s international career took off following his appearance alongside the likes of Youssou N’dour, Miriam Makeba and Hugh Masekela at the massive concert that was held at Wembley for Mandela’s 70th birthday

• The title track from Youssou N’Dour’s 1986 album, Nelson Mandela:

• Probably the most famous song campaigning for Mandela’s release, and one of the best-known anti-apartheid tracks around the world, was by a group from Coventry, England. The Specials got a big hit with Free Nelson Mandela. Amy Winehouse’s rendition closed the concert celebrating Mandela’s 90th birthday in Hyde Park.

• Ivorian reggae artist Alpha Blondy tells it like it is in Apartheid is Nazism.

• Linton Kwesi Johnson with Mi Revalueshanary Fren and Wat About Di Workin Class?

• Zambian rapper Zubz with My Distress.

• Public Enemy with Prophets of Rage.

• Reggie Rockstone’s Keep Your Eyes on the Road.

• Who knew Arsenio Hall could sound so earnest? It’s because he’s introducing Maze and Frankie Beverley with Mandela.

• The Klezmatics and Chava Alberstein with Di Goldene Pave (The Golden Peacock).

• We’ll leave the last word to Bob Marley with Redemption Song.

Rest in peace, Madiba — Africa is a Country.

• The blog Africa is a Country is not about famine, Bono, or Barack Obama. It was founded by South African Sean Jacobs.