LISTEN: Miriam Makeba’s joyful Pata Pata re-recorded to spread information and hope in the time of Covid-19

accreditation
Miriam Makeba and Angélique Kidjo. (Photo: UINCEF, Supplied)
Miriam Makeba and Angélique Kidjo. (Photo: UINCEF, Supplied)

Once called the "world's most defiantly joyful song", Miriam Makeba's Pata Pata has been re-recorded by UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Angélique Kidjo, to spread information and hope in a time of coronavirus. 

Without any alteration to chords or syllables, though with several changes to the lyrics, Pata Pata was be re-released by UNICEF across the globe on Thursday. It has been more than 50 years since the international smash hit first took the world by storm. According to a statement released to the press it does so with full copyright approval. 

LISTEN TO THE SONG HERE:

MIRIAM MAKEBA THE SOUTH AFRICAN ICON'S IMPACT IS STILL FELT TODAY: 

Nicknamed 'Mama Africa', Miriam Makeba was a South African singer and songwriter. She was a United Nations goodwill ambassador who worked on hunger, HIV and domestic violence, as well as a civil rights activist.

Makeba was among the first African musicians to receive worldwide recognition, winning a Grammy in 1965, performing from Johannesburg to New York; Lagos to London. Makeba died in 2008 in Castel Volturno, Italy. She was both a friend and a mentor to Kidjo. 

THE MEANING OF THE SONG: 

Pata Pata literally means 'touch touch' in isiXhosa. The modified version sung by Kidjo includes lines such as: "It's a time to sit it out!/ This is no-pata-pata... Stay at home and wait it out/We need to keep our hands clean/So no-pata pata'/Don't touch your face, keep distance, please."

The song has particular resonance for Kidjo whose friend, Afro-Jazz icon Manu Dibango, died earlier this month from coronavirus.

"Manu inspired me. Miriam inspired me. And Pata Pata gave me hope," said Kidjo. 

The music legend remarked in closing: "We all know what needs to be done, but we also know how much communities are suffering. Pata Pata has always been there for people at a time of struggle. I hope it helps once more. And I hope from our confined spaces we can dance once more."

Compiled by Alex Isaacs

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24