Graceland Reunion In London
American World Music artist Paul Simon will be headlining at Hard Rock Calling festival on the 15th of July in Hyde Park, London. He will be performing his Grammy Award winning album Graceland (first released in 1986) to celebrate it’s 25th anniversary celebration. Ladysmith Black Mambazo is joining him, a first Graceland reunion in the UK since 1987.
Although a great success since it’s release, Graceland lit up several debates at the time. One concerned the international cultural boycott on South Africa’s apartheid regime; Simon recorded the majority of the album in the country, featuring many South African artists. This was considered by some as a breaking the cultural boycott. The UN Anti Apartheid committee however defended Paul Simon as album displayed the talent of South African artists which was unrelated to the Apartheid regime.
Paul Simon also faced accusations of leading an imperialistic project, where South African artists, who were relatively inexperienced with the international music industry, were ‘used’ and considered as inferior. However, groups such as Ladysmith Black Mambazo were exposed to a global audience due to the success of the album, and have certainly profited form their collaboration with Paul Simon. In fact, the African group went on to release their own album which included collaborations with foreign artists.
With these controversies, Graceland not only drew attention the political situation in South Africa, it was also a launching pad for South African music internationally. The album was also especially influential in the commercialization of World Music; being the first great hit in world music, it opened the doors to a wider audience for the then still small niche of world music lovers.
Here is a trailer about Paul Simon's documentary for Graceland's 25th anniversary: Under the African Sky
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New City Music, Chicago: 'a great showcase of the funky sounds currently made in Crescent City'.
The Guardian, UK, 3*** stars: 'A classy compilation'.
Guardian, UK 4****stars: 'A highly original, compelling set'.
Froots, UK: '... a superb album of an under-represented music ... and comes highly recommended'.