Miriam Makeba – Reflections
(Heads Up – 2004)
by Paula Edelstein
Reflections blends the style, rhythmic charisma and individuality of the great Miriam Makeba on thirteen classic tracks. Included here is her highly successful “Pata Pata” and “The Click Song” in addition to several songs sung in many other languages including her native Xhosa, French, and Portuguese! Joined by some of South Africa’s most stellar artists, Ms. Makeba sings with the passion and fervor of her youth. Most notable is “African Convention,” an upbeat Afro-groove written by ex-husband Hugh Makela, and “Love Tastes Like Strawberries” a pensive ballad from the 60s.
Her expressive bending of pitches (often heard in modern jazz as a hybrid of the so-called “blue note”) has been retained here and the tonal system of African music can be appreciated further especially since the tonal quality and melodic style of African singing ultimately had some impact on jazz, whether sung or played. Memories of her years in exile surface on “I Shall Sing,” and you can literally feel her pain on “Quit It” a song with an anti-drug message which was composed by her late daughter. Miriam Makeba is back on solid ground and sounding better than ever. Reflections is just in time to celebrate the historic ten-year anniversary of the end of apartheid.