Under African Skies

There are so many things to love about today’s song. Paul Simon’s Graceland was a cultural phenomenon and it is filled with some of the most amazing blends of musical styles and cultural references. That doesn’t even speak to its lyrics, which are, in my opinion, unparalleled.  The way Paul Simon weaves a tale in and out of his lyrical stanzas really floors me, because even if the story doesn’t speak to you, I think the emotion intended will.  Anyway, there are so many great songs on Graceland and I’ve enjoyed it for years, but it wasn’t until I saw the recent documentary, “Under African Skies” that I understood the political and cultural significance of Graceland’s creation, and subsequent accolades.  Traveling to South Africa during this time as an artist was defying a cultural boycott and Simon was met with discontent and troubles from many factions of the political climate in South Africa. Anyway, I highly recommend watching this film as it is a very interesting look at 1980s South Africa.

The other treat on this particular track is that Paul Simon is accompanied by Linda Ronstadt. Her harmonies are beautiful and like with Art Garfunkel, her voice sounds like it is made to go with Paul Simon’s. She recently revealed that her Parkinson’s diagnoses has rendered her unable to sing.  For me, that gives this song an additional layer of emotion. Her voice, in its prime, was glorious.

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