South African Songstress Miriam Makeba Dies

News has come in from Italy this morning that prominent South African singer Miriam Makeba has passed away today from an apparent heart attack. Makeba, who collapsed while exiting the stage right after performing in Southern Italy, essentially died doing what she loved most--singing. She was 76-years-old.

Widely revered by many as the voice of the South African struggle during its apartheid years, Makeba's music stirred millions of blacks to fight for their independence across the entire continent of Africa. (That's right Sarah Palin, Africa is a continent, not just a country) She not only had a beautiful voice, but also a certain grace to her that made her songs and albums so enjoyable.

Her passing today is sad, but I've been listening to her albums on vinyl this morning and so much of it is uplifting, that it just makes you want to smile instead of mourn. Her music has always had that quality.

Above is a rare video of her performing live in Stockholm, Sweden from 1966. It gives a glimpse of the rebelliousness in her music which caused her songs to be banned from the airwaves in 1976. She was kicked out of her own country shortly afterward and lived mostly in exile for the remainder of her life. Throughout it all, she always fought for what was right, and she'll be sorely missed.

--Jonathan Cunningham

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Jonathan Cunningham