July 8, 2009

Simphiwe Dana – The Political South African Diva


The vibrant voice of this South African woman makes me remember some soul and jazz divas. But the sound of Xshosa, the language she uses in her lyrics, and her unusual rhythmic patterns, are the best proof of her music's African essence. Regarded by some critics as the Miriam Makeba´s successor, Simphiwe Dana uses a poetic and political tone in some of her lyrics just like Makeba. The following verse, which belongs to the song Bantu Biko Street (a tribute to the killed anti-apartheid leader Stephen Biko), is an example of her talent:

“Bantu Biko Street is the only street paved with our hopes and dreams, a golden highway which exists first in our minds”

I really loved the following song when I discovered it. The rythmic changes (with continuous rhythmic variations) and the background female voices, which appear surprisingly in the beginning, had an unexpected effect on me. I wish it was longer, but I really like it anyway.


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