South African musician Vusi Mahlasela's work was born out of the struggle against apartheid. His song "When You Come Back" was performed at Mandela's 1994 inauguration and was written to the political exiles who escaped South Africa. Mahlasela shares his memories with host Michel Martin.
Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 1:05 pm
This wound up being a spectacular year for elaborate, lavishly packaged reissues. Given all the fabulous classical box sets that appeared this year, you'd think we were in some kind of boom era for music served up on compact discs. (2013? More like 1993.)
We're hearing a song that was popular in South Africa in the 1980s, popular even though it was banned. The song was called "Asimbonanga," which means "We Have Not Seen Him." He was Nelson Mandela, who by then had been in prison for more than two decades. This morning we reached the writer of that song, Johnny Clegg, in South Africa.
Taylor Muse is the 31-year-old bandleader and songwriter of Quiet Company, an indie-rock band from Austin. A native of East Texas raised in a Southern Baptist church, he now reluctantly carries the banner of "that atheist rocker from Austin."
"Every band that I was in up until college was a Christian band," Muse says. "It was part of our identity as people, our identity as a community. It was everything."
And we end this hour with a very different kind of ecstatic voice.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HAPPY")
PHARRELL WILLIAMS: (Singing) Because I'm happy, clap along if you feel like a room without a roof. Because I'm happy, clap along...
SIEGEL: This is the song "Happy" from Pharrell Williams. He sings. He writes. He produces. Williams is also the creative force behind an ambitious new music video, though calling it just a video hardly does it justice.
Dominique Pruitt makes her first appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live at the Culture Center Theater in Charleston, W.V. Pruitt grew up in the San Fernando Valley outside Los Angeles, surrounded by professional musicians, including her parents. When she saw the John Waters film Cry-Baby as a child, she immediately became fascinated with all things '50s, though she grew to love the '40s and '60s, as well.
Steve Lacy used to say that the right partner can help you make music you couldn't get to by yourself. Take the quartet William Parker founded in 2000, for example. Parker's bass tone was always sturdy as a tree trunk, but power drummer Hamid Drake gives him lift. The upshot is that free jazz can swing, too. The quartet's front line is another firm partnership: quicksilver alto saxophonist Rob Brown and flinty trumpeter Lewis Barnes.