Anti-Party In Practice

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<p>In 2012, Paul Simon Norway met with the musicians from the Graceland album , and they played a lot of the music from that particular album. The album came out in 1986, and although it was subsequently hailed as a masterpiece, there was great controversy around it when it came out.</p>
<p>Due to the inhuman apartheid regime, it was the full boycott of South Africa in the mid-1980s. When Paul Simon went there to collaborate with South African musicians, he received a lot of pepper from the ANC (African National Congress for whom Nelson Mandela worked) as well as other anti-party activists. The concerts in the wake of the <a  href=''>record release</a> were accompanied by insane demonstrations, in some places even hand grenades and bomb threats. The security checks at the concerts were extreme. The opponents of Simon had a strong case and they had good arguments. Boycott is a boycott, we can not make exceptions, it’s no longer a boycott.</p>
<p>History has shown that the total boycott of South Africa worked. The world could condemn the governance morally as much as it wanted, but it helped a little. There is money that screams the highest. At times the regime fell. Simon’s breach of the boycott did not spoil it, because it was never his intention.</p>
<p>What was his purpose? Well, simply making music. Simon had no political agenda, he just wanted to make a plate. Graceland can be seen as antiapartity in practice. Simon would cooperate with black South Africans on equal terms. The fact that he had no political agenda makes this aspect even stronger, even more convincing. There was no “I must cooperate with the poor, oppressed people to support their case” attitude, he wanted a collaboration of purely artistic reasons, without being involved in politics. Naively, yes, but equality in practice.</p>
<p>The story has not only shown that boycott worked, it has also shown that Paul Simon’s plate Graceland is a tough masterpiece in popular music history, a classic and a little piece of pioneer work. Maybe it was not right what he did, but the jam I’m glad he did it anyway. The world would have been a poorer place without Graceland .</p>
<p>Now it’s almost 30 years since the album came out, Paul Simon has been in South Africa and talked to the ANC, messed up, you can say. It was filmed and found on the documentary Under African Skies , which was broadcast on NRK. It is also to be found as part of the newly released jubilee edition of Graceland disc.</p>
<p>The Graceland tour, where Simon received sizes like Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masekela, and Ladysmith Black Mambazo choir , despite the protests, went their victory over the world. Unfortunately, they did not play in South Africa since Miriam Makeba did not have an entry permit in his own country of origin. The closest they came to was Zimbabwe, and the concert they made there was filmed and released on DVD ( Graceland, The African Concert ). I hope publishers know their visit time and print this in a new edition.</p>
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Oslo Spektrum, Tuesday, July 24, 2012, confronting with joy, I am almost in front of the scene and see and hear the music that has been so important to my youth and my adult life. Miriam Makeba died in 2008, but otherwise they were there, most of whom participated in the 1987 tour. The African musicians made several solo songs, and one of the many highlights for me was Hugh Masekela’s intense Stimela (Coal Train) . This became more like a work than a song, he told, sang, groaned, played, shouted and grunted so we both saw, heard and smelled the train thundered through the African landscape, heading to the mines in South Africa, where the miners climbed far below the ground, far away from their loved ones, to their dark world of dust and narrow times with dangers around every corner.

Of course, South Africa’s political progress was celebrated at this concert, it would just be missing. 25 years have passed, and the incredible happened: Nelson Mandela is set free and the black South Africans have been granted rights in their own country. If Paul Simon can be a part of it all, I’m quite convinced that he was a positive driver rather than the opposite.