Saturday, November 22, 2008

Miriam Makeba (1932 - 2008)

Miriam Makeba, perhaps the most famous exponent of world music passed away performing on stage in Italy, the victim of a heart attack at the age of 76. Ms. Makeba's career began with the Manhattan Brothers in South Africa. Ms. Makeba was forced to leave South Africa due to her opposition to the racist oppressive Aparthied regime, especially after one of her recordings "Beware Voerwoed" gained international attention. In her lifetime Ms. Makeba was married to two equally famous spouses; Hugh Masekela, South Africa's internationally acclaimed trumpet and flugelhorn player then Trinidadian Civil Rights activist Stokely Carmichael. Makeba's marriage to the later put her on the FBI's blacklist and forced the couple to live in Guinea. The FBI deliberately set out to destroy Makeba's career in The United States, making it illegal to play any of her material on the airwaves. She also was denied any performing venue within the United States.
At this time Miriam Makeba was celebrating her biggest hit "Pata, Pata" In spite of this harsh character assassination Ms. Makeba still prevailed, as time went by the demand for her music steadily grew even though she could not perform in the USA. This only seemed to make her even more popular outside the US where she was known for such classics as "The Click Song", "Can't Cross Over", "Be Humble" and "Maliaka". Miriam Makeba (a.k.a. Mama Africa) and her music will live on forever in the hearts of millions around the world who adored her.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Obama Wins Big!!!

Barack Obama is now President-elect Obama with a larger than expected victory over Arizona senator John McCain. Mr. Obama became the first-ever elected African-American president. Throughout the campaign Mr. Obama never made race an issue and became president primarily because most Americans, black and white felt that he would be best suited to tackle the nation's most serious problem....the economy. Early on the pundits said that he could never carry the south and still win, but he did just that. He didn't win the south but he made serious inroads taking Florida, Viginia and North Carolina. This combined with taking the states with huge electoral votes, New York, California, Illinois made his victory a landslide. Two states that went to Bush in 2004 Indiana and Nevada were in the Obama column in 2008.
The voters judged Obama by the "content of his character and not by the color of his skin." Obama began this campaign in Iowa, a state with a 97% white population. Nationally Obama attracted the same percentage (44%) of white voters that John Kerry
had in 2004. The right wingers threw everything they had a him but nothing stuck (His middle name Hussein means that he is a muslim, he went to school in an anti-American madrassa in Indonesia, he never repudiated the Anti-American remarks of his
pastor of 20 years Jeremy Wright, he "palled around" with a known revolutionary (Ayers) who blew up buildings, he didn't wear an American flag on his lapel) Across the country McCain and Palin tolerated blatantly racist remarks by their supporters at rallies. Finally when McCain did come to Obama's defense he was soundly booed.
President-elect Obama's victory was an historic event and a proud one for the United States because now any black parent can tell his or her child that they can be what they want to be as long as they are willing to work hard for it. You can even be president. McCain in his own words ended his chances of winning this election when he said earlier "I don't know much about the economy" and "I voted with
President Bush 90% of the time"
Obama's election is NOT going to solve ALL of the nation's problems, but at least we can say we believe that we are going in another direction. There has been a rise in Klan membership and skinhead activity. This is something to be expected because whenever there are hard times racism rears its ugly head, but fortunately most of America is behind Mr. Obama and that could make all the difference.

Dee Dee Warwick (1945 - 2008)

It is with regret we acknowledge the passing of Dee Dee Warwick. Ms. Warwick was the younger sister of famed vocalist Dionne Warwick. She expired at a New Jersey nursing home. Dee Dee didn't have a "commercial" voice like that of her multi-grammy award winning sister but it can be said that she was among the best female R&B performers of her era. Dee Dee's biggest hit was "She Didn't Know (She Kept On Talking) but she also was famous for the original version of "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me", which was also recorded by Madeline Bell and became a #2 smash for Diana Ross and The Supremes with The Temptations. Other Dee Dee Warwick gems were "Yours Until Tomorrow", "I Wanna Be With You" and "I Haven't Got Anything Better To Do". My favorite Dee Dee Warwick recording was "Foolish Fool" penned by Ed Townsend (of "For Your Love" fame). Ms. Warwick did not like the song and did not want to record it and nearly walked out of the studio in protest. Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed and next to "She Didn't Know" this was her biggest hit. In 2007 Chaka Khan recorded an updated version of this R and B classic. Dee Dee Warwick like her sister Dionne, Cissy Houston, Whitney Houston and Darlene Love all have a connection to the
gospel group The Drinkard Singers.