Born in Johannesburg in 1932. Miriam Makeba's (real name Zenzile Makeba) career began when she became a vocalist for The Manhattan Brothers, one of South Africa's most influential vocal groups. Established already for 20 years, the group welcomed Miriam into its fold in the 1950s, with their first Miriam inclusive recording being published in 1953. As a young girl Miriam had never had the intention of becoming a singer, but her exploits in school and church choirs caused many to convince her that she was naturally talented.

In 1956 Miriam wrote and released one of her most recognisable and famous songs, "Pata Pata", although it wasn't until later that it became popular in America. Towards the end of the 1950s The Manhattan Brothers appeared in a musical about a black boxer called "King Kong", featuring Miriam as the female lead. The show became so successful that the group were able to tour England and bring their music to the attention of the white populace who were previously unaware that they existed. They resigned to continue touring England after their political beliefs prevented them from returning to their homeland. This led to opportunities for Miriam to tour Europe and America, where she came to the attention of Harry Belafonte in the 1960s who helped her re-record "Pata Pata" to become an American hit. Still taking her political views seriously, Miriam testified against apartheid and married Stokely Carmicheal, a leader of The Black Panthers, which caused her to be exiled from South Africa and effectively from the U.S. due to government prodding, and so she took refuge in Guinea.

Effectively her American career was destroyed for some decades. Although she had occasional performances in Europe and Africa in the 1970s along with various recordings, it wasn't until Paul Simon's Graceland tour in the late 1980s that she was able to return to the mass public eye. To this day she is known for her strong political views and her style of "world music", so infused with culture from various places that it has become a genre of its own. Truly she is the queen of African music, and a warrior for freedom and racial equality which earned her the Dag Hammerskjold Peace Prize.

1959    Something New From Africa
1959    New Sounds Of Africa
1960    The Many Voices Of Miriam Makeba
1960    Miriam Makeba
1963    The World Of Miriam Makeba
1964    The Voice Of Africa
1965    Makeba Sings
1965    An Evening With Belafonte/Makeba
1966    The Magic Of Makeba
1968    The Best Of Miriam Makeba
1966    The Magnificent Miriam Makeba
19??    Click Song
1967    All About Miriam
1967    Miriam Makeba In Concert
1967    Pata Pata
1968    Makeba
1970    Keep Me In Mind
1973    Forbidden Games
1974    A Promise
19??    Appel A L'Afrique
1975    Myriam Makeba & Bongi
1977    Au Theatre Des Champs-Elysées
1978    Country Girl
1979    Comme Une Symphonie d'Amour
1988    Sangoma
1990    Kilimanjaro - Live In Conakry
1991    Miriam Makeba
1991    Eyes On Tomorrow
1991    The Queen Of African Music
1991    Miriam Makeba And The Skylarks Vol.1
1991    Africa
1992    The Best of Miriam Makeba And The Skylarks
1993    Sing Me A Song
1994    Folk Songs From Africa
1996    En Public A Paris Et Conakry
1997    Miriam Makeba And The Skylarks Vol.2
2000    Homeland
2001    The Very Best Of Miriam Makeba    Manteca
2001    The Guinea Years
2001    Legend - Miriam Makeba
2002    Miriam Makeba
2002    An Evening With Belafonte & Makeba
2002    Miriam Makeba - The Definitive Collection
2002    The Early Years

Everything2 editor's note: Ms Makeba died in Caserta, Italy, on November 9, 2008

Sources: - Discography - Some biographical info

"jessicapierce says Hey I notice you don't have Miriam Makeba's album titled simply "Africa" in your list. It may have been released under a different name, I suppose, but it definitely exists - it's one of my favorite albums." - Thanks!

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