One of my favourite feelings is the sensation I get right after one sip of a caramel macchiato. The caramel hits first, so sickeningly sweet that my teeth clench and I’m semi-blinded for a micro second. But then there’s hot, bland foam and a sudden hit of a sharp espresso shot. It’s like a candy floss crazed kid suddenly morphing into a bloodshot-eyed banker. And the aftertaste is the uncanny combination of this otherworldly personality, unsettlingly settled. THIS aftertaste is how the bass line on ‘Makeba’ makes me feel.
Last weekend, I got a text message informing me I’d been charged a hundred and twenty rupees for my subscription to Apple Music. Yup, my three month trial period was over and there I was, feeling dutifully bound to press play on Beats 1, standing in a towel, deciding which lucky tune would soundtrack one of my first weekend showers. And ‘Makeba’ was my favourite from Anna Lunoe’s show that (Mumbai) morning and (LA) evening. While obviously a tribute to the musical legacy of Miriam Makeba, the vibe has its own multi-layered sweetness (hence the caramel-inflected gush above, dedicated to its macchiato bass line). It released in June this year, but it’s never too late to discover something fun!
The second verse goes ‘Nobody can beat the Mama Africa/ You will love the beat that she’s gonna give you/ I need a smile you can love/ Make it go, the sufferation of a thousand more’. While I got sufficiently obsessed with Miriam Makeba’s music at university, the three songs that stayed with me were ‘Naughty Little Flea’, ‘Orlando’ and ‘Amampondo’ (apart from the anthemic Pata Pata that everybody knows and loves). Check them out! The bass line in Amampondo thumps in to my stomach lining every time I hear it, along with an ache aligned with my wish to have been around in the Johannesburg of the time – it’s that deep and visceral. The songwriter/singer/beat maker behind this tune, JAIN, hails from Toulouse and interestingly, cites Otis Redding and Nina Simone as influences. Her track ‘Makeba’ has been my cracker this past week – no one can come close to Miriam Makeba’s gentle but powerful style, unique in its ability to awaken something sweetly mellow inside everyone, and this song encapsulates some of the feelings I had when I first heard Miriam’s music. And is an intriguingly wistful yet happy introduction to a past it honours in case you haven’t visited the sounds before.
Check out the Soundcloud link below!