"Graceland"—that's the title of an album recorded last year by popular singer Paul Simon. A few months ago it won the Grammy award from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences in the United States as the best album of the year. Many of the songs are accompanied by African musicians and vocalists. The album is a fusion of Simon's thought-provoking lyrics, vibrant melodies, and the distinctly African rhythms.
Not long before the award was presented for the album, Mr. Simon had taken his music to Africa for a concert in Zimbabwe. After the concert, in an interview reported by The Christian Science Monitor, he remarked: "I could see whites and blacks dancing together. There was a little black baby around a white neck. This is the way it is supposed to be. And obviously, this is the way it can be."
Monitor, February 17, 1987, p. 6.
There's something about music that can cut across all sorts of boundaries and stereotypes. Of course it's not unusual that the native rhythms in Simon's music would have a diverse African audience clapping, cheering, and dancing. What might seem somewhat out of the ordinary, in the climate of the times and in that part of the world, was that so many people in the audience were dancing together. At least for a moment they had joined spontaneously in friendship without particular regard for race, economic status, or political privilege.
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