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iTunes Review

In many ways, Miriam Makeba’s Sangoma is an album of both personal and historic significance. This collection of traditional Xhosa tribal songs was recorded in 1988, two years before the singer’s triumphant return to her native South Africa at the end of the apartheid era. By that time, Makeba had transcended her importance as an international pop star to become a Pan-African cultural ambassador. Not surprisingly, Sangoma is both an homage to the past and a salute to a new world about to dawn. Makeba’s trademark vocal command and dexterity is largely intact from her younger days, filling these tracks with a keening longing and boundless sense of joy. Singing most of her own background vocals, she interweaves soaring counterpoints against minimal percussion. Highlights here include the stirring “Ngalala Phantsi,” the celebratory “Angilalanga,” and the subdued, poignant “Congo.” At times (as in “Mabhongo”), Makeba has a regal bearing; at others (“Ngiya Khuyeka”), she sounds as carefree as a child. It’s worth noting that a sangoma is a spirit-channeling tribal healer — an appropriate name for an album that exorcizes painful ghosts and touches the sublime.

Customer Reviews

Mama Africa

Hey what can I say? It's Mama Africa! I am from South Africa myself so I can sort of understand some of the words. I love the beats, the rhythm and the energy she puts into her songs. It's like she wants to let the world know that she is alive and rearing and she puts it all into her songs. I love the vocals and the use of tone. But hey it's Mama Africa! :P


I remember this album from 20 years ago. I had to special order it from a mom & pop store This music changed my life. I was a small town girl wanting to know what was out there and with the help of Paul Simon and his music, I found it. I can sing to every song on this incredible ablum, do I have any idea what she is saying? No, I don't need to. All of these songs are paintings. You can actually see these songs in your head. Well at least I can. How about Ingwemabala, I have always seen a brown oak leaf floating in the wind. Everytime a wave of sound comes up and then realease the leaf back down only to take it back up again. This is a blessing as most music is, I am greatful to be in this time to hear this music.


wow. Sangoma is a very magical mixture of songs . I love Miriam Makeba. She bring so much of african spirit into her songs. I myself am African from Kenya and even though im only 13 i have loved her and her songs for may year now. It is an amazing mixture of tribal songs with brought up beats.


Born: March 4, 1932 in Johannesburg, South Africa

Genre: Africa

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Following a three-decade-long exile, Miriam Makeba's return to South Africa was celebrated as though a queen was restoring her monarchy. The response was fitting as Makeba remains the most important female vocalist to emerge out of South Africa. Hailed as the Empress of African Song and Mama Africa, Makeba helped bring African music to a global audience in the '60s. Nearly five decades after her debut with the Manhattan Brothers, she continues to play an important role in the growth of African music....
Full Bio
Sangoma, Miriam Makeba
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  • $9.99
  • Genres: World, Music, Africa, South Africa, Rock
  • Released: Jan 15, 1988

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