We went to see the play Familiar, by Danai Gurira, last night at Seattle Rep. (Very good play and production; emotional, funny, cathartic.) At the end of the show, they played a song I recognized but couldn’t quite place, so I SoundHounded it. Turns out it was Emabhaceni by Miriam Makeba, which I knew from the Northern Exposure soundtrack. Curiousity about the artist led me to this Wikipedia page about Makeba, and she sounds phenomenal.
Born in South Africa in 1932; endured untold hardship at an early age; survived an abusive marriage, breast cancer, and cervical cancer; became an international music star; married Hugh Masakela and Stokely Carmichael (at different times, natch); protege of Harry Belafonte; recorded with Belafonte, Nina Simone, and Dizzy Gillespie; UN goodwill ambassador and civil rights activist; died on stage in 2008. What a remarkable, rich life.
So, two things:
- Ain’t the modern age marvelous? Technology enabled a chain of exploration that satisfied my curiosity, enhanced my recall, and led me to an unexpectedly delightful discovery. And this happens all the time, and we take it for granted. Every once in a while it’s nice to acknowledge what marvels we have access to.
- There are so many great life stories to be discovered; I’m inspired by Miriam Makeba’s. Who inspires you?
P.S. Danai Gurira, playwright of Familiar and several other successful plays, is also a kick-ass human with an interesting background. Not only is she an award-winning playwright, she’s an accomplished actress. You may know her as Michone from The Walking Dead or Okoye from Black Panther.