From "Noma Kumnyama" to "Pata Pata": a history

  • Rob Allingham Social Anthropology and Ethnomusicology at The School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London

Abstract

Miriam Makeba's 1967 recording of "Pata Pata" represents the commercial apex of this iconic artist's long career. For over forty years, the record has enjoyed a high profile, international popularity thanks to continual radio airplay, ongoing physical sales and more recently, internet downloads, both paid-for and unpaid. However, "Pata Pata" is not without its own historical and structural anomalies, for it is in fact a combination of two separate original melodies derived from two completely different sources. The first eight bar melodic phrase in "Pata Pata" comes directly from an earlier song entitled "Noma Kumnyama" (Zulu: "Even If It's Dark") by the Dundee Wandering Singers, an mbube group led by Alson Novemu Mkhize.

References

Erlmann, Veit 1996 Nightsong, Chicago: University of Chicago Press
Makeba, Miriam 1987 Makeba My Story, New York: New American Library
2004 The Miriam Makeba Story, Johannesburg: STE Publishers
Tracey, Hugh 1948 "Lalela Zulu " 100 Zulu Lyrics, Cape Town: African Music Society
Trewhela, Ralph 1980 Song Safari - A Journey Through Light Music In South Africa, Johannesburg: Limelight Press
Whitbura, Joel 1992 The Billboard Book of USA Top 40 Hits, New York: Guinness Publishing
No author 1959 Zonk, July

Interview

Msomi, Reggie 2004 Interview with author, 2 June, Umtentwini, KZN
Published
2009-11-30
How to Cite
Allingham, R. “From "Noma Kumnyama" to "Pata Pata": A History”. African Music: Journal of the International Library of African Music, Vol. 8, no. 3, Nov. 2009, pp. 117-31, doi:https://doi.org/10.21504/amj.v8i3.1831.