Mama Africa: Celebrating Miriam Makeba

Curated and presented by Angelique Kidjo with special guests Vieux Farka Toure, Baaba Maal, Asa, Vusi Mahlasela, Sayon Bamba, Dobet Gnahore & South African chorus

21 November 2009 / 20:00


 Sold out

'I just told the world the truth, and if the truth then becomes political, I can't do anything about that’ Miriam Makeba, 2000

Curated and presented by Angelique Kidjo
Featuring special guests Vieux Farka Toure, Baaba Maal, Asa, Vusi Mahlasela, Sayon Bamba, Dobet Gnahore & South African chorus

The spirit of Africa’s best-known voice, Miriam Makeba lives on in this all-star celebration curated by another giant of African song, Benin-born Angelique Kidjo.

Mama Africa brings together some of the finest vocal talent the continent has to offer to pay tribute to Makeba who died last year at the age of 76.

The former Johannesburg club singer became a voice for the anti-apartheid struggle in her native South Africa, yet was exciled for 31 years under the regime. Fortunately, her extraordinarily pure voice and the fame of hits like Pata Pata , Westwinds and The Click Song endured and she returned at the personal request of Nelson Mandela, touring extensively around the globe until her death in 2008.

From Cotonou in Benin, stunning singer-songwriter Angelique Kidjo is one of West Africa's most celebrated artists - the experience of her live performance unforgettable. She's collaborated with Carlos Santana, Herbie Hancock, Branford Marsalis, Alicia Keys, Peter Gabriel, Amadou and Mariam and many more.

Tonight's incredible line-up also includes Senegalese master musician Baaba Maal, Barbican new-comer, Nigerian soul-pop singing sensation Asa (who has opened concerts for both Beyonce and Snoop Dogg) and South Africa's 'The Voice' Vusi Mahlasela, celebrated for his distinct, powerful voice and poetic, optimistic lyrics. Plus Guinean singer Sayon Bamba and the Ivory Coast's singer, dancer and percussionist Dobet Gnahore both making their Barbican debuts.

An extraordinary opportunity to re-live the music of Africa's greatest voice.

FreeStage pre-show: Jay Phelps (2pm); Femi Tomowo (4pm); Roy Nathanson (6pm)

Miriam Makeba - South African legend

Miriam Makeba - Pata Pata

'Her spirit is irrepressible, and she brings life to everything she touches'
Peter Gabriel on Angelique Kidjo

Angelique Kidjo singing Malaika

Vieux Farka Toure - Ana

'I want my music to touch people. As an African...I want to show the world that something beautiful and positive can come out of the black continent and inspire young people all over the world.' Asa

Asa - Fire on the Mountain

'If Mahlasela embodies his country’s spirit, there is plenty of cause for hope'
The Times

Vusi Mahlasela - When You Come Back

'Baaba Maal is one of the most intense and creative musicians of his generation'
The Times

Baaba Maal - African Woman

'One of the new-generation African artists who are rewriting the rules about respecting musical tradition... a cultural ambassador... scintillating performer'
Boston Herald on Dobet Gnahore

The Nelson Mandela Children's Fund UK will have charity collections at "Mama Africa: Celebrating Miriam Makeba."

Raise more than a smile this Christmas!

Make sure your Christmas cards get delivered on time by sending a digital greeting card that supports the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund (UK) to your friends, family and cilents.

Every card sent raises at least £1 for our work in South Africa.

For more information visit

From our friends...

War Child presents

Alison Balsom in concert
with special guests Just Jack, Fyfe Dangerfield (Guillemots) and more
Sat 28 Nov
The Bloomsbury Ballroom
Victoria House
Bloomsbury Square
London WC1B 4DA

War Child has been working with children affected by war for almost 15 years. Book now for this special event.

Download free app Download the free London
Jazz Festival iPhone app

Are you on Facebook?
Join our page!

Produced by the Barbican
Part of London Jazz Festival in association with BBC Radio 3
Commissioned by Festival d'Ile de France


why not try

Architecture on Stage: Angela Deuber
11 Sep 17 / Frobisher Auditorium 1
Information info