In Paul Simon’s Graceland, you can find everything from rock, a cappella, isicathamiya, pop, and mbaqanga. With this CD, Paul Simon hoped to spread world music types to other countries. He wanted to show the world styles of music from other cultures that you don’t hear every day. Warner Bros. Records was tentative in releasing this album at first, seeing as how it was primarily recorded in South Africa, and with some African musicians. However, when the Album was released it was highly praised and became the number one album in many countries and Paul Simon’s best selling CD. Through this album he showed many people the style of African music and a piece of their culture.
Paul Simon got his musical beginnings as a teenager, along with Art Garfunkel, who he partnered with and became very popular. Afterwards he started producing Albums by himself and has made many since. He will occasionally pair back up with Garfunkel for musical performances. He is presently on tour with Art Garfunkel in Australia and New Zealand.
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The Album is very well rounded. It has a little of everything. Some of the songs are slow and flowing. Others are upbeat and catchy. His song “The Boy in the Bubble” almost has a philosophical poetic feeling to it. “You Can Call Me Al” was one of the most popular songs from the album at the time of its release in many countries. “Homeless” is entirely a cappella and features the African singing group, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, and many of the lyrics are African. However, my personal favorite song is “I Know What I Know,” and its charismatic upbeat tune and likeable phrases, “it’s the things I keep in the back of my head.”
For a one sentence summary of the Album: A beautiful, poetic, sympathetic arrangement of musical cacophony and cadence that makes “the days of miracle and wonder” personified in sound.
Paul Simon, Graceland, Warner Bros. Records, 1986.CD.