In 1998, through some twist of fate, I was given a free upgrade to first class on a flight from Washington DC to Cape Town. That’s about a 23-hour flight; exactly the kind of flight where you want to be upgraded to first class.
I remember three things about that flight:
- All the complimentary Heineken I could drink.
- Sitting next to a white South African who told me I just had to go to a cricket match during my visit, and predicting that majority rule (i.e. the end of Apartheid) was a very bad thing for the country’s prospects.
- Seeing this video of the song “Strawberries” by Hugh Masekela on the overhead TV in the plane’s cabin — and deciding that I wouldn’t leave South Africa without this CD.
Normally I’m not much for a children’s chorus in a song. It’s a cheap gimmick. (Sorry Pink Floyd, Alice Cooper, and everybody else on this list.) But the soloing on this song is sublime. In particular, the guitar solo by John Selolwane is a fantastic blend of jazz and mbaqanga that shouldn’t exist.
It’s not the most driving song for running, but as a musician, I don’t necessarily need a driving backbeat pounding in my ears in order for me to feel the pulse of a song. Some people need that steady hammer in the head to feel the rhythm. Depending on how you’re counting, this song is either 85 or 170 beats per minute. For my stride and cadence, that’s a medium-speed song.