The opening melody of ‘Graceland’ never fails to send a shiver down my spine. For me the eponymous album is one of the greatest ever made. It’s truly uplifting music, music that not only fuses musical traditions from Middle America and South Africa, but also merges deep, soulful, transformational melodies with the most addictive, toe-tappingly danceable pop. It’s a work of collaboration, and one of genius.
So I was delighted to find that Under African Skies, a documentary about Simon’s return to South Africa after 25 years, was available on the BBC iPlayer – here. I knew that the documentary had premiered at the London Sundance Festival, and had been looking forward to getting it – but didn’t expect to find it for free.
Watch it if you can (UK residents only I think) – it’s a fascinating story, featuring interviews with most of the main participants from the original recording and subsequent tour, and exploring the controversy that surrounded the album’s release. But it’s also a chance just to hear those brilliant songs again.