Angelique Kidjo has been on a tear of interpretation lately—she doesn't “cover” songs, she takes them apart, reworks them and teases out the inherently African nature behind tunes from Celia Cruz or an album by Talking Heads. So when she comes across a beloved, unshakably African hit? She reworks it for public health.
Miriam Makeba's 1967 hit song “Pata Pata” is just about as beloved as a song can be, so it may be the perfect conduit to remind people what they can do to stop the spread of coronavirus, which is why UNICEF broadcasted Kidjo's “Pata Pata” rework via more than 15 radio stations across the continent. It might seem silly, but Vietnam used songs and posters (and, it must be said, lots of screening and targeted lockdowns), and the country has so far avoided any deaths from COVID-19.
Kidjo was preparing for big birthday concert at Carnegie Hall before lockdown and instead will perform as part of “Live With Carnegie Hall” streaming live on Tues., April 28 at 2 p.m. EST. Wash your hands, and check it out!