Free Nelson Mandela

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Posted: 2009 01-25


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Changing History with Music -- Exhibit A

This was the de facto beginning of the popular awareness of Nelson Mandela’s plight, and by most-important extension, all of South Africa's now-unfathomable apartheid.  And this was not that long ago.  

Written by Jerry Dammers, the bandleader and songwriter of The Specials (that’s him at the keyboards), this song perfectly sums up both the band’s intentions and music’s role in our social, political and human evolution.

"Free Nelson Mandela" is a joyous celebration of hope by a band whose raison d’etre was racial acceptance and merging of the world’s people and music.

This is an early performance of a song that took, at least, Africa and the U.K. by storm in 1984, and its blessed namesake was finally released from prison (after 27 years) not long afterwards (in 1990).

Enjoy the beautiful, uplifting harmonies (don't miss Elvis Costello) and how they blend into the celebratory horns -- that have also just recently been freed again onto the streets of New Orleans.  This is world music, before Peter Gabriel’s WOMAD tours, before Little Steven’s “Sun City,” and before Paul Simon shared the Ladysmith Black Mambazo buzz.

This wing of the U.K.'s music revival in the late 70s has continued to expand and incorporate more and more styles of music to where you can now hear ska-influenced music around the world from folk festivals to Monsters of Rock shows.

Savor here the fruits of music’s labor.  

YouTube Uploader: mike1970c

Special AKA live performance of Free Nelson Mandela on Channel 4's The Tube

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