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Peter Gabriel - Biko CD (album) cover


Peter Gabriel


Crossover Prog

4.03 | 28 ratings

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1. Biko

Peter Gabriel in an interview: "The musical side of the song 'Biko' was inspired by hearing a shortwave Dutch radio station playing the soundtrack to a not very good Stanley Baker epic called Dingaka. There were elements in the choir and grooves which made me want to explore further. I started to listen to various bits of African music.'

The intro and outro are South African funeral music that was used on Biko's funeral, including the words by the crowd singing 'Bakhala uVorster! Ngomhla sibuyayo, kophalal igazi! Ngomhla sibuyayo. Ngomhla sibuyayo. Ngomhla sibuyayo, kophalal igazi!' (intro) and 'Senzeni na! Senzeni na!' (outro), very impressive and it highly contributes to creating a typical African atmosphere.

The music starts with Brazilian drum beats, distorted guitar play and a synthesizer bagpipe sound, this creates a hypnotizing atmosphere with an ominous undertone. Then Peter Gabriel his emotional voice joins: 'Port Elizabeth weather fine. It was business as usual. In police room 619. Oh Biko, Biko, because Biko. Oh Biko, Biko, because Biko. Yihla moja, yihla moja (which means "descending spirit", TYA). The man is dead. The man is dead'.

"Because Biko', brilliant alliteration.

'You can blow out a candle. But you can't blow out a fire. Once the flames begin to catch. The wind will blow it higher.' Wow, what a splendid metaphore and indeed, the Apartheid kept on killing, but in the end that brutal South-Africa government system was stopped, in 1994 Nelson Mandela became the first native president of South- African people, 14 years after the song Biko.

Biko ends with "Oh Oh Oh", it sounds like an archetypical cry for freedom, for justice, what an end, what a song, what a great composer, singer, performer and human being Peter Gabriels is!

2. Shosholoza

"Shosholoza (Go In Peace)" is a song from the movie Dingaka, that delivered Gabriel a few ideas for his song, "Biko." Originally just a chant, Gabriel added music, a fine example of Gabriel his interest in African music, but not really a song with Peter Gabriel vocals.

3. Jetzt Kommt Die Flut

Peter Gabriel used a phonetic transcript, the translations were done by German director and author Horst Konigstein. To me it sounds a bit clinical, it lacks the emotional undertone of the original English lyrics.

TenYearsAfter | 4/5 |


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