There is no question that Paul Simon's 'Graceland' album is one of the best albums of the 20th century and completely transformative for a variety of reasons. Winning Grammys for Best Album in 1987, and for Record of the Year in 1988, this record alone helped popularize African music in the Western World. It also helped Simon get through one of the toughest times in his life and his career in the wake of severe depression.
This opening in particular makes our Snapshot list because of the striking visuals of South African life at the time. With Apertheid as a dark undercurrent, the music took on a different feeling and meaning. Simon's inspiration was South African township music, so the whole foundation of the album was a stark contrast to the physical location of the performance as a whole.
The album and performance itself was fraught with controversy when it came out - mainly because there were a variety of United Nations bans and sanctions on the country due to Apartheid. One Resolution specifically stated that all artists, writers, and other personalities were to boycott the nation. Simon, however, would have none of it. He followed his artistic instincts to work with South African artists that originally had inspired him to create the album. What you see here are a variety of musicians that were exiled from the region at the time, including Hugh Masekela and Miriam Makeba, in addition to the incredible collaboration with the extraordinary ten-man a cappella choir Ladysmith Black Mambazo.
If you haven't heard this record in its entirety, or seen this performance, drop everything and watch it now.
Where to watch: https://letterboxd.com/film/paul-simon-graceland-the-african-concert/
Listen to the album: https://music.apple.com/us/album/graceland-25th-anniversary-deluxe-edition/581741456
Every Monday and Wednesday, SCORE CUE SNAPSHOTS brings you iconic scenes married to the corresponding score cue without dialogue and SFX, thus allowing anyone to appreciate how the score works with what you see unfold on-screen.