I discovered Africa from a mobile game my son liked playing. Apparently, the song was a hit way back in 1982 when it was released and then attained a resurgence more recently.
The countless covers, from cool to parody, acapella, instrumentals, and choir renditions all pay homage. Even Grammy.com says some scientists laud it as the best song ever! Many other sources exude similar praise.
Africa‘s music, lyrics, and it’s singing feels like a spiritual experience, something deep, evoking yearnings in the heart and blessings pouring from it for and to Africa, whatever that stands for. This is the original music video from 1982.
Of the several beautiful covers I have seen, my absolute favourite is from Weezer featuring Weird Al Yankovic. I love the intro percussion, the cool, blue vibe plus the comical all mixed in.
Usually, I play this cover first, then follow immediately by the original… appetizer and then the main course.
I also love the South African band Wayo’s version and many, many others. Hey, almost everyone wants a stake in Africa! Just check YouTube and you will see.
Africa by Toto is one spiritual song, I mean in the way it makes the heart reach out to joy, freedom, something much more than the present. I don’t say holy or godly, it stops just before we get there, and where it does stop is a place as spiritual as anything close to worship and purity.
I wonder why this is so when I do not understand the song beyond the plain lyrics. Is it a call to emancipate Africa (the people, the continent) or persuade raiders to offer compensation? You can observe this spirituality of which I speak at this concert recording.
Africa was my uplift song of 2020, and so far is my favourite song of 2021.
Fun fact: Namibian-German artist Max Siedentop mounted a sound installation in the Namib Desert to play the song perpetually… to the wind… as long as its power source remains. See story here and here.
P.S. Did the drum intro to the chorus sound inspire Awilo Logomba?