Miriam Makeba – The World Of Miriam Makeba

By bringing popular African sounds to massive western audiences during the 60s, Miriam Makeba became the most important female vocalist to emerge from South Africa. The World Of Miriam Makeba, her third album, features her soon-to-be husband, Hugh Masekela, as conductor of the orchestra.

When compared to the original pressing, Speakers Corner’s newly remastered version stands out for its level of stark clarity. On “Forbidden Games,” a Spanish guitar line sits alongside basic percussion with a quiet precision that exudes textural details absent on the original. Such concentration on informational extraction is enhanced, via this new stereo version, by a broad-brushed soundstage that allows instruments more room to breathe. When a drum solo comes to fore on “Pole Mze,” for example, it resonates with a deep, throbbing sound notable not so much for its resident power but its physical potential. The drum skin’s give is readily apparent.

Vocally, Makeba is clear and concise. A slight hardening within the upper-midrange regions makes itself known but seems more a facet of the original recording. That said, Makeba’s fine vocal performance might challenge brighter hi-fi rigs. Even so, the singing is more enjoyable here than on the original. And on “Umhome,” the new master reveals wide, dynamic improvements with sculpted ambience that reflects the backing instrumentalists’ understated albeit perceptible preparation. You can hear their careful shuffling, breathing, and adjusting.

Featuring admirable reproduction of the original packaging, Speakers Corner’s LP is both faithfully considered and wonderfully enthralling. Paul Rigby

Speakers Corner, 180g LP