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LISTEN: Miriam Makeba's hit song 'Pata Pata' gets reboot for coronavirus

The new version sung by Beninese artist Angelique Kidjo includes lyrics such as, "We need to keep our hands clean so 'no-Pata Pata'... Don't touch your face, keep distance please and 'no-Pata Pata'". Picture: Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

The new version sung by Beninese artist Angelique Kidjo includes lyrics such as, "We need to keep our hands clean so 'no-Pata Pata'... Don't touch your face, keep distance please and 'no-Pata Pata'". Picture: Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

Published Apr 23, 2020

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Washington - The

world-famous song "Pata Pata", a South African dance hit from

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1967, is being re-released with new lyrics to spread information

about coronavirus to vulnerable communities.

Meaning "touch touch" in the Xhosa language, "Pata Pata" was

written by Grammy-winning singer Miriam Makeba who named it

after a dance move popular in Johannesburg at the time.

The new version sung by Beninese artist Angelique Kidjo

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includes lyrics such as, "We need to keep our hands clean

so 'no-Pata Pata'... Don't touch your face, keep distance please

and 'no-Pata Pata'".

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It will be played on more than 15 radio stations across

African countries on Thursday, said the UN Children's Agency

(UNICEF), which organised the release.

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"It sounds so simple and yet it's still really difficult to

get information out to people in the most remote areas or to

people who aren't online," said UNICEF spokesman James Elder.

"Radio does the trick every time," he told the Thomson

Reuters Foundation.

The song is also meant to spread joy in hard times, he said.

It has been called "the world's most defiantly joyful song"

because it represented revelry under apartheid South Africa.

Nicknamed "Mama Africa", Makeba helped popularize music from

the continent worldwide.

She was a friend and mentor to Kidjo, a UNICEF goodwill

ambassador and one of the biggest African celebrities of the

last decade.

African music suffered a blow earlier last month when

Cameroonian jazz icon Manu Dibango died of coronavirus.

"Manu inspired me. Miriam inspired me. And 'Pata Pata' gave

me hope," Kidjo said in a statement.

"'Pata Pata' has always been there for people at a time of

struggle. I hope from our confined spaces we can dance once

more."

This new version of  ‘Pata Pata’ will be free to use. The public is encouraged to submit videos of themselves dancing to ‘Pata-Pata’ by tagging @1unicefafrica on TikTok or @unicefafrica on Instagram with #nopatapata and #healthyathome. The best dance clips will be included in a music video to be released in mid-May.

Thomson Reuters Foundation

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