Songs for the Road No. 20: A Soundtrack for a Road Trip Through the Namibian Wilderness

by Ekua on December 3, 2012 in Namibia,songs for the road

If you ever find yourself on a Namibian road trip, you’ll want to have a healthy collection of music to accompany you on the long drives. Here are some suggestions:

The Lion Sleeps Tonight by Ladysmith Black Mambazo & the Mint Juleps

Even though jungles are nonexistent in Namibia and lions don’t live in jungles anyway, this song just feels right for a wildlife drive in southern Africa.  After having grown up on The Tokens rendition of this song, I can’t get enough of this more subdued version with compelling a capella background harmonizing by Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

Bushman by Midnite

In this song, Midnite rejects the idea that the ways of Bushmen (in Namibia, they are officially known as the San people) are primitive and suggests that perhaps the “developed” world is where the real savagery happens.  Namibia’s harsh yet beautiful landscape can often leave you reflecting on this subject and the ups and downs of modernity.

African Sunset by Miriam Makeba

Miriam Makeba’s powerful vocals capture the joy of a sunset glow and of finally arriving at your destination after hours on the road. Also check out Zap Mama’s ethereal rendition of African Sunset which incorporates polyphonic pygmy-inspired chanting into a more westernized version of the song.

Wider than the Sky by Quantic

It might be a little counterintuitive, but I find the repetitive nature of Quantic’s songs to be really well-suited for a long drive. It’s the kind of music that makes you bob your head to the pace the road sets while keeping you engaged with your surroundings.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Andi of My Beautiful Adventures December 4, 2012 at 1:53 pm

These are absolutely gorgeous!

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Ekua December 6, 2012 at 4:03 pm

Thanks 🙂

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Sojourner December 4, 2012 at 4:39 pm

I loooooooooooove African Sunset 🙂 I actually met Miriam Makeba a few years back. She was so wonderful. Great list!

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Ekua December 6, 2012 at 4:02 pm

That’s so cool that you got to meet her- she lived quite a life!

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Sunee December 6, 2012 at 6:39 am

And of course, the classic by Toto – Africa.

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Ekua December 6, 2012 at 4:01 pm

Yeah that’s a catchy song, but the 1980s European & American tendency to generalize about Africa irks me. Well-intentioned but bothersome!

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Sensibletraveler December 22, 2012 at 7:25 am

Great list. I had never heard of a couple of the artists, so it’s expanding my musical repertoire is expanding

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Ekua December 22, 2012 at 12:37 pm

Thanks- as much as I can, I try to highlight not so well known artists or unexpected choices in the “songs for the road” series.

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