Paul Simon’s ‘Graceland’ album performed live by Bwani Junction
Bwani Junction Cover Paul Simon’s Graceland In Full With Original Recording Musicians!
Graceland by Paul Simon, of Simon & Garfunkel, is an album lauded for its importance in popularising world-music. Recorded partly in South Africa during the years of apartheid using local black musicians, the record attracted a large amount of controversy, but in the year of its 30th anniversary, enough time has passed that it’s now possible to appreciate it in simpler terms: as the masterclass in songwriting and story-telling that it truly is.
Among the plethora of artists heavily influenced by Paul Simon is Bwani Junction, an indie/roots band from Edinburgh, Scotland. Having self-released two well received albums themselves, they decided on a project to cover one classic album from start to finish.
In July of 2015, they enlisted the help of a local brass group, and accordian player Phil Cunningham to recite Graceland from start to finish at a tiny Edinburgh venue. In the crowd that evening was Celtic Connections founder and organizer Donald Shaw, who was so impressed that he snapped them up on the spot to perform at his festival.
This second performance took place at the much more grandiose Old Fruit Market in Glasgow on January 23rd with a 1200 strong audience, and starred three of the musicians Paul Simon worked with during Graceland’s recording. Diane Garisto, who most notably dueted with Simon on Under African Skies, Barney Rachabane, a highly successful jazz saxophonist, and Morris Goldberg, the man who played the whistle solo on You Can Call Me Al, all flew into Scotland days before getting on stage.
Of Paul Simon, Rachabane has previously said, “At a time when there was apartheid in South Africa and blacks like me were nothing but just labourers, he saw beyond that and gave Africans an opportunity to showcase to the world and break the circle of apartheid.”