Earlier in March, Paul Simon announced his triumphant return to the UK as part of the Hard Rock Calling festival in London’s Hyde Park on July 15. It was further revealed that to mark the 25th anniversary of 1986’s ground-breaking Graceland, Simon would be reunited on stage with Ladysmith Black Mambazo to play the record in its entirety along with a sprinkling of classic hits.
It is 25 years since the first sold-out Graceland tour at the Royal Albert Hall – a visit blighted by controversy surrounding Simon’s breaking of the ANC (African National Congress) cultural boycott of apartheid-era South Africa and legal disputes over musical credit and recognition on the album. Despite the initial opposition, Graceland went on to sell 14 million copies globally and is recognised as a seminal release that greatly influenced future cross-cultural music projects, whilst launching the careers of several featured artists, including Ladysmith Black Mambazo.
In addition to the tour, Simon will be releasing a special 25th anniversary edition of Graceland on June 5. Available in a number of forms including a collector’s edition box set containing a re-mastered original album, the Under African Skies documentary film with extended interviews, and the original 1987 African Concert from Zimbabwe. The box set also features the audio narrative The Story of ‘Graceland’ as told by Simon.
Supporting Paul Simon will also be the wonderful Alison Krauss & Union Station featuring renowned dobra player Jerry Douglas.
Below is a performance from 2007 of ‘Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes’ – a recreation of the classic performance from Saturday Night Live in 1986.