, the iconic world music album in which Paul Simon's
snatched up a Grammy for Album of the Year in 1986, sticks out as one of the greatest albums of all time. There's an almost mythical quality to its' creation. Looking to revive his career, Simon headed to South Africa...a process that is now documented in the film Under African Skies
, which premiered at Sundance in honor of the 25th anniversary of the album.
In this preview of the documentary, Simon, along with various musicians and record execs, discuss the blending of national styles and the influence of American pop on South African music. According to Simon, "I was taking absurdist lyrics which I thought had no place with this rhythm track, and finally saying...well, maybe it does have a place." David Byrne, Vampire Weekend, and Oprah also lend their thoughts, explaining Graceland
and its' impact on 80s music culture as well as their personal lives. Have a look.
During his distinguished career Paul Simon has been the recipient of many honors and awards including 12 Grammy Awards, three of which ("Bridge Over Troubled Water", "Still Crazy After All These Years" and "Graceland") were albums of the year. In 2003 he was given a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award for his work as half of the duo Simon and Garfunkel. He is a member of The Songwriters Hall of Fame, a recipient of their Johnny Mercer Award and is in the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Simon and Garfunkel and as a solo artist. His song "Mrs. Robinson" from the motion picture "The Graduate" was named in the top ten of The American Film Institute's 100 Years 100 Songs. He was a recipient of The Kennedy Center Honors in 2002 and was named as one of Time Magazine's "100 People Who Shape Our World" in 2006. In 2007, Mr. Simon was awarded the first annual Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. Named in honor of the legendary George and Ira Gershwin, this newly created award recognizes the profound and positive effect of popular music on the worlds culture, and is given annually to a composer or performer whose lifetime contributions exemplify the standard of excellence associated with the Gershwins. In 2011 Mr. Simon was elected to The American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Of Mr. Simon's many concert appearances he is most fond of the two concerts in Central Park in New York (with his partner and childhood friend Art Garfunkel in 1981 and as a solo artist in 1991) and the series of shows he did at the invitation of Nelson Mandela in South Africa: the first American artist to perform in post-apartheid South Africa. In 1998, his performance on center field at Yankee Stadium celebrating the unveiling of Joe DiMaggios monument is a treasured memory for this lifelong Yankees fan.
Paul Simon's philanthropic work includes the co-founding of The Children's Health Fund with Dr. Irwin Redlener. The CHF donates and staffs mobile medical vans that bring health care to poor and indigent children in urban and rural locations around the United States. Since its inception in 1986 it has provided over 3 million doctor/patient visits. In the wake of Hurricanes Andrew and Katrina it was the primary health care source for those communities decimated by the storms. Mr. Simon has also raised millions of dollars for worthy causes as varied as AMFAR, The Nature Conservancy, The Fund for Imprisoned Children in South Africa and Autism Speaks and The Joe Torre Safe At Home Foundation.
Source: Artist Site