Pata Pata was the signature song of South African pop singer Miriam Makeba. She hit number 12 on the US Billboard Hot 100 charts in 1967 with the Xhosa-language international hit song. The song and it's name (which means Touch Touch) were inspired by a style of dance popular in Johannesburg. A couple years before her massive international hit she became the first African to win a Grammy Award, which she won alongside Harry Belefonte for their 1965 album An Evening With Belefonte/Makeba. Makeba is considered to be one of the first African musicians to achieve worldwide popularity, and she was well-known as a symbol of the anti-apartheid movement. She was born in Johannesburg, and was singing professionally there by the early 1950's when she around 20 years old. In 1956 she had a solo hit single in South Africa with Angel Eyes - the song was also released in English and became the first South African song to chart on the US Billboard Hot 100. In 1959 she briefly appeared in the anti-apartheid film Come Back, Africa, which led to concert engagements in London and New York City. In 1960 she moved to New York, and she recorded her first two solo albums there that year. Later that year when she tried to return to South Africa for her mother's funeral the government refused her entry. Makeba had originally recorded Pata Pata in the 1950's with her girl group The Skylarks, but her most popular and well-known version of the song was recorded in the United States for her 1967 studio album of the same name. The following year, in 1968, exiled Makeba married Stokely Carmichael, a leader of the Black Panthers Party, which brought on a backlash in the United States. Before long, when she was traveling outside of the US, her visa was revoked, causing her and Carmichael to settle down in Guinea. In her remarkable life she had numerous marriages, including to famous South African trumpeter Hugh Masekela. In 2008, just after performing Pata Pata in Italy, the 76-year old anti-apartheid and civil rights icon collapsed on stage and died after an apparent heart attack.
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