I like to call him the little man with a big smile made a dent in the world of music and international relations.
Paul Simon at one point in his life was experiencing multiple setbacks. He was involved in a relationship and was married while touring, with no time to spend cultivating the marriage, it suffered.. Overworked and under pressure he at the same time produced an album that he did not have the drive to promote and it also failed. His personal and professional life both plummeted at the same time.
Taking some time off, he drove often to Long Island, listening to a tape given to him by a friend. Soon it became his favorite, but it had no label.. Curious, he did some research and found it was from an African band. Paul was longing for a change from Folk Rock and had a desire to broaden his scope. A spark ignited in his mind.
Something on that tape spoke to him and he traveled to South Africa and immersed himself in all that was good and positive in the nation under such terrible oppression. According to Paul he "learned to listen on a level you never experienced before".
From professional and personal failures grew a tremendous cross-cultural education album called "Graceland". Countless millions of albums sold. People globally shared in African music and learned respect of a people who through such poverty and pain could still have such joy. The music was a common language that is Paul said "created an unusual degree of understanding among people who just met".
That was nearly 3 decades ago, and the message still shines like the diamonds in the soles of her shoes. Thanks Paul.
Watch the whole song HERE