Meadowlands – Archie Coker & The Meteors
Meadowlands – Archie Coker & The Meteors (When two worlds collide)
There was once a white man who sang like a black man and this made him famous. That was Elvis Presley, but in South Africa in 1962 a white man Archie Coker along with his Meteors took a song and sang like a black man. This has made him somewhat infamous, but, only Archie will know if he was exploiting the song written by Strike Vilakazi for commercial gain and cashing in on the misery of thousands, or if he was adding his voice to the protest that the song grew from.
Meadowlands was a suburb of the newly formed Soweto township and was where those forcefully removed from Sophiatown were relocated to in 1956. The basic message of the song was that the whites are telling us to go to Meadowlands, but we’re not going. Unfortunately history tells a different story.
There are many versions of ‘Meadowlands’ around, including Strike Vilakazi’s original, but I chose this version as it mixes the kwela sound of the townships with the 60’s beat group twanging guitar, creating an interesting fusion of sounds that (politically feelings aside) could have been enjoyed by both sides of the apartheid fence.
Where to find it:
I have not been able to find this on CD, so I guess you’re trawling the second hand vinyl shops again.
There are numerous cover versions of this song including versions by Ratau Mike Makhalemele, The Gugulethu Tenors and Boerequanga.
Otla utlwa makgowa arei
Are yeng ko Meadowlands
Meadowlands sithando sam
Otlwa utlwa botsotsi bare
Ons dak ni ons pola hier
Pola hier pola hier
Pola hier sithando sam
You’ll hear the whites say
Let’s move to Meadowlands
Meadowlands, my love
You’ll hear the tsotsis say
We’re not moving, we’re staying here
Stay here, stay here
Stay here, my love
(written by Strike Vilakazi)