Ray Phiri talks 'Graceland' drama
South African guitarist Ray Phiri has spoken out about working on Paul Simon's 'Graceland' album, which recently celebrated its 25th anniversary.
The Stimela frontman collaborated with Simon on the Grammy-winning album, which is now the subject of a new documentary, 'Under African Skies'. At the time the album was made, Simon broke the ANC's and UN's cultural boycott of apartheid South Africa, resulting in widespread criticism.
Phiri told The Times that he was still hurting over the international reaction to the album.
"I had spoken to the UDF before we became involved. I thought this would have been relayed to the ANC. I didn't jump the fence," he said.
The documentary about the 25th anniversary celebrations of the album will be screened at Encounters Film Festival this month. Directed by American filmmaker Joe Berlinger, it features interviews with high profile celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, Sir Paul McCartney, Hugh Masekela and Phiri himself.
Phiri said that the film was more about Paul Simon's side of the story.
"It's not a South African story. The other individuals haven't started telling their stories yet. All along it's been a one-sided story," he told The Times.
"Simon has his story to explain. But there are lots of gaps and holes. And these gaps are the South African stories. I'm not being disrespectful to Simon."
He also said that he was involved in creating some songs on 'Graceland', such as 'Crazy Love' and 'Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes', but Simon didn't credit him on the album.
"But it's a road I was prepared to walk and to travel on," Phiri told the newspaper. "I don't have hard feelings. Hatred can simply sap your energy. You miss your focus if you focus on the bad energy. I found my closure. We have spoken.
"I know I will one day use Simon to help me and I would like him to jump when I ask. He must not ask why. He must ask how high. And he will."
Date Posted : 04 Jun 2012