How Paul Simon 'shaped' the world?
A musical career that has exceeded 7 decades.
From playing a production of Alice in Wonderland, when he first met Art Garfunkel at the age of 11 to the final concert of his last tour on the 22nd of September, in New York at the age of 76; Paul Simon is a genius and a legend, to say the least.
Known for his politically engaged songwriting from the time that he started composing songs in the 1960s; Simon did something that only a few artists had done before when he released his seventh solo studio album, 'Graceland' in 1986.
Though the album was quite controversial, it is often referred as his 'masterpiece', for which he won a Grammy for Album of the Year.
One of the reasons why 'Graceland' brought forth a series of discussions is the kind of music that was showcased by Simon. As a part of his study in South Africa, he was inspired by a tape of 'Township Jive' dance music; which he blended with his own song writings along-with the zydeco rhythms from Louisiana.
Apart from winning accolades for himself, it also brought the choral group Ladysmith Black Mambazo in the spotlight, whose rich voices provided the album with a harmony that the changed the course of world music.
While others embraced the true beauty of the songs, there was great uproar since Simon didn't adhere to the cultural boycott. Despite the same, the legendary artist backed the South African artists, extending his support and care. In that day and age, this created a bridge between cultures that may not speak the same musical language but, spoke the same political language.
In fact, his experimentation doesn't simply stop there for, his last album 'Stranger to Stranger' in 2016 was inspired by Harry Partch. The 20th-century musicologist was known for his unique instruments, that were designed as per the microtonal scales. This lead to smaller intervals, as opposed to conventional Western music.
After Graceland, this was Paul Simon's highest charting album. The response was such that the album debuted atop the UK Albums Chart; making him the oldest male solo artist to achieve this feat at 74 years and 8 months.
Present day, Paul Simon embarks on his last tour across North America, the UK and Europe, bringing forth a stunning array of classic hits that have 'shaped' the world over generations.
A worthy farewell to a legend.