Just Because Music — Pata Pata by Miriam Makeba

I last heard this about 35 years ago.  I was struggling to remember the name so I could find it on YouTube and a friend with a good ear and a good memory helped me out:

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  • Charles Martel

    Love it, Book. This was one of my favorite songs from Way Back When.

    Makeba’s click sound, which intrigued so many people, turns out to be something that may go back to the beginning of language. John McWhorter, a linguist who used to teach at UC Berkeley and is now a fellow at the conservative Manhattan Institute, says that clicks in a language bespeak incredible age, and that some scientists think they may have been an element in the oldest languages of man.

    The furthest back we can go with the shakiest of confidence is the reconstruction of Indo-European, the parent language to Persian, northern Indian languages, Italic, Greek, Celtic, Germanic, Slavic-Baltic and some oddball outliers. I’ve read short stories constructed from what scientists think Indo-European might have looked/sounded like (you can see elements of Latin and Greek in it), but the furthest back they say they can go is maybe 6,000 years.

    That’s far short of how far back spoken language goes, so we’ll never really know what preceded Indo-European or Indo-European’s parent(s)—not to mention  the ancestors of all the other language families on this planet. Still, the idea that Makeba may have been invoking one of the primal sounds of our race is a small thrill.

  • suek

    Isn’t there a group of people that “speaks” entirely with clicks even today? I’m not sure…but I think I remember something…way back…

  • Charles Martel