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**** “GRACELAND: THE AFRICAN CONCERT” Paul Simon <i> Warner</i> -<i> Pioneer laser disc (import, around $45)</i>

With the release of Simon’s new “Rhythm of the Saints” album and news of his upcoming world tour, it’s a good time to go back and sample the eloquence and warmth of Simon’s 1987 “Graceland” tour during an historic stop in Harare, Zimbabwe--as close to South Africa as conscience and laws allowed Simon and his mostly South African cast of musicians to play together. This 90-minute program is available in videocassette in the U.S., but the vastly superior laser disc edition is only available in a Japanese import edition. The Japanese translation is printed at the bottom of the screen when Simon is singing, but that momentary distraction is soon offset by the vitality and character of the music in this beautifully photographed chronicle. By focusing on the musical community on stage rather than just Simon, director Michael Lindsay-Hogg underscores the sense of cultural occasion surrounding the pair of concerts.


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