Songs on the Album

Songs from the Great Liberations highlights the project’s common thread and multi-cultural concept. It includes the melody of Fischia il Vento, a popular Italian song that became the anthem of the partisan movement and the Garibaldi Brigades in 1944.

Written by Neill Solomon, Dan Chiorboli & Phil Manzanera. Original Fischia melody composed by Matvei Blanter.


Free Nelson Mandela was written as a protest song against the imprisonment of Nelson Mandela by the South African government. The spirited and defiant lyrics were a clarion call to release one man from jail and an entire nation from the shackles of Apartheid.

Written by Jerry Dammers.


Bella Ciao is an Italian partisan song which originated during the Italian civil war and is used worldwide as a hymn of freedom and resistance. It was sung by the anti-fascist resistance movement active in Italy between 1943 and 1945.



Thabane is a protest song written and performed in the early 1980s by Roger Lucey, renowned for his contribution to the fight against Apartheid the song highlights police brutality and is a desperate plea to his son about his hopes and dreams for the future.

Written by Roger Lucey.


I Can Hear My Papa Calling is dedicated as homage to Karim Franceschi, the young Italian activist who fought in the Syrian civil war for the People’s Protection Unit (YPG) against the Islamic State during the Siege of Ayn al-Arab. Karim believed he drew strength from his father who had fought for the Italian partisans in the mountains of Tuscany.

Written by Neill Solomon and Dan Chiorboli.


Mundo con Paz is a passionate plea for World Peace. It is a multi-lingual and multi-textured track with Cuban, Latin and Zulu influences. It also includes a segment of the South African national anthem Nkosi Sikelele i Africa (God Bless Africa).

Written by Phil Manzanera / Nkosi Sikelele i Africa written by Enoch Sontonga.


Grey Street Casbah. The Grey Street casbah, once the cultural and business centre of the vibrant Indian community in Durban, housed many famous struggle residents and became well-known as a centre for organised political resistance.

Written by Neill Solomon, Dan Chiorboli & Keeran Eshwarlall.


Ebano. The young Cisco became aware of the world wide struggle for human rights and Nelson Mandela’s fight for freedom at a young age. He was especially aware of Mandela’s message and the significance of human rights to the Italian partisans’ fight for freedom.

Written by Stefano “Cisco” Bellotti.


Riconquistare la Libertà. Fernando Bruni, an anti-fascists from Denore, denounced the attempt to discriminate against other races and was subsequently arrested and sentenced to 10 years in prison. Arrested for the second time in 1943 he died in detention in the dungeon of Castello Estense in Ferrara.

Adapted from Fernando Bruni’s original transcripts by Enrico Trevisani & Dan Chiorboli.


Biko is a protest song about Stephen Biko, a South African anti-apartheid activist arrested in August 1977. Following a brutal interrogation which left him with serious head injuries, Biko was later transferred without medical care to a prison in Pretoria where he died shortly afterwards. Written by Peter Gabriel.


Addimu a Chango is dedicated to Chango, King of War and Thunder of the Yoruba-Cuban religion called Regla de Osha (Osha Rules) and commonly known as “Santería”. The song calls the Orishas (Gods) to war against the slave traders.

Written by Juan de Marcos.


Soweto Blues is a protest song that refers to the Soweto Uprising in 1976. An estimated 20,000 scholars protested against the government decision to make Afrikaans a medium of instruction at Bantu schools. 170 children were killed and several hundreds injured as a result of police brutality.

Written by Hugh Masekela.


Drowning. A lament brought upon by helplessness and frustration in the context of where we find the world at present with the overwhelming amount of corruption, greed and intolerance. Despite this feeling of anger, we’ve learnt from history that good will ultimately overcome evil.

Written by Neill Solomon & Giuseppe Cotumaccio.


Chan Chan. Written in 1987 and played on his 90th birthday to Fidel Castro this song epitomizes the joie de vivre and simple pleasures of Cuban life. Chan Chan was brought to prominence in the late 1990s by the Buena Vista Social Club.

Written by Compay Segundo.


Never Again is an enthusiastic appeal to stop history repeating itself, never allowing the senseless atrocities based on race anywhere in the world to happen again.

Written by Neill Solomon, Dan Chiorboli & Phil Manzanera.


Rayo de Bala is Phil’s tribute to his Catalonia of Havana. The young Manzanera spent part of his childhood in Cuba during the Cuban Revolution. The experience left him with unpleasant memories of guerrillas roaming the streets in the darkness, the poignant lyrics speak of an armed revolution, mothers screaming and children crying. This is where Phil “learnt how to pray”.

Written by Phil Manzanera.


The Quiet. Since the end of the 17th century, Robben Island has been used for the isolation of political prisoners. The feeling of silence and solitude is all pervasive. In the winter of 1964, Nelson Mandela arrived on Robben Island where he would spend 18 of his 27 prison years. Robben Island served to transform him, and he emerged from it as the mature leader who defined the new South Africa.

Written by Neill Solomon, Dan Chiorboli & Phil Manzanera.


Nothing but the Truth comes from the gripping and sometimes humorous film about the complex dynamic between those who remained in South Africa and risked their lives to lead the struggle against apartheid and those who returned victoriously after living in exile.

Written by Neill Solomon.


Siyabonga Little Steven This powerful medley including Sun City, Solidarity, Under the Gun and Pretoria pays tribute to Steve van Zandt, who played an important role in South Africa’s fight against apartheid. He was one of the first artists to use his profile as a voice for human rights causes around the world.

Written by Steve van Zandt. People Got to be Free written by Felix Cavaliere & Eddie Brigati.


Asimbonanga was an anti-apartheid song written while Nelson Mandela was still in prison on Robben Island. The lyrics allude to his absence from society and the fact that very few people knew what he looked like. At a 1999 performance by Johnny Clegg, Mandela himself joined the band on stage for their performance of “Asimbonanga”.

Written by Johnny Clegg.


Guardali nelli Occhi initially featured on the Materiale Resistente album in 1995, a compilation of partisan songs by various Italian artists. The collection was part of a project commissioned by the Municipality of Correggio to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the liberation of Italy from fascism.

Written by Giovanni Lindo Ferretti, Francesco Magnelli, Gianni Maroccolo & Massimo Zamboni.


Shosholoza is a folk song that originated in Zimbabwe but was popularised in South Africa. The song is so popular in South African culture that it is often referred to as South Africa’s second national anthem. Sergio Dias, one of the artistic forces behind the Brazilian Tropicalismo political freedom movement of the late 1960s identified with the song and has merged Brazilian and African rhythms with rock and roll.



Maloya Celebration is performed in the traditional Maloya style, which survived as a force for political resistance and the unity of Réunion’s Creole culture as a result of slavery on the island.

Written by Christine Salem.


Brothers in Freedom (For Ray Phiri & Hugh Masekela). A loving homage to both Ray Phiri and Hugh Masekela. Both Phiri & Masekela received many awards in recognition for their contribution to the fight for freedom and the successful use of arts as an instrument of social transformation.

Written by Neill Solomon, Dan Chiorboli & Phil Manzanera.


If This Be Treason is the theme music from the film by the same name. The film is based on Helen Joseph’s dramatic account of the treason trial, one of the strangest trials of the 20th century.  Joseph played a pivotal role in the formation of the Federation of South African Women.

Written by Neill Solomon.


Fallen Heroes features the late Gito Baloi singing in his native Xitsonga language before his untimely death. It is an interpretation of the ancient African processional music used in ceremonies to commemorate the passage of a loved one as the final release to heaven.

Written by Neill Solomon, Dan Chiorboli & Phil Manzanera.


The Partisan. This song of Resistance is influenced by an adaptation by Leonard Cohen of “La Complainte du Partisan” written in 1943 in London at the height of World War 2. Cohen’s personal “mythology” for bravery and courage is filled with the Spanish Civil War, the French Resistance and the concentration camps.

Written by Emmanuel D’Astier de la Vigerie and Anna Marly.


A Peaceful Man (For Bishop Desmond Tutu). This quiet but emotionally powerful song is dedicated to Desmond Tutu, the first black Archbishop of Cape Town and a social rights activist. Tutu’s opposition to apartheid was indisputable. Credited for coining the term “The Rainbow Nation” Tutu later went on to head The Truth and Reconciliation Committee.

Written by N’Faly Kouyate.


All Unite for Africa is a message of unity, tolerance and love. Feeling overwhelmed by the increasing racism and xenophobia in the world, and having landed in South Africa in the midst of the newest onslaught of xenophobic attacks, N’Faly felt it his duty as a Griot to facilitate reconciliation amongst foreigners and locals.

Written by N’Faly Kouyate.


Reconciliacion is about the disseverance of the Cuban people due to the politicians on both sides. The song reinforces Juan de Marco’s point of view that we must all join forces to rebuild a nation which resonates with the current situation in South Africa.

Written by Juan de Marcos & Lazaro Villa.


The Time Has Come (To Say Goodbye)

Text to follow ….

Written by Neill Solomon


Saturday Night in Soweto

Text to follow ….

Written by Cyril Neville



Songs That Made Us Free

Produced by Neill Solomon, Phil Manzanera & Dan Chiorboli.

Co-arranged and mixed by Mauritz Lotz.

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