Heard It On TV: Miriam Makeba and Honda

Like many gay ladies, I’m attracted to hatchbacks. They’re sporty and utilitarian — everything I could ask for in a car. That’s why I perked up when I saw Honda’s commercial for the new 2010 Accord Crosstour. The Crosstour is a stylish mash-up, the body of a sedan combined with the sloping trunk of a hatchback.

So why am I talking about this on Audiostraddle?

Well, Honda struck me twice with this advertisement. In addition to the actual car, the commercial uses a song I love — Miriam Makeba’s “Pata Pata.” Makeba is a Grammy Award-winning South African singer, and “Pata Pata” is one of her most famous songs. It features her signature “click” seamlessly integrated with her rich, upbeat voice.

A Live Performance circa approx. 1970 by Miriam Makeba

Makeba helped popularize African music around the world, and I’m glad Honda is drawing attention to her again — if only for 30 seconds in a television commercial.

If you liked “Pata Pata,” check out “The Click Song,” too.

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Jess G.

Jess is a writer/producer with a knack for audio and online production. She grew up in California and now lives in Washington, DC, where she recently graduated from Georgetown University. Jess' jacket collection is obscenely large, and so is her music library. In her spare time, Jess enjoys riding her bike in the city, blogging, writing songs, and eating good food.

Jess has written 44 articles for us.


  1. I like this column idea and I now also like Miriam Makeba!

    Can you write about how some of my favorite songs right now are being ruined by rom-com previews on the teevee? For example Snow Patrol “Set Fire to the Third Bar” is in some rom-com preview. Also the song about tonight being a good night by the black-eyed peas.

    • I was also disturbed by “Set Fire To the Third Bar” in whatever preview I saw it in. I’ll keep an ear out for more and glad you like the column!

      • yeah, and phoenix is in a car commercial too? it upsets me.

        there was once a telus commercial where they played 99 red balloons and there were a bunch of pigs tied to red balloons floating away. it was super cute!
        (telus is a cell phone service provider thing for people who don’t know — sometimes i forget that america doesn’t have rogers or fido (sidenote was it a fido commercial? are fido and rogers the same thing? am i too tired to be writing a coherent comment? yes))

        • It’s Cadillac using “1901” – totally ruined the song for me. (It’s almost as bad as KFC using “Sweet Home Alabama”… for KENTUCKY Fried Chicken.) Not surprisingly though, it’s Adtunes.com’s #3 song on its Top Ad Music list for 2009.

          I think car companies should take a look at, what Lincoln has done in their commercials for the MKS, MKT, and MKZ: female singers doing cover songs. So far they have used Cat Power, CSS, Shiny Toy Guns, and Sia in their advertising. An impressive list if you ask me.

          • Yeah, love that something good can actually come from commercials!

            I am so pampered & accustomed to watching DVR-ed TV, that my ADD goes into overattack when forced to actually sit through commercials during live TV. I have a bad/INSANE habit of actually shouting during commercials, and that sort of negativity just can’t be healthy. DVR = sanity

  2. How did I not know of this woman? Thanks for introducing her to me Jess, I like! Also, those new Honda commercials are very special indeed.

  3. The only thing I love more than hatchbacks is this new segment, definitely a keeper. Miriam is ace, nice one!

  4. OH MY GOD. this has been one of my absolute favorite songs ever since i first heard it during a visit to south africa a year ago; miriam makeba’s music is SO amazing. i was so proud of honda when i first saw this commercial.

  5. A beautiful girl with a beautiful voice!! That song Pata Pata when they put it in the commercials it just makes me feel so relaxed!!!! What a great song with a really beautiful beat!!!!!

    • I agree aaannie, I think that Rose from the Sprint ski lift commercial is gay, because she’s having too much of a good time on the beach, with another woman in the chair across from her.

  6. At first, I did not want to see this treasured star being exploited by commercialism … but if it brings more people to Miriam’s music, I change my mind!

  7. My wife heard this song on the Honda commercial and instantly loved it. She and I had never heard the song before. We downloaded the MP3 from Amazon. Great song!

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