Kalamu ya Salaam's information blog

Back in the day, over 20 years ago, I did radio (DJ-ing and production). On one of my weekly programs, my theme song was Labi Siffre’s “Something Inside So Strong”.

From when I first heard  the music, I was enthralled. Typical for sometimes ass-backwards me, instead of opening with the theme, I closed my program with the distinctive melody and uplifting lyrics.

At that time I didn’t know much about brother Siffre except he was based in England. Of course over the years, I learned significant facts, including that the song was ultra popular in the South African anti-apartheid era. Imagine my surprise when I found out the song was popular in the Christian movement in the USA.

No surprise people like Vanessa Bell Armstrong and others featured “So Strong”, but the trio of Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton, & Willie Nelson–who would have thunk it? So anyway, here are three of my favorite versions.

First, we have Siffre’s original with the beautiful illustration on the cover.

Second, we have a stirring UK soul version.

Third, we drop down to South Africa, featuring Lira.




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