When writing or producing a hit song, there are many gold standards to consider. Is it good enough, for example, that someone will play it forever, on an infinite loop in a solar-powered art exhibit? Toto’s “Africa” recently passed this test.
Max Siedentopf, 27, a German-Namibian artist currently based in London, set up a sound installation titled “Toto Forever” to play the 1982 song on a loop at an undisclosed location in the 1,200-mile-long Namib Desert.
Siedentopf said solar batteries power the installation’s MP3 player and six speakers.
He said the desert is around 55 million years old, making it the “perfect spot” for the installation.
“Hopefully the song will play just as long,” he told CNN.
“Even though ‘Africa’ by Toto was released 1982 it is still very much present in today’s pop culture and frequently used for memes and even entire Reddit pages are dedicated to the song,” Siedentopf said.
“I was very intrigued by this and wanted to pay the song the ultimate homage and physically exhibit ‘Africa’ in Africa,” he said.
The artist said he will not reveal the exact location of the installation.
He said it is “like a treasure that only the most loyal of Toto fans can find.”
It has been years since I heard that song, but somehow I am able to press play in my mind and hear it again from start to finish in my mind’s ear. You too? How do we do that? Perhaps with our medial pre-frontal cortex just behind the forehead.
For me the Toto song isn’t recalled with autobiographical relevance. I’ve never had much to do with Africa. I’ve never learned or played this song as a musician, never owned the song or had it on a play list that I played regularly. I have no particular memory connected with it, yet it is still in there, stored in great detail. Odd.
Anyway, long may Africa play in Africa, surviving wild dogs that cry out in the night, sand quakes and sand storms, intense temperatures, curious camels and perhaps pesty perching pecking vultures for eons.