a Project of the Mockingbird Foundation

Performances Song History

Babylon is Burning

Music/Lyrics: Zenzilé Madikinea

Original Artist: Zenzile

Debut: 1986-02-03

Historian: Mockingbird Staff

Last Update: 2011-09-30

This is one of four songs Phish is known to have performed during the second set of 2/3/86, a benefit gig for the African National Congress. This is likely a Zenzilé original poem, though it could be a cover of the reggae “Babylon is Burning” by Jamaican Cocoa Tea, or the punk “Babylon’s Burning” by British band The Ruts. Unfortunately no recording of this gig circulates publicly so we may never know.

The existence of this set of Zenzilé-only songs was first documented in 2010 with the initial release of the setlists. To call this set an official Phish performance may even be a stretch, as the official site notes that “Phish accompanied Zenzilé for his African rhythmic chants and rap.”

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