Letta Mbulu

Genres: Funk Jazz
Decades Active: 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s

Biography

23 August 1942, Johannesburg, South Africa. Resident in the USA since 1964, vocalist Mbulu - along with fellow expatriates and musical associates Hugh Masekela, Miriam Makeba and Caiphus Semenya (her husband and producer) - first came to prominence in South Africa in 1960, as a member of the cast of the musical King Kong. On arrival in the USA, she was still under a exclusive world contract with leading South African label Gallo which, afraid of reprisals from the Pretoria authorities, declined to offer her any new recording opportunities. For three years she continued her fruitless negotiations with Gallo’s New York representatives, before unilaterally severing the agreement and signing to Capitol Records. For her new label she released two albums - Sings and Free Soul - before Gallo re-emerged waving (but sadly, not waiving) her contract and threatening legal action. The continuing ramifications of this situation meant that Mbulu was unable to record for a...

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