Letta Mbulu

Letta Mbulu - South African vocalist, composer

Letta Mbulu was born and raised in Soweto, South Africa. Still in her teens, Letta began touring outside of Africa with the musical “King Kong,” which ran for a year in England following a highly successful two-year run in South Africa. When the tour ended, she returned to South Africa but soon the policies of Apartheid were to force her to leave her native land for the U.S.A.

She arrived in the United States in 1965 and quickly befriended such fellow South African exiles in New York City as Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masekela and Jonas Gwangwa - all alumni of the “King King” musical. Performances at New York's famed Village Gate club began to attract attention to her talents, particularly from jazz legend Cannonball Adderley, who invited her to tour with him (which she did throughout the remainder of the decade).

Letta Mbulu also displayed an early gift for writing joyful, memorable songs. These were showcased by no less an authority than Miriam Makeba on the singer's albums THE MAGNIFICENT MIRIAM MAKEBA (”Akana Nkomo”), ALL ABOUT MIRIAM (”U Shaka,” “Jol'inkomo”) and MAKEBA (”U-Mngoma,” “Magwala Ndini”).

Letta first made herself heard on records as part of Letta and the Safaris, a group featuring husband Caiphus Semenya and the South African husband and wife team of Jonas and Mamsie Gwangwa. A single, “Walkin' Around” was issued in 1966 by Columbia Records, but lack of publicity failed to garner much attention to the clever little R&B swinger.

Read more

Tags

Albums

Watch

Similar Jazz Musicians

Hugh Masekela Hugh Masekela
flugelhorn
Roy Ayers Roy Ayers
vibraphone
Mulatu Astatke Mulatu Astatke
percussion
Miriam Makeba Miriam Makeba
voice / vocals
Manu Dibango Manu Dibango
saxophone
Salif Keita Salif Keita
voice / vocals
Fela Kuti Fela Kuti
trumpet

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and through our retail affiliations you'll support us in the process.

MUSICSTACK
Rare vinyl LPs and CDs from over 1,000 independent sellers
AMAZON
CDs, Vinyl, Blu-Ray DVDS, Prime membership, Alexa, SONOS and more
HD TRACKS
Specializing in high resolution and CD-quality downloads
CD UNIVERSE
Specializing in music, movies and video games
REVERB
Marketplace for new, used, and vintage instruments and gear