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Sathima Bea Benjamin

South African vocalist, composer, and lyricist Sathima Bea Benjamin was born October 17, 1936 in Johannesburg and raised in Cape Town, where she began singing in church. As a youth, she first performed popular music in talent contests held during intermission at the local cinema and by the late 1950s she was singing at various nightclubs, community dances and social events. She built her repertoire watching British and American movies and listening to the radio, where she discovered Nat King Cole, Billie Holiday, Doris Day, Ella Fitzgerald and other jazz and pop singers who would influence her early singing style.

At the age of 21, she joined Arthur Klugman's traveling show, Coloured Jazz and Variety, on a tour of South Africa. When the production failed, she found herself stranded on the road where she was fortunate enough to meet legendary South African saxophonist Kippie Moeketsi. In 1959, she returned to Capetown where she took her place on the city’s by-then flourishing jazz scene. There she would meet pianist Dollar Brand (aka Abdullah Ibrahim), whom she would later marry. They began working together and in that same year she recorded what would have been the first jazz LP in South Africa's history. Titled My Songs for You, with accompaniment by Ibrahim’s trio, the recording of mostly standards was sadly never released.

In the aftermath of South Africa’s Sharpeville Massacre of 1960, Benjamin and Ibrahim decided to join the growing South African exile community in Europe. The couple, along with bassist Johnny Gertze and drummer Makhaya Ntshoko, settled in Zurich, Switzerland and worked throughout Germany and Scandinavia, meeting some of the greatest American jazz players, including Don Byas, Dexter Gordon, Kenny Drew, Ben Webster, Bud Powell, John Coltrane, and Thelonious Monk. The artist who would have the greatest impact on Benjamin’s life, however, was the inimitable Duke Ellington.

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August 22, 2013

Sathima Bea Benjamin: 1936-2013

December 04, 2008

Sathima Bea Benjamin Performs at Sweet Rhythm

April 14, 2008

Vocalist Sathima Bea Benjamin Interviewed at AAJ

January 23, 2008

Tsidi Will Join Sathima as Her Special Guest Tonight at Sweet Rhythm...

January 22, 2008

Legendary Duke Ellington Jazz Performance in Stores Today

January 09, 2008

Hip Hop Artist Jean Grae to Perform with Her Mother, Vocalist Sathima...

January 03, 2008

South African Jazz Singer Sathima Bea Benjamin's CD Release Concert,...

December 20, 2007

Sathima Bea Benjamin "A Morning in Paris" CD Release Event at Sweet...

November 23, 2007

Sathima Bea Benjamin 'A Morning in Paris' CD Release Event at Sweet...

October 15, 2007

Legendary Duke Ellington Jazz Performance Reissued for Download and CD

September 17, 2007

Sathima Bea Benjamin 71st Birthday Concert and Historic Album Reissue...

September 28, 2007

Stephen Scott Joins Sathima Bea Benjamin for Her Birthday Concert

September 17, 2007

Sathima Bea Benjamin's Birthday Concert and Historic Album Reissue

September 05, 2007

Long out-of-Print Duke Ellington Recording to be Re-Issued

June 20, 2007

South African Jazz Legend Sathima Bea Benjamin's Recordings to be...

September 11, 2006

Sathima Bea Benjamin 70th Birthday Concert at Sweet Rhythm October 17th...

October 10, 2006

Sathima Bea Benjamin 70th Birthday Concert at Sweet Rhythm, 10/17/06

May 17, 2006

Sathima Bea Benjamin Performs At Sweet Rhythm Jazz Club On Thursday,...

April 20, 2006

Sathima Bea Benjamin at Sweet Rhythm May 25th Sets at 8:00 and 10:00 pm

March 22, 2006

Sathima Bea Benjamin on John Schaffer's Sound Check Show Today at 2PM

3 Photos Slideshow

Discography

If You Were the Only Boy in the World

If You Were the Only Boy in the World

Sathima Bea Benjamin
Cape Town Love

Careless Love/Loveless Love

Careless Love/Loveless Love

Sathima Bea Benjamin
SongSpirit

Caravan

Caravan

Sathima Bea Benjamin
Musical Echoes

Videos

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