Top SA Iconic Traditional South African Musicians That Got nominated / Won International Acclaim – In Africa, traditional music is an integral part of various cultures, playing important roles in the way people interact, celebrate and pass on historic events.
- Black Mambazo
The all male-dominated South African acapella singing group, has strived in the music industry for 58 years, granted worldwide attention when Paul Simon enlisted the group for his 1986 album Graceland. They consistently won numerous awards, including five Grammy Awards. Established by Joseph Shabalala in 1960, the group rose to become one of South Africa’s most prolific artists, with their releases receiving gold and platinum disc honours.
2. Soweto Gospel Chior
The South African music group was established in November 2002 to commemorate the unique and inspirational power of African gospel music. Known for their spirit-stimulating voices, their albums ‘Blessed’ and ‘African Spirit’ won the Grammy Award for ‘Best Traditional World’ Music Album in 2007 and 2008 respectively. In December 2010, Soweto Gospel Choir received its fourth Grammy nomination, in the Best Traditional World Music category, for its album “Grace”. The Soweto Gospel Choir flew the SA flag high at the prestigious Grammy Awards in Los Angeles on Sunday night, where they walked away with their third Grammy in 2019.
3. Miriam Makeba
The late music icon has recorded 30 albums, 19 compilation albums, and innumerable collaborations with many musicians over the course of her long career. She was a multiple award-winning singer; she was exceedingly prominent with American audiences, and she is credited with bringing Xhosa, Zulu, and Swahili songs to the Western audience. Makeba first collaborated with the South African jazz band Manhattan Brothers. From there, she joined an all-woman group, The Skylarks, which combined jazz and South African melodies. In 1956, her first single “Pata Pata” catapulted her to fame.
4. Hugh Masekela
The iconic, Legendary South African jazz trumpeter Hugh Masekela has been nominated for a Grammy for his 2010 album Jabulani in the best world music category. Age did not slow him down, Bra Hugh toured Europe with Paul Simon on the Graceland 25th Anniversary Tour and opening his own studio and record label, House of Masekela at the age of 75. His final album, No Borders, picked up a SAMA for Best Adult Contemporary in 2017.
Written by: Aphiwe Theodorah Mvinjelwa