McCoy Mrubata

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McCoy Mrubata is a South African jazz saxophonist. Born 1959 in a township named Langa, Cape Town South Africa. McCoy’s childhood was surrounded by many African hymns, from the sounds of Zion churches to the very brassy sounds of Merry Macs band who rehearsed opposite his home. With the difficulty of living under the apartheid government and the 1976’s uprising, McCoy left school and followed his music passion. His instrument then was flute which He studied informally under the likes of Madoda Gxabeka, the Ngcukanas, Winston Ngozi, Ezra and many Langa Greats.

In early 1980s, McCoy played with many cover bands like Fever, Touch and Airborne, from where he moved to crossover outfit Louis and the Jive. During his touring in the 1980s, McCoy was spotted by bandleader Sipho Hotstix Mabuse who helped him make Johannesburg his home. As he grew into playing a wider range of reeds and composing more, McCoy engaged with many more music bands and that led into an opportunity of a recording deal by producer Koloi Lebona with a British based record company named Zomba Records 1988. The same company was known to have had produced amongst others, Jonathan Butler and Billy Ocean. The following year McCoy released his debut album “Firebird” and He went to form Brotherhood, a band with names such as guitarist Jimmy Dludlu, pianist Nhlanhla Magagula and Lucas Khumalo winning the Gilbey's Music for Africa prize in 1990.

In 1992 he joined Hugh Masekela’s Lerapo and toured the world, playing alongside guitarist Lawrence Matshiza and pianist, the late Moses Molelekwa. McCoy continued creating his own bands; Cape to Cairo and McCoy and Friends. In the mid-1990s, he made the first of a series of albums as a leader, making albums like Face the Music which won the 2003 South African Music Award in the Traditional Jazz category and Icamagu Livumile which won the same award in 2005. Besides his international Musical Journey, McCoy also did some scoring work for South African productions about journalist Bloke Modisane and in 2001 starring in a Norwegian production based on the life of John Coltrane. In June 2007 McCoy travelled with Paul Hanmer to Congo DRC and Kinshasa to participate in conducting music workshops with Belgian and Congolese musicians for a local Jazz Festival. In 2008, He won his third SAMA Award for “Best Traditional Jazz Album for his album “The Brasskap Sessions Volume 1.

McCoy’s current music involvement includes producing, teaching and spending and simply being a family man.His ambition is to keep our kind of music alive here at home and sharing his South African experiences through music with the rest of the continent and the world at large.

McCoy is married with four kids and currently living in Johannesburg.[1] [2]

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